If you have a blocked drain, you'll want to find a quick and effective way of getting things running again. A drain unblocking product may seem like a good idea, but you might not be sure which one to use.
While chemical cleaners may be popular, you can also buy enzymatic products to clear blockages. These products use more natural ingredients that are less likely to harm the environment.
How do these cleaners work, and will they clear out your drain?
What Is an Enzymatic Drain Cleaner?
Like any drain cleaner, an enzymatic product looks to clear blockages out of drains. Chemical products do this by using chemicals, like caustic soda or acid mixes, to break up blockages; enzymatic cleaners use bacteria and enzymes to do the same job.
The bacteria in these products are natural organisms. When you put this kind of cleaner down your drain, it creates a set of enzymes. These enzymes can eat away at some of the organic materials that can block drains like fats, food particles and hair.
If this works, then the enzymes at least reduce some of the blockages so that your water runs more freely. If you can get to this stage, then running hot water may clear out the rest of the drain.
Do Enzymatic Drain Cleaners Work?
Enzymatic drain cleaners can be effective, however, they may take more time to work than chemical cleaners. Typically, the enzymes need time to build up and do their job — this is why many of these products recommend that you leave the cleaner to work overnight if you can.
You may also need repeated applications to clear larger blockages. Every time you try to run water through the drain, you'll wash the enzymes away.
The extent of the blockage and its composition may also affect your success with these products. For example, if your drain is completely blocked to the extent that you have standing water, then an enzyme cleaner may not be effective. The enzymes may not come into contact with the blockage under the water.
It's important to know that these cleaners work best on organic blockages. They aren't likely to break down non-organic materials.
If you think that your blockage is caused by something that enzymes could deal with, then this solution may be worth a go. If you can't clear your blocked drain this way, then a plumber is your next best bet. Blockages that don't shift with a drain cleaner may need to be removed manually.