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How Chemical & Biological Drain Treatments Work

Have you been using home remedies to fix your blocked drains and it just doesn’t seem to last? Thinking about calling a plumber but don’t want to pay for unnecessary solutions? Chances are you’ll need a long-term safe solution which will either be a chemical or biological method. Here are all the reasons why you don’t need to worry!

There are several methods plumbers can use to unblock stubborn drain blocks. Possibly the easiest and most effective way is through professional plumbing drain treatments.

Many people try the age-old method of baking soda and vinegar to clean their smelly drains before seeking plumbing services. While this often works as a temporary solution, it isn’t potent enough to pass large blockages and grease.

Clearing your blocked drains DIY style can be tedious and even exacerbate the issue. When you just don’t know how to clean your sink drain – drain cleaners/treatments are your best bet. Professional drain treatments disintegrate the blockage entirely to prevent it from returning. Chemical and biological drain treatments work best with organic blockages and aren’t suitable for things like tree root blockages.


Are drain treatments the same as a drain cleaner?

Most commonly, biological or chemical drain cleaners can be bought from hardware stores and are a thick, gel-like substance. They are also supposed to create weight on the blockages so that it can pass and also clean the pipes. These cleaners can also come in liquid or powder form. They break down the blockage plus any other grime, grease or residue that has built up in your pipes.

Although effective, they don’t offer the same power of a professional-grade drain treatment like Vapourooter or Bio-clean. These methods can have your pipes looking sparkling white, reducing any risk of organic material building up inside them. They’re significantly more potent than store-bought cleaners and an all-round better option.


Removal of blockage in the sink, the hand of a man with a bottle of a special remedy with granules. Clean the blockages in the bathroom with chemicals.


Chemical drain treatments

The science behind chemical drain treatment is much more complicated than some might assume and is quite impressive. This is an entirely safe, non-invasive method of clearing pipes and in some cases can even work on tree roots. There are three main types of drain treatments, all of which can serve different purposes but are all useful.


The base of caustic drain treatments is lye and caustic potash which clear blockages by passing electrons to the substance. The hydroxide reaction that occurs, as a result, is what ultimately passes the blockage.

In layman’s terms, this chemical reaction releases heat which melts and dissolves grease and fats into soapy substances. When they transform into these slippery substances, they are washed away with more ease. The chemicals are usually contained in a thick gel, allowing it to cut through the water and reach the blockage quickly.


Oxidation is the process of oxygen being added to a compound, losing its reaction. In the case of a blockage, it would lose its ability to stick to the pipe. Heat and gas are released, which helps it pass.

Oxidising drain treatments contain chemicals like peroxide, nitrates and even cleaning grade bleach. As an alternative to caustic treatments, this method causes the blockage to lose electrons, making it oxidise.


These cleaners are usually professional grade only as they contain high concentrations of sulfuric or hydrochloric acid. They can be dangerous if misused, which is why it is mainly only sold and should be used by experienced plumbers.

In any case, we recommend seeking professional help from one of our qualified plumbers. Acid treatments increase hydronium ions which attract electrons from the source of the blockage. The ions release heat which allows the matter to melt away.

We do advise that you are careful when using chemical drain treatments yourself. If misused, they can cause damage to your pipes, leading to leaks, bursts or in the worst case explosions. Chemicals are dangerous, so use extreme caution and follow the directions of use.

If you would prefer to trust a plumber with using chemicals in your drains, call the team at Chiswick Plumbing.


Baking soda in a spoon over a dirty dishwasher sink


Biological drain treatments

Unlike the chemical treatments, which can be tricky to execute correctly, biological drain treatments are low risk. Using a store-bought one will ultimately be less effective than one of our high-grade treatments, and can take a long time to work. However, it is worth trying before calling a plumber.

Bio drain cleaners use highly effective natural bacteria and enzymes to clean your drain. They’re scientifically engineered to eat away at organic materials like grease, food, fat, soap scum and hair blockages. They are most commonly used as an additive or preventative once a drain has become unblocked, to prevent blockages from building up in the future.

Once the bacteria in the treatment have consumed all biodegradable matter in the pipes, they die and are washed away with your water supply. The industrial strength bio-treatments that our plumbers use are highly concentrated and get to work straight away. At Chiswick Plumbing we often treat drain blockages with a biological product immediately after jet blasting, chemical treatments and plunging to ensure the biodegradable matter is removed completely.


Need a plumber?

At Chiswick Plumbing, we use 100% environmentally friendly Bio-Clean treatment that not only clears organic blockages but prevents them. When it comes to drain cleaning, our plumbers are equipped with the latest drain pipe technology. We can clear any form of waste from your blocked drains to have you trouble-free in no time.

If you’re experiencing bad odours coming from your drain openings or having general issues with water drainage, contact us! Call us on 1300 55 2248 and we’ll fix your plumbing problems.