I hate plunging! I always feel icky and dirty after doing so.
The water from the toilet splashes all over, no matter how careful I may be. I always feel that I get at least some water on my pants making me feel as if I have to throw them immediately into the washer.
Even washing up immediately afterwards does not always make me feel clean and I feel as if I have to change all my clothes and take a full shower!
Then there's the plunger that must be rinsed off in the tub, then allowed to dry out and put back away. After doing so, I feel as if I have to once again wash my hands.
Then when you consider that you may wish to use the same plunger on different drains, such as the one in the bathroom or even in the kitchen sink, it becomes a pretty unsanitary condition.
What's worse, plunging all too often doesn't work! Or at least it doesn't work very well. True, it works to relieve mild stoppages. But it is pretty ineffective against major clogs.
Plungers Don't Always Work That Well
Take the act of trying to use a plunger in the toilet. Even a heavy duty, plumber style plunger doesn't always work all that well.
We have the type of plunger with the extra cup that pulls out from the bottom for a better fit. But it still doesn't fit the toilet well enough to create a very good suction.
The reason for this is plain to see: the plunger is perfectly round, or circular, while the opening in the toilet is oval-shaped. This means that it is not possible to form a very good seal where the plunger meets the opening.
We had a problem with our upstairs bathroom a couple weeks ago. The toilet after flushing did not always clear all of its contents. It was annoying to see this and wonder "did we flush or not?" We certainly had but it just hadn't all gone down.
So we tried plunging it, with all the mess and hassle described above. But still, it didn't seem to work very well. This was one clog that plunging just didn't seem to want to fix!
We tried going to the hardware store to see what else was available in the way of plungers. In addition to the standard plungers, we saw one plastic plunger that was shaped like a bellows and looked like it might be a bit better. But it was round and made of hard plastic and we knew that it wouldn't conform any better to the shape of the toilet drain than any other plunger.
We Noticed Problems With Our Drains
There were other problems with our drain. In fact, it was getting worse. When we ran the sink in the upstairs bathroom, we would sometimes hear a "bloop, bloop, bloop!" sound coming from the toilet. This indicated that there were air bubbles in the system that were not able to go through right away because of some kind of blockage.
When I was taking a shower, the water was starting to collect around my ankles because it was not draining properly. This despite the fact that the drain was open and there were no hairs blocking the outlet. Finally, whatever air bubble was blocking the system cleared itself and the water began to drain, but this took about ten minutes. Perhaps the warm water softened the blockage somewhere and allowed it to go down.
Obviously, some blockage was affecting all three drains in the upstairs bathroom-the sink, the toilet and the tub. This is because all three drains empty into the same sewer line.
(I am not saying the toilet water could back up into the tub or could even come out through the faucet in the sink! It's just that the blockage was lower down, where all three drains empty into the sewer line. This would explain why all three drains were exhibiting similar problems.)
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This is not the first time we’ve had a problem with our drains. In one instance, the blockage in the toilet had been nearly complete. This was so severe it called for running a steel snake down into the toilet to try to clear it.
Alas! This caused more problems than it solved. The action of the snake damaged a presumably plastic drain pipe inside the system. The result? The next time someone took a shower, water dripped from the ceiling down onto the living room floor!
We had to call a plumber in to correct this mess. This meant an expensive plumber's bill as well as money needed to repair the damaged ceiling in the living room. The ceiling was never quite as good as new, and you can still see signs of the episode to this day.
What was the culprit in this mess? The plumber found a wad of dental floss in the sewer line. Someone had been disposing of dental floss in the toilet, something we later read should never be done and which we stopped doing immediately.
Unfortunately, it was too late! The damage was already done. The dental floss, instead of going down, had accumulated in the system, forming a permanent blockage.
The moral of the story? Never, ever dispose of dental floss in the toilet! Always dispose of it in the trash instead.
Back to our current problem, the drains were obviously running slow and plunging didn’t work! We could try using chemical drain cleaner, but we were very wary of doing this, since we know how fragile the pipes are and we certainly did not want a repeat of our earlier episode! So what to do?
Fortunately, the plumber we had called about the dental floss problem recommended a great product called Bio-Clean.
What is Bio-Clean? It's a bacteria culture in a can, what is called “friendly bacteria,” that is harmless to people and plumbing but that actually eats biodegradable wastes, the cause of most stoppages.
You may be saying to yourself, what the heck is "friendly bacteria?" I know it sounds kind of weird, sort of like a science experiment that you carry out in your own home. The fact is that bacteria, or at least certain forms of it, has a very friendly relationship with what our bodies consider "waste."
Bacteria is used in municipal sanitation plants to break down sewer waste into harmless components so that the water can be returned to the ecosystem. Living creatures like humans have trillions of bacteria in their guts that help with the digestive process. So, bacteria and biodegradable materials have a very close relationship, and this has been so for millions of years.
How does this help you with your drains? Well, as time goes on and you use your drains, waste begins to accumulate on the inside surfaces of the pipes in your sewer system.
