Chemical sink + drain unblockers - any good?

My washing m/c, which is connected for drainage at the kitchen sink has just *almost* flooded the kitchen by means of overfilling the sink when draining. Now I'm no expert, but that tells me there's a blockage between the sink and the main drain.
I've tried a traditional plunger on the kitchen sink, and a syringe type plunger but both merely blow crap out of the overflow (straight down my shirt, lovely). I can't think of a way to block the overflow to increase the pressure so I'm looking for alternatives.
I've come across the Mr Muscle range of two products, details here:
http://www.mrmuscleonline.co.uk/page3.html
.. is this kind of product any good? Are there alternative approaches I could use? TIA.
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I used the active foamer recently on the sink in the bathroom, and it worked very well.
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ajg_xch wrote:

<Snip>
Thanks. Does it provide for more than one application, or is the idea that you bung it all down there at once?
I'm not sure whether the active foamer or the sink + plughole unblocker is the best option. Mr Muscle says that you only use the s+p unblocker when there is a total blockage but in my case the sink takes 10 mins to drain from full. I'm not sure if that qualifies as merely slow draining or a total block. The former I suppose.
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

Chemicals sometimes work, but it's often a lot quicker to dismantle the traps and wastepipes (unless they're solvent welded) and clean them out properly. It's a messy job, but should last a while once done.
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Set Square wrote:

These 'Mr Muscle' products are probably all based on sodium carbonate and sodium hydroxide, which are available at a tenth of the price which they charge. Are you sure the slow draining isn't caused by a blockage in the outside drains? Is you toilet water level low- this is often a clue. Have a look in the manholes outside. On three occasions, I've had similar problems and the problem was in the outside drains - a blockage in next door's manhole, which was communal to 7 properties, and probably due to disposable nappies - the smell was horrendous. The solution was achieved by using drain rods and later a pressure washer with a back-flush attachment. If this is your problem, Mr Muscle is a waste of time. The local council used to do this job free of charge but sadly no longer.
Terry D.
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Terry D wrote:

I think it's local to the kitchen sink. The toilet, bathroom sink and bath are all draining ok.
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On Sun, 6 Jun 2004 20:42:11 +0100, "Terry D"

No, they aren't. The "active" Mr Muscle is something quite obscure. Recreating it was goign to cost considerably more than buying it retail - as it was obscure, the only sources were either lab grade or buying it by the tonne.
Although sodium carbonate and sodium hydroxide certainly shouldn't be overlooked.
BTW - the pH of Mr Muscle spray is a little frightening too.
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[snip]

Why is it legal to sell (say) a caustic oven cleaner in spray form.... spray it into the closed space of an oven and the first thing does is blow straight back into your face, eyes, lungs, etc.
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Tony Williams wrote:

Because it actually works?
Why is it leagsl to sell a million thimgs that, handle incoprrectly, casue death and mutilation. A router or electric saw spring to mind...not to mention a motor-car.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Mr Muscle spray appears to be simply caustic soda in some sort of foam.
Having switched the aga off as its no longer cold enough to justify it, I cleaned it all with mr muscle yesterday. Same smell as caustic, same effect as caustic, especially on my hands and arms.
Its a highly alkaline reducing agent, bleach and saponification mixture. To me, only caustic comes close in meeting those criteria.
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Set Square wrote:

I'll have a look at doing this. I'm sure I can get the sink trap off but I suspect the block is in the drain pipe leading away from the sink and I can only get to one end of this.
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It's caused by washing machines these days going all green and using lower water temperatures and less water. The result is a build up on the drain pipes of a grey sticky goo made up of discarded skin and, if you have children, you don't want to know what else.
It's quite easily shifted by Caustic Soda or any of the proprietary cleaners and they are far easier to use than dismantling the whole thing. It will recur about every 6 to 18 months if you don't remember to pour about a pint of caustic soda solution down the Washing machine drain pipe every now and again.
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Peter Parry.
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Yes dismantling and cleaning is the 100% effectice route and the cheapest .Other routes are netcurtain wire type devices problem with these is that hard to clear the whole diameter of the pipe. for blocking up the overflow when plunging try gaffa/duct tape then hold a folded up cloth over the overflow again the problem is clearing the whole bore of the pipe
If you dismantle check the ends of the pipes for swarf from when they were cut as these can be the start of a build up ,its easy when the pipes are dismantled to run a sharp knife round to remove the swarf. Also remember up you are going to dismantle to empty the sink as much as you can before removing the trap also have a bucket/washing up bowl under the trap be prepared for a stink tho :-)
If you have a bottle trap consider replacing with a p trap, bottle traps are just a plain pain in the butt for blockages
Steve
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snip
Often all thats neeed is some caustic soda. I put a cupful in the sink, over the plug hole, and poured some boiling water on it. Its very effective, but !beware! It spits alkali, and the spit drops can do your eyes a serious and nasty injury. I did it facing the other way, and did _not_ turn to look. Never do this, ever. It didnt occur to me till later that one moment of forgetful turn around...
Regards, NT
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On 6 Jun 2004 14:30:34 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@meeow.co.uk (N. Thornton) wrote:

