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Most household drain cleaners are safe for your pipes, but Rosie doesn’t use the ones that contain corrosive chemicals.  

If your pipes are old, harsh chemicals like lye, hydrochloric acid and trichloroethane can do more harm than good. They also can kill the beneficial bacteria that your septic system needs to operate properly.  

Worse, these chemicals can irritate your skin, eyes and throat and in the worst cases, can damage the liver and kidneys.  

Ask your plumber to recommend an enzyme drain cleaner that safely absorbs grease and organic buildup in pipes without harming your septic system.

New foaming cleaners, for example, claim to be easy on the septic system.   Or concoct your own drain cleaner out of household products. Some things to try:

Prevention: Keep clogs from forming with regular drain maintenance.

  • Use a drain strainer so hair and soap don’t fall into the drain.
  • Flush drain weekly with boiling water to melt grease. Follow it with a cup of baking soda to keep the drain smelling fresh.
  • Collect grease in cans instead of pouring it down the drain.
  • Pour half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then flush with hot water. Do this regularly to keep the drain flowing freely.
  • Use an enzyme culture drain cleaner once a month to help your drains and septic system.
  • Remove and clean your drain trap at least once a year.  

To get rid of clogs:

  • Use a plunger first.
  • Invest in a flexible metal drain snake that you can use to pull hair and clogs out of the drain.
  • Remove the drain trap and clear the clog manually.  

A caution: Do not use any of these methods if you have recently used a commercial drain opener.

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