Is Drain Cleaner An Acid Or Base? [Simple Explanation]

Who doesn’t know that the drainage problem can be really annoying? Which is why cleaning the drain is important.

You need to know what is a drain cleaner, what is it made of, and how to use it. At the same time, it is also important to know the answer to the question, is drain cleaner an acid or base? And the crucial question, which one would be the best. Don’t worry about the topic; you’ll have all the answers.

As the name refers, drain cleaners are some chemical substances used to clean sink, clogged drains, sewer pipes, and any plumbing fixtures.

There are different types of cleaners based on the substances they are made. Each of them has distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Before going any further, you should know how drains become clogged. It will help you to understand which cleaners are best to use and which are not.

Usually, the drains get clogged due to insoluble things like hair, tree root, or other plant matters, dirt, excessive tissue papers, diapers, and things like these.

Then there are food wastes, fats, and oil mixed with grease, tea bags, the scum of soap, and plastics to create a blockage.

Also, if the drainage system is poor, like using cheap pipes, and there is not enough maintenance work, it can cause frequent problems. Those who have the responsibility to maintain back to back toilets one drain setup, our condolences are with you.

Is Drain Cleaner An Acid Or Base?

Is drain cleaner an acid or base

From the basic definition, acid is a sour, corrosive substance that neutralizes base. And the base is the substance that reacts with an acid to produce salts.

You may wonder what is used in it, whether it’s acidic or basic substance.
To simply say it can be any kind from strong acid to a strong base. Although their effectiveness may vary, their working processes are more or less similar.

What Is The pH Level Of Drain Cleaner?

Knowing the pH level of drain cleaners is another way to know how acidic or basic they are. pH refers to the ‘potential of hydrogen’ or ‘power of hydrogen.’

PH is a scale ranged 0-14 where 0 to less than 7 indicates acidic properties. A smaller number indicates stronger acid. That means acid closer to 0 is the strongest of all.

On the other hand, a pH level of more than 7 to 14 refers to the base. More the pH level means more basic the substance is.

7 is the neutral point of pH scale. Now, using this pH level, you can easily determine whether they are acidic or basic.

Types Of Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaners can be categorized into two types. They are Enzymatic, and the other is Chemical.

Enzymatic: It consists of some bacteria or concentrated enzymes that help to degrade the organic wastes and keep the drain clean. They are safer to use and eco-friendly as well.

But they are slow and cannot solve the clogging problem permanently. They are best to use if you maintain the pipes and drains before it gets completely clogged. 

Chemical: Here, there are some subsections. For example, caustics as lye, caustic soda or sodium hydroxide, acids like hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid, and oxidizers such as sodium hypochlorite.

They are fast and effective to unclog the drain completely. But they are most dangerous to use. They produce harmful fumes, damages pipes, and also can burn the skin.

Liquid Drain Cleaner pH

They are usually found in two forms. Most of them are liquid. These liquids are either enzyme-based or chemical-based.

Their pH level varies from strong acid to a strong base. Meaning its pH level is generally between 1-14.

For example, the cleaner based on sulfuric acid has a low pH, whereas lye-based cleaner has high pH.

What Is The pH Of Drano?

If you want to make a list, you’ll get Drano in the first of the listings. You might wonder, ‘is Drano acid or base?’

Its pH level is 11, which means that it is highly basic. The composition of the cleaner is a variation of sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium chloride, sodium nitrate, and aluminum.

Although, like any other drain cleaner, it also has some disadvantages. However, it is still faster and more effective as a drain cleaner.

Names of The Compounds in These Chemicals

They can be either acidic or basic; there are some examples and formulas of chemical products used as drain cleaner.

Acidic Drain Cleaner:

  1. Sulphuric acid
  2. Hydrochloric acid

Basic Drain Cleaner:

  1. Sodium Hydroxide
  2. Potassium Hydroxide
  3. Sodium Hypochlorite
  4. Sodium Bicarbonate

How It Works

So far, we have described everything to answer the question, is drain cleaner an acid or base. Now it’s time you know how different cleaners work. Strong acid like sulfuric acid can dissolve hair, plants, oil, fats, or these type clog materials. 

It can also absorb water from food and tissue paper, which loosens the clog and unblock the drain. The lye and caustic potash-based drain cleaner work as hydroxide ions and have electrons to unblock drains.

They are basic chemicals that produce heat to turn grease into a soap-like substance. Later it dissolved easily. Besides, they are heavy enough to reach the clog through the water.

The oxidized drain cleaners also worked as a caustic cleaner. They produce heat by releasing gas that helps to unclog and clean the water.


Both the acidic or basic drain cleaners are dangerous to use. You should be extra careful while using these chemicals.

  • As the cleaners are made of corrosive chemicals, don’t forget to read the instructions given in the packet and follow accordingly.
  • Never mix one product with another without knowing the properties properly. It may explode and cause severe injury.
  • To prevent accidental dropping of chemicals on your skin, wear gloves. Also, the chemicals may irritate eyes. So, wear the protective glass and stay safe.
  • Often the chemicals produce odor and fumes, which may cause breathing problems. Try to have a proper ventilation system.
  • Keep the windows open while using the drain cleaners at home.
  • Pour the chemicals carefully as some of them damage marble, stone, or stainless steel.


Is drain cleaner a strong or weak base?

It can either be a strong or weak base, and the preference depends on the purpose of the cleaner.

What is the strongest drain cleaner?

Drano Max Gel Clog Remover Drain Cleaner is the strongest drain cleaner.

Is bleach acid or base?

Bleach is a strong base that has strong preventive measurements

Does Coke unclog drains?

Yes, it does in some cases, and it is a fun thing to watch on YouTube.

Is Drano an acid or base?

Drano is a basic and powerful one to clean clogged drains effectively.


There are a lot of options for you in the market. By now, you know is drain cleaner an acid or base and how different types work on different clogging problems. 

Now, you can choose one according to your need. Always remember that drain cleaner chemicals are dangerous. So, be cautious when you are using one and store it properly away from kids.

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