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Muiriatic acid for drain cleaner?

McDesign's picture

Co-worker asked me - he had heard it worked better than basic solutions (Drain-O).  He's visiting with several cousins with long hair, and the tub and lav drains are sloooooow.

They are on sewer.

Any opinions?



(post #88188, reply #1 of 11)

I'm no plumber ( thank God ! ) so I don't know the value or effect of Muriatic Acid on drain pipes, PVC, ABS, or cast iron, but I did find out the hard way that the off gases from MA will severely corrode copper.  Big time.  So never leave the jug under the sink.

Also, in repect to plumbers everywhere, if the MA doesn't work, and they have to call a plumber in after all, be SURE to let the plumbers know that the MA was used.  Active plunging could splash up residual acid.

Actually, I've had a lot better luck removing hair clogs with active plunging, sometimes removing the stopper assembly.  It's usually just hung up in the wire of the stopper, and can be removed intact.

For what it's worth . . .


(post #88188, reply #2 of 11)

Stay away from the acids!

First off, it's hard to improve on lye based solvents for hair and grease. Oddly enough, it's getting harder to find them in these 'green' times.

Secondly, it is the havoc caused by the use of acid-based cleaners that Drano (and others) are referring to when they boast that they won't hurt your pipes. Acids love nothing more than to dissolve metal; look to "Great Moments in Building History" for a story of such damage.



(post #88188, reply #3 of 11)

Look for a drain cleaner where the primary ingredient is some sort of "peroxide". These work well for hair and soap scum.

Muratic acid would be my last resort -- I'd try rodding first.

As I stood before the gates I realized that I never want to be as certain about anything as were the people who built this place. --Rabbi Sheila Peltz, on her visit to Auschwitz

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #88188, reply #4 of 11)

No no no no!

Caustic materials like caustic soda (NaOH), the primary ingredient of Drano, loosen hair and grease, not acids. Acids will ruin metal pipes.


Edited 10/26/2009 1:39 pm by brucet9


(post #88188, reply #5 of 11)

It's always more effective to pull the drain cover and trap and fish out the clogs. I'd keep chemicals of all types out of plastic pipes. Muriatic is watered down hydrochloric acid. Bad stuff.

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

(post #88188, reply #6 of 11)

When I moved into this house there was a bottle of sulfuric acid drain cleaner in the shed along with one of those big bag in a box containers of battery electrolyte (more sulfuric acid) so somebody must believe in it.

BTW his problem was in the septic tank. The 90 degree elbow they use for a baffle was broken off at the face of the tank. I lived with it until my recent addition had me looking at that input pipe and I fixed it.


(post #88188, reply #7 of 11)

Learned by experience years ago, had a 68 Mustang that kept over heating so to clean out the radiator, I dumped in some swimming pool chemicals!!! I think it was a muriatic acid??

Ate the core out of the rad. in just seconds!! And was foaming all over our feet as we poured it in.

Know what, car didn't over heat anymore, had to buy a new radiator!!!!

Acids and metals don't mix!!!!!


(post #88188, reply #8 of 11)

Acids an absolute no-no. Creates toxic gasses from reactions w/ anything! That's why lye is the basis of Drano. In the FWIW Dept - Drano is NOT just lye. It has aluminum shavings in it to keep the lye from reacting w/ copper & brass. It reacts w/ the Al first.

Further in the FWIW Dept - you can no longer just wander in to a store & buy lye. It's used to make METH & there are restrictions on its sales. I just lasterday bought a 1 lb bottle for $15 & nearly choked. last time I bought it, the price was about $1.50..



Don Reinhard
The Glass Masterworks
"If it scratches, I etch it!"
Don Reinhard The Glass Masterworks "If it scratches, I etch it!"

(post #88188, reply #9 of 11)

<you can no longer just wander in to a store & buy lye >

Yeah, after that guy hollered out "You lye," the Dems had to restrict it.



(post #88188, reply #10 of 11)

The responses you're getting reminded me of one of the worst jobs I ever had to do in the 27 years I worked in the plumbing trade.

A small restaurant in the picturesque town of Swan Valley, Idaho, about 40 miles away, called to say they were getting a sewer gas and rotten egg smell from their underground ducts. His drain system was somehow leaking into the ground and finding its way into the duct system.

The owner had been regularly using a sulfuric-acid-based drain cleaner (undiluted, of course). Bottom line was that the bottom half of all the cast iron drain pipes had been eaten away.

This was a slab-on-grade building, so the owner, who also owned a sheep ranch and employed a number of Mexican ranch hands, had a couple of them tunnel in and under the building, following each branch of the drain system so that the top of each tunnel had a rotted-out cast iron drain line in its ceiling--I have no problem with Mexican ranch hands except that his were all the size of Mickey Rooney--I'm not. The tunnels were tight, and the floor was oozing bad-smelling stuff that had a certain amount of sulfuric acid mixed in with the greasy muck. I destroyed a set of clothes for every day I spent there.

I had to go to the far end of each tunnel and work my way backward, anchoring and hanging new pipe from the underside of the slab.

I let his Mexicans do the backfill.

I get a product called (post #88188, reply #11 of 11)

I get a product called 'Thrift' at the hardware store which is lye based and seems far more effective than Drano. If that doesn't work I rent a rod from the same store. 

Good luck.