Perhaps you poured bleach down your drain by accident, or perhaps you did so on purpose for disinfectant purposes or to try and unclog a drain. Whatever the reason, you should know that bleach is a toxic liquid that can also be volatile and should be handled and used with care.
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Can you pour bleach down your drain?
Bleach is not intended for pouring down a drain, and it may react with chemicals or substances already present in your pipes. It can also react with other cleaning liquids or powders that you may have used and produce highly toxic fumes. Bleach can damage pipes and it may very well kill bacteria in your septic system including good bacteria.
When using bleach, a few precautions should be taken for your safety:
- avoid any contact with bleach with your eyes, nose, mouth, or skin
- use PPE protective eyeglasses or goggles to avoid splashing into your eyes
- use PPE breathing masks to avoid inhaling bleach fumes
- wear protective gloves
- wash your hands after use
In drainpipes, there will be residual material, and pipelines also are equipped with P-traps. This is a bent waste pipe in the form of a “U” that connects home piping to a septic tank or to the municipality’s sewer system. The function of a P-trap is to contain noxious gases and prevent them from arriving up the pipes into your home. So, if you pour bleach down the drain, some will inevitably go into the P-trap.
If ammonia, alcohol, or any type of acid is poured down the drain after the bleach, there will be a reaction. So, can you pour bleach down the kitchen sink? It is not recommended that you pour bleach down any drain, and if you do, flush out your drain and pipes with lots of water afterward.
Bleach as a compound is unstable. It can contribute to the creation of several toxins that are quite hazardous and fumes as well particularly when it comes into contact with other cleaning products.
For example, bleach that mixes with ammonia will produce gas that is known as chloramine and that is very toxic. This gas can travel through the pipes and enter your kitchen and circulate throughout your home. Depending on the quantity of gas that escapes, you can become ill, this gas can also be fatal.
Typical reactions to chloramine gas include:
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation
- Respiratory problems
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
Bleach and Acids
Bleach should never blend with acids. This is a very volatile mix that can produce chlorine gas. Exposure to this exceptionally toxic gas can cause:
- Breathing difficulty
- Eye Irritation and burning
- Skin burns
- Internal burns if inhaled
and can eventually lead to death. So, if you have poured acids down your drain, bleach should be avoided at all costs.
It is important to avoid mixing bleach with household cleaners because many contain acids among their ingredients. Cleaning products used for toilets and sinks, glass cleaners, rust removers, and drain cleaners may all contain some form of acid.
This type of mixture, normally created by accident is the cause of numerous household injuries yearly.
These acids also include vinegar! Can you pour vinegar down the drain? Yes, if you pour it down by itself or with baking soda, but most certainly not with bleach.
The combination of vinegar and baking soda is used for many cleaning procedures in the home. A natural remedy that avoids exposure to chemicals, can help resolve clogging issues and disinfect pipes safely.
If you have poured bleach down your drain, make sure to immediately run abundant water down your drain so that it is sufficiently diluted for safety.
Mixes to Avoid
Substances that should be prevented from mixing with bleach include:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Toilet cleaning products
The mixing of bleach with any one of these substances will produce toxic gases or fumes that will make you sick and contaminate your home environment.
One problem with pouring bleach down your pipes is if it clogs or remains blocked in a clog. Often bleach is poured down a drain to dispose of it, but should it remain in the pipes, it can cause damage.
Bleach is a stain remover and a powerful disinfectant, however, it does not dissolve clogs, so it will remain in the pipe. It is not s suitable or efficient remover of clogs. It will not dissolve food, hair, or grease. If bleach is poured down a drain and reacts with chemicals, it can contribute to bursting a pipe or a rupture.
If you have a septic system instead of a sewer connection, bleached poured into a drain it will eliminate bacteria that is considered good because it helps break down waste in the septic system. If you suppress your septic tank’s ecosystem, you may damage it permanently.
The Bottom Line
If you have poured a lot of bleach down your drain, you need to dilute it with copious amounts of water. In the future, never pour bleach down your drain!