Clogged drains have probably caught up with you at one time or other. Perhaps it was a party, and all the cooking and cleaning had left your sink drain fighting to breathe but you couldn't find a plumber to come in soon enough, so you decided to keep a bottle of ol' trusty drain cleaner in your house for the next time it happens. It's all good, right? Only, it's really not. Here are three reasons you should toss your chemical drain cleaner and never look back.

1.  You could hurt yourself or someone

Think about it: chemicals strong enough to burn through a solid clog that won't be unseated by a plunger are probably not good for you. In fact, these chemicals can cause severe burns/rashes on your skin, irreversible damage to your eyes and even death if accidentally ingested.

Drain cleaner is usually highly concentrated sulphuric acid or sodium hydroxide. Even fumes released from such chemicals can hurt your eyes, skin and respiratory system. If you must use them, ensure you're well protected with gloves, heavy clothing, face masks and goggles. If you have adventurous pets that drink out of drains or sinks, keep them locked if you're using such chemicals, and be sure to follow with a lot of water to wash out all chemical residues.

2. It isn't good for your pipes

Unless you're properly trained on when and how to use chemical cleaners, you'll find yourself unleashing your 'weapon' every time a small clog hits. Such chemicals must be used very carefully and according to instructions, and only when natural or mechanical drain clearing fails in which case a professional should handle it. Frequent use of drain cleaners can corrode plumbing pipes made from metals, as the acid or alkali is strong enough to cause a reaction. In-wall leaks are not only hard to trace and fix, but the water damage can set you up for toxic mould infestation, mildew and other damage.

3. It hurts the environment

Sadly, drain cleaners don't lose their power when they interact with the clog and clear it; they retain some of their properties as they flow into your septic system and eventually the water treatment system before release back into the environment. These chemicals, even in small amounts, can be toxic to flora and fauna, which affects the ecological balance.

Once you finish a bottle of drain cleaner, ensure that you rinse it several times to remove residual chemical and then screw the lid back on. Discard alongside other hazardous waste, and don't put somewhere a child will pick up and play with it.

For drain-clearing, well-known ingredients like hot water, vinegar and baking soda can clear stubborn clogs. If they fail, call professional plumbers or drain cleaners before using any chemicals on your own.