You should not be using Drano in toilets because it is too harsh. Nearly every plumber in the world would advise against it. Drano isn’t a feasible choice for unclogging toilets because it damages the pipes and porcelain.
There are many ways of unclogging toilets. Most plumbers will advise against using chemicals because of unexpected reactions. Drano is too strong for unclogging toilets; it can cause more problems than a mere clog.
How Does Drano Work?
Drano is a clog-removing agent. People generally use it to unclog sinks, bathtubs, and dishwashers. It is primarily a mixture of sodium nitrate, sodium chloride, sodium hydroxide, and aluminum. Drano dissolves in water to create heat. It is a corroding agent strong enough to dissolve hair, soap, scum, and other cloggy things.
What makes it ok for drains but terrible for toilets? The answer lines in structural design of a toilet sink and clogged material composition. Toilet plumbing is different from sinks and tubs. So, the Drano cannot reach all the places in a reasonable amount of time. It would stay in the system longer as a potential hazard.
The other issue is the clog itself. Sinks and tub clogs don’t have too many materials in there. It’s mostly food waste, paper, hair, etc. Toilets, on the other hand, have a lot of foreign materials in them. Drano is less effective in dealing with the clogs found in toilet sinks.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Drano on RV Toilets?
By now, you are aware that Drano is bad for the toilet. But what are the specific dangers of using it in the first place? I’ll discuss that in the following section:
1. Health Hazard
Drano’s corrosive properties are too deadly. It can severely damage skin, eyes, and other parts of the human body. The fumes are also harmful to the lungs. What’s worse is that its toilet unclogging potential is terrible compared to all the risks.
Drano has corrosive properties that can dissolve virtually any organic material under the right conditions. RV toilet piping is more compact compared to a brick-and-mortar home. That creates a greater risk for splashes. That is why plumbers never use a plunger after pouring Drano into a toilet sink.
Even a drop of the splashed liquid can severely injure a person. Drano reacts violently with water and creates a fearsome corrosive agent. It is not something human skin can withstand. There’s always a risk of some splashes occurring. You can be sure that a splash of Drano concoction is not just going to do nothing.
2. Damaging the Pipes
Drano is one of the most effective drainage cleaners in the world. It primarily consists of aluminum, bleach, sodium nitrate, salt, and lye. The lye breaks down all the existing organic matters in the drain. Then the concoction triggers aluminum and creates a tremendous amount of heat. The heat is almost on the level of boiling.
This process works perfectly on a brick-and-mortar drainage system since there are no pipes. An RV’s plumbing system is functional but delicate. High-end plumbing pipes are worth a lot of money. The excessive heat from the chemical reaction poses a lot of threats to the plumbing system.
PVC pipes or metal plumbing can suffer a lot of corrosion damage from the Drano liquid. Low-quality PVC pipes might melt outright. The caulk or glue on the pipe joints could also loosen or fade.
3. Damaging The Toilet Bowl
Most toilet bowls are made of porcelain. Drano is not strong enough to even scratch porcelain, but it can still severely damage it. The damaging agent is the heat that Drano produces as a byproduct.
The problem with the heat generated by Drano is the inconsistency. The entire bowl does not go through the temperature change at once. That creates temperature inconsistency and leads to certain parts expanding while others stay the same.
This expanding process creates enough pressure to crack a fully functional toilet bowl. Now, this phenomenon is not that common, but the risk is still there. It would be a pretty steep price to pay for a mere clog.
4. Harmful For The Environment
Drano is one of the most environmentally hazardous chemical mixtures in the world. You may think you are safe because you dumped your black tank already, but the Drano will still wreak havoc everywhere it passes through.
The sewage system leads to the water bodies, and you are mixing highly toxic chemicals in there. In my opinion, it isn’t worth adding more toxic waste to the environment for a clogged toilet.
How to Unclog RV Toilets Without Using Drano?
So how should you unclog an RV toilet if Drano is out of the picture? There are plenty of chemical cleaners out there, and most of them are toxic. They don’t provide enough efficiency for the risk involved. So, I tend to like the more traditional unclogging methods.
1. Use the Plunger
Always keep a plunger available in your RV no matter where you go. These things come in handy in a lot of situations.
A plunger can fix any shallow clog of an RV toilet. It doesn’t work if the clog is a bit too deep, but it is still a better choice over Drano.
Drain snakes are the evolved form of Plungers. It is a flexible snake-like instrument with a metal spring at the end. They are also often called plumber’s snakes. They are one of the most effective methods of clearing out clogs from a toilet, but they can be a bit messy.
I suggest you get a pair of disposable gloves, goggles, and disposable clothes before using the snake. You also want to have a disposable bucket to drop all the waste you drag out.
3. Use Boiling Water
Boiling water is a less extreme method of clearing simple clogs. It is a tried and tested method that has been passed down for generations. Boiling water is a versatile method of cleaning clogs.
It acts as a helper rather than a worker. You can use boiling water with a drain snake or plunger to make unclogging faster and easier. Toilets generally clog due to an inconsistency in moisture content. Hot water helps break down these clumps.
You just need to flush some hot water down and let it sit for a few hours. Then grab your plunger or a drain snake to clear out the rest.
Drano is strong and definitely overkill for using on a clogged toilet. There are so many better and safer options.
You could also avoid clogged toilets by switching to rapid dissolving toilet paper. These toilet papers dissolve faster than regular ones, lowering the clogging potential of your toilet.