How Bio-Clean Works
It’s something like a blockage of the arteries. As a waste accumulates, it forms a thicker and thicker layer that eventually reduces the size of your sewer openings to a very small diameter. This causes slower and slower drains until, eventually, you must start plunging or use a caustic drain cleaner.
The problem is these methods don’t always work very well, as previously discussed.
The plunger attempts to use the force of suction to physically clear the blockage, but it’s impossible to totally clear months or years of accumulation. The drain opener gets more to the source of the problem, but it can be seriously bad for your bathroom pipes.
That’s where Bio-Clean comes in. The "friendly bacteria" in Bio-Clean love the substances that we consider waste and blockages and they literally eat it up! Yet they are 100% harmless to living or nonbiological substances such as the pipes themselves.
Look at a cross-section of a clogged pipe, and you will see years of accumulated slime piled up around the inner surfaces. This is what the bacteria in Bio-Clean consumes.
They feed, multiply and eat their way through all waste matter until it is all eaten up. They chemically change it into water, carbon and other harmless elements that are used by plant life and run right out of the waste system.
Where does Bio-Clean work?
Where does Bio-Clean work? In all the following areas:
Septic Tanks and Fields
Rv and Boat Holding Tanks
You can even add it to cat litter
What Are the Alternatives to Bio-Clean?
Compare Bio-Clean to mechanical equipment. As we discovered, cables can poke holes through the pipe. At best, they only leave a small opening through the mess which only leaves a base for new waste to adhere to.
Hot, caustic drain openers actually become diluted and weaker as they travel down through the pipes. They cannot defy gravity. They can only settle in a concentrated area or become weaker as they go down.
But the Bio-Clean family of friendly bacteria can digest vegetation and animal waste. They can defy gravity. They can work their way up as well as down!
It is important to note that Bio-Clean cannot repair broken pipes or mechanical defects or digest inorganic material such as baby toys or dental floss, as we discovered in our own drain. However, Bio-Clean will work for most normal blockages.
How do you use Bio-Clean?
How do you use Bio-Clean? Bio-Clean comes to you as an inert powder containing the bacteria culture, amylase, protease, cellulase and lipase enzymes.
The bacteria are in a state of "suspended animation," I guess you could say, (sort of like the old Sea Monkeys) but they "come to life" when they are added to water. You merely add a tablespoon full to your drains when they will be undisturbed for 6 to 8 hours, such as at nighttime. To give it the fullest time to work, repeat the treatment for five consecutive days.
In the instance of our clogged bathroom drain, we added it to both the toilet and the shower drain for one week.
What was the result? The sink drain no longer goes "bloop, bloop, bloop!"when we are running the water. The toilet flushes perfectly every time with no need for repeated flushings. The shower drains like when it was new. All this with no messy plunging or caustic chemicals!
Advantages of Bio-Clean
Bio-Clean may be a slight inconvenience for large families or households with only one bathroom since, for best results, it should be applied for five consecutive days. However, you can avoid even this slight inconvenience, once you get your drains cleared, simply by applying it once a month to all drains as a maintenance schedule. This will keep clogs from building up in the first place with minimal inconvenience.
Bio-Clean is also economical. A single can contains up to 100 drain treatments or will treat a 1000 US gallon septic tank.
I highly recommend Bio-Clean. It can replace plungers, caustic drain cleaners and even expensive plumber's bills. If it saves you one trip from the plumber, it will have paid for a lifetime of Bio-Clean!
Make friends with the friendly bacteria of Bio-Clean and you may never have to suffer from slow or clogged drains again!
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Tips for Bio-Clean - Here are some handy tips to aid you in your use of Bio-Clean.
- In the Bio-Clean instructions, it says, "On multi-story buildings start initial treatment on the lowest level (e.g. basement) and progress to the top. Complete the five-day treatment on one floor before going on to the next higher floor." Tip: If the drains on the lower floors are running and have good flow you do not have to start on the lowest floor.
- In the Bio-Clean instructions, it says that "mouthwash should be disposed of into toilet." Tip: This refers not only to the 6 to 8 hours at bedtime when the drain is being treated but for the entire 5 to 6 consecutive days of drain treatment. You need to dispose of mouthwash this way during the entire 5 day treatment because Bio-Clean can continue working even after the sinks are being used again. Mouthwash, however, contains antibacterial agents that can destroy the residual action of Bio-Clean.
- Tip: Even though Bio-Clean can serve as an alternative to plunging, you can get better, faster results by doing an occasional plunging while using bio clean. This is because plunging can help break up the built-up wastes lining the pipes that Bio-Clean has loosened. This can give you faster and more complete results in clearing your drain blockages.
Bio-Clean Guestbook Comments
johnmark123 on July 22, 2013:
This lens is cool and you provided plenty good information about bio cleaner and drain cleaning review.
Mark Clark from Colorado springs, CO on February 22, 2013:
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Timothy Arends (author) from Chicago area on December 18, 2012:
@DeboraR: You can do it at night before retiring, but if you have to get up during the night, it can be a problem.
DeboraR on December 17, 2012:
Sounds like the right solution to the blocked drain problem. I'd like to give this a try but we only have one bathroom. Five days in a row is just impossible.