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Muriatic Acid as a drain cleaner
I have a clog in my main drain leading to the sewer does anyone recommend using muriatic acid pouring it down the drain to take care of my clog?Lenny Paschke
hobbyist - Red Wing, Minnesota, USA
Muriatic acid is actually a gas dissolved in water, so it fumes terribly and can eat up your chrome and stainless appliances and their electronics. Please don't use it in a house.
If you want to use acid, you can use a sulfuric acid drain cleaner, which doesn't fume in that matter. But besides being a dangerous material, it is not a good solvent for many clogs anyway. But it can dissolve the steel pipe if it gets stuck behind the clog. When you call the plumber, tell him so he can wear goggles and vinyl gloves :-)
Alkaline drain cleaners can also be dangerous, but at least they're more effective than acid in most cases, as well as not attacking steel pipes. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Yeah, forget the acid, try dissolving some Caustic Soda, SLOWLY add it to cold water, ratio 500 gr to 1.5 liters of water, wear goggles and gloves, if the drain pipe is brass you may get some problems with dezincification if they are zinc plated steel, say good bye to the zinc. If they are plastic you should be O.K. the caustic solution will turn the oil/fat/hair into a water soluble slurry, leave the solution for a good half an hour or so then send a chaser of hot water down after it with a little pressure from a plunger...Robert Fyfe
Audio Eng - Wyoming, NSW, Australia
Ed. note: Thanks, Robert. Here is the U.S. we consumers don't buy generally caustic soda by that name; rather, we buy brand name products containing it like Drano [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] or Liquid Plumr [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. That way you get caution statements with the product that are appropriate for the specific use you are putting it to.