5 Easy Steps to Clear Blocked Drains Using Caustic Soda
Sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda, is an organic compound commonly used as a drain cleaner. The ability of caustic soda to dissolve grease, oils and fat deposits makes it a perfect choice to clear blocked drains. The chemical compound is effective, inexpensive and readily available at any hardware or home improvement store. To ensure safety and effectiveness of caustic soda as a drain cleaner, follow these steps:
- Wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Gloves and protective eyeglasses are essential to prevent skin and eye injuries. Sodium hydroxide is a corrosive alkali that can cause chemical burns and may induce permanent blindness upon contact with eyes. You need to exercise caution when handling or using these chemicals. Respirator masks are also recommended to protect your lungs from injuries possibly caused by the fumes.
- Make a 10 percent solution of sodium hydroxide. Dissolve 100 grams of sodium hydroxide in one liter of water to create a 10 percent solution. Use the same ratio (1 part of sodium hydroxide to 10 parts water), if your require more or less lye solution. You can use a plastic stick to stir the solution to accelerate the dissolving process. The use of cold water during the dissolving process is highly recommended as the chemical can heat up the water on its own. Avoid putting sodium hydroxide pellets directly into the drain. The pellets can turn into a big lump blocking the drain even further.
- Pour the lye solution into the drain. Allow some time for the solution to do its work. After 5-10 minutes, slowly run some water into the drain. If the drain appears to be clear, increase the water pressure. Repeat the process if the drain remains unclear.
- Rinse the affected drain with water thoroughly. Ensure that any deposits of sodium hydroxide are removed./li>
- Store remaining caustic soda in airtight non-metallic containers with clear labels. Ensure that you will store it in a place high away from children and pets. Sodium hydroxide can be lethal if swallowed, even in small amounts.
Aside from the health hazards, caustic soda is also known cause environmental issues. According to a report published by non-governmental organization Total Environment Centre (TEC), sodium hydroxide will rapidly attack aluminium items and glass. The chemical has also been found to affect the evolution of ammonia gas when it comes in contact with any preparations containing ammonia.
Due to the risks associated with caustic soda, precautionary measures must be strictly followed.