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Can You Pour Bleach Down The Drain? (Is It Safe?)

pouring bleach down drain

Can You Pour Bleach Down The Drain?  

If your home is on a septic system, then no, you should not pour bleach down the drain. For those of us with septic tanks, bleach can kill the beneficial bacteria and other micro organisms that we need in our septic tanks to break down the sewage into sludge.

Not on A Septic Tank System?

But what about those of you who are on a city sewer system or another type of system that doesn’t involve a septic tank? Can you pour bleach down the drain? 

In these cases, technically yes, you can pour bleach down the drain. But the other question you should ask yourself is, “Should you pour bleach down the drain.” 

Just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. And here’s why. 

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Pouring Bleach Down The Drain Can Be Dangerous

One of the things you may not realize is that not everything you pour down the sink drain actually goes away. At least not until you completely flush it completely down with another liquid like water.

For example, if you were to pour bleach, or a bleach solution down the drain, most of it would leave through the drain pipes. But there is a thing called a p-trap underneath your sink. And a small amount of bleach will remain in that p-trap unless flushed away with water. 

But, if you were pour bleach down the drain and forget to flush it with water afterwards, and then unknowingly add another chemical, you could put yourself in real danger

Chloramine Gas

For example, if you were to pour vinegar or other chemicals containing ammonia acid down the drain and it mixed with the bleach, you would be creating chloramine gas

Chlorine gas can be very harmful to you and your family.  If inhaled, it can cause breathing problems, burning eyes, vomiting, pneumonia, and even death. 

As you know, acids are in many different household products, such as toilet bowl cleaners, some glass and window cleaners, drain cleaners, and rust removers. So you can see how easy it would be to accidently mix the two. 

Bleach Can Damage Plumbing

Bleach combined with other chemicals such as acid and vinegar can create serious problems, not only for your health, but also for the plumbing in your house.

What you may not know is that other chemical reactions that involve bleach can create significant amounts of heat. 

For example, if you were to pour a drain cleaner/de-clogger down the drain and it mixed with bleach, the heat from that chemical reaction can damage plumbing, and in some cases even cause the pipes to burst or crack.

Issues With Pouring Bleach Down The Drain in Older Homes

In older homes, where lead pipes have been repaired with brass fittings and copper pipe, due to a reaction between the two metals.

The corrosive qualities of bleach can easily discolor your sink or the drain. Bleach can damage the blades of your garbage disposal, destroy rubber gaskets and corrode plastic and lead pipes.

Alternatives To Pouring Bleach Down The Drain

Often times I hear that people pour bleach down the drain in order to unclog a clogged drain pipe. Unfortunately, bleach isn’t going to do the trick. And you’re ultimately going to create more harm than good by doing so. 

So here are some alternatives to bleach that you can use to pour down the drain if you’ve got a clogged drain.

Boiling Water

Simply pouring boiling, or very hot water down the drain can fix a clogged sink or shower in no time. And you don’t have to use any chemicals at all. 

If plain boiling water doesn’t do the trick, then there’s a few other things you can try. 

Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you want to try something with a little more cleansing power behind it, then try a mix of baking soda and vinegar. 

Pour the baking soda down the drain, followed by vinegar. This blend has an excellent scouring benefit due to the chemical reaction of the two products. 

Cover the drain opening with a stopper or drain cover and allow the concentrated blend of baking soda and vinegar work on the inside of the pipes for about 15 minutes. 

Then flush it all down with hot boiling water. 

However, if you suspect that your drain is clogged with grease, which might be the case if you’ve been pouring grease down your kitchen sink, then I highly recommend you use a commercial cleaning product to unclog the drain.

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