Caustic soda, or sodium hydroxide, is a chemical that has several purposes. You can purchase it at a hardware or home improvement store. It is used in wallpaper stripper, to strip furniture for refinishing and most commonly used to clear blocked drains. Keep these tips in mind when using caustic soda to unclog a drain.
1. Protect Your Body
Drain cleaners, such as Drano, contain caustic soda. If you have ever used one of these cleaners you know how one small speck on your skin can blister. You need to use extra caution when handling and using it in your drains. You will need to wear rubber gloves and safety glasses. Although it is a rare occurrence, the acid could explode if not handled properly and spew up from the drain. You definitely do not want to put your face over the drain while it is working. It can cause terrible burns. Follow the labels directions carefully.
2. Protect Your Lungs
You will need to wear a respirator mask to protect your lungs. If you inhale the fumes it can cause pneumonia or even death. Try to keep the area as ventilated as possible by opening all windows.
3. Storing Caustic Soda
If you have some leftover and need to store it, be sure to store it up high away from children and pets. Caustic soda is highly effective for unblocking drains when used properly, but safety precautions are imperative.