Do you think it's safe to have bleach go down house pipes?

  • Thread starter kyphysics
  • Start date
  • #1
147
54

Main Question or Discussion Point

I'm thinking of toilets, showers, sinks, and laundry machine.

Have seen various articles online all conflicting with each other. Some say it's fine and won't harm your home's pipes. Other say not to do it. And a possible middle-ground position is something like mix it with a lot of water so it's not too strong - then it shouldn't be a problem.

Thought I would throw this one out there for the science people here to see if there is a consensus answer.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
199
124
I don't believe that household bleach will damage plumbing. What it can do: Kill off your septic system (if you have one).
 
  • #3
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,278
2,418
Disposal of chemicals in general depends on the specifics of the chemical, the concentration, and the amount.
OSHA rules about specific chemicals will often say it is OK to dispose of small amounts of dilute chemicals but not large amounts of concentrated chemicals. Dilute bleach, less than a liter, probably not a problem (unless you are using a septic systems as @Dullard noted).

Determining the cut-offs for the different chemicals is complex and best done by experts. I would ask someone knowledgeable if in doubt.
Where I live, I would ask someone at the Lane County Division of Waste Management.
They run the dumps and can tell you the amounts of things you can dispose of.
 
  • #4
Borek
Mentor
28,328
2,717
What was already said, plus I would be a bit wary of using bleach in the case of old cast iron plumbing, it can probably speed up the corrosion. PVC plumbing should be safe.
 
  • #5
1,563
865
I'm thinking of toilets, showers, sinks, and laundry machine.
So, actually you mean used bleach, in quantities used for cleaning and washed down afterward, right?

That's expected to be safe.
 
  • #6
802
270
Well, I'm about to pour a half-litre of 'Mr M**e' drain-clearer down hand-bowl plug-hole because of accumulation of organic detritus (hair) that is seriously slowing drainage. Brisk 'Plunger' dunking helped, some ordinary bleach stood overnight helped, running taps to create a 'rush' of water helped, but I'm now going full-on CBW ...
 
  • #8
116
49
I might get that for my job, my brother and I only work weekends and as far as I know we are the only ones who use draino so the pipes get clogged all the time (I work in a gas station that sells coffee and food that we cook). Not to mention I don’t think our draino breaks down the plastic bags that get into the pipes
 
Last edited:
  • #9
346
99
I think the question that may be in some's mind is "Why do you want to put chlorine bleach down the plumbing ?"
 
  • #10
147
54
Well, I'm about to pour a half-litre of 'Mr M**e' drain-clearer down hand-bowl plug-hole because of accumulation of organic detritus (hair) that is seriously slowing drainage. Brisk 'Plunger' dunking helped, some ordinary bleach stood overnight helped, running taps to create a 'rush' of water helped, but I'm now going full-on CBW ...
I've actually read (not sure if accurate or not) that those industrial/commercial grade cleaners are a big NO NO, Nik.

I think Draino was said to heat up in pipes and totally mess them up.

If Mr. M is one of those commercial ones, I'd definitely double-check it's safety and appropriateness!
 
  • #11
147
54
So, actually you mean used bleach, in quantities used for cleaning and washed down afterward, right?

That's expected to be safe.
Not sure what you mean by "used bleach." You mean bleach that is diluted?
 
  • #12
1,563
865
Not sure what you mean by "used bleach." You mean bleach that is diluted?
Not just that. These bleach-like aggressive cleaning agents working by chemically breaking down/bonding the dirt/unwanted material. It also means that once used (for cleaning) it becoming 'weaker', at least.

Since the end result of this is hard to calculate, for safety reasons 'used' bleach still should be handled as 'new', but regarding the plumbing it is likely safe to send it down with a decent amount of water.
 
  • #13
802
270
#kyphysics :"If Mr. M is one of those commercial ones, I'd definitely double-check it's safety and appropriateness! "
Fair comment !!
Yes, this 'Mr M' formulation is intended for this task, and is an appropriate quantity to relieve constriction rather than a full-on 'gunge-berg'. To clear a blocked patio drain, I've used 'caustic pellets', actual NaOH, sold for that purpose. And, yes, it generates a LOT of heat. The standing water over the blockage soon seethed and roiled, bubbled, spat and coughed tiny steam rings...

Like FX from a big lump of 'Dry Ice' tossed into water, only real-scary.

A former lab chemist, I handle such nasties with the 'Due Care' they deserve, verging on mild paranoia. FWIW, I was one of the very few people in our sprawling site's multiple labs authorised to brew bulk 'Chromic Acid' for last-resort glass-cleaning. Helped that I'd handled lithium aluminium hydride and sodium in quantity at Uni, had blown up a fume-hood or two, learned Murphy's Law is recursive...
:wink: :wink: :wink:
 

Related Threads for: Do you think it's safe to have bleach go down house pipes?

  • Last Post
3
Replies
68
Views
380K
Replies
1
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
10K
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
870
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
167K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
33K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
1K
Top