With respect that is a really silly idea - when caustic soda dissolves the reaction is strongly exothermic - it generates a lot of heat. Pouring near boiling water on it is not sensible as you get an immediate boiling mass of concentrated caustic soda.

Indeed - but it is equally effective if made up following the destructions on the container and a damn sight safer.

There is no can about it - boiling concentrated caustic soda will blind you very quickly. Alkali burns from caustic soda are _always_ worse than they look and should always be treated as emergencies and the victim taken to hospital after rapid first aid of complete irrigation of the eye with copious amounts of water.
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Peter Parry.
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Peter Parry wrote:

Eyes yes, but skin burns are nothing. I have had dozens of minor caustic spalshes and never once went to hospital.
For eyes, its a question of massive and immediate dilution. Time is of the essence. Don't rush to A & E, get the eye washed with clean cold water again and again and THEN get to A & E. But they won't do anything much more than wash it again. If its damaged, its damaged, and the only treatment is something to stop it hurting ad keep infection at bay, and hope it heals itself.
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wrote:

My comment referred to eye injuries, I did not make that clear.

I agree, you should wash the eye (as in let the water from a running tap pour over the eyeball not just dribble a bit of water in) for at least 20 minutes and ideally continue to provide some irrigation for the journey to hospital. At A&E any alkali eye burns should be referred to an ophthalmologist either immediately or, for mild burns, within 24 hours. Acid burns look much worse than alkali burns initially but are (with the notable exception of hydrofluoric acid) generally far less damaging than alkali burns.
Caustic Soda dissociates into a hydroxyl ion and a cation in the eye surface. The hydroxyl ion saponifies cell membrane fatty acids, while the cation interacts with stromal collagen and glycosaminoglycans. This interaction helps the caustic soda penetrate deeper into and through the cornea and into the anterior segment of the eye.
This results in corneal clouding. Collagen hydration causes fibril distortion and shortening, leading to increased intraocular pressure. Additionally, the inflammatory agents released during this process stimulate the release of prostaglandins, which can further increase in intraocular pressure.
The combination of scarring, tissue damage and raised pressure in the eyeball make opthalmic follow-up essential. As an aside the most dangerous alkali as far as eye damage is concerned is Ammonia. Liquified Ammonia gas (anhydrous ammonia) is used in the USA as a fertiliser, it is directly injected into the soil, and a number of agricultural workers are blinded every year in accidents with it.

Not so. Apart from irrigation, treatment of opthalmic alkali burns would comprise:-
Control of inflammation to reduce the secondary effects of the damage. Topical steroids are useful during the early recovery phase. Cycloplegics also reduce inflammation by stabilising the blood-aqueous barrier.
Prevention of infection: The corneal epithelium serves as a barrier to infection. When this layer is absent, the eye is susceptible to infection. Reduce intraocular pressure: Aqueous suppressants are used to reduce IOP secondary to chemical injuries, both as an initial therapy and during the later recovery phase.
Promotion of epithelial healing: Chemically injured eyes have a tendency to poorly produce adequate tears; therefore, artificial tear supplements play an important role in healing.
Control pain: Severe chemical burns can be extremely painful.
Ophthalmic referral for even seemingly minor burns is quite usual as they can be far worse than they look.
As we both agree - keeping it out of the eye in the first place is a really good idea. The danger of putting caustic soda in crystalline form down a sink and then adding water is that in the process of dissolving the caustic soda generates a lot of heat. In a sink drain this can easily be enough to cause the concentrated solution to boil and there is nowhere for the steam pressure to go which results in it exploding the caustic liquid violently upwards out of the drain and forwards out of the overflow.
Mixing the caustic soda properly and pouring the resultant liquor down the drain is equally effective as far as clearing the drain is concerned and far less risky. I agree its also a lot less exciting - but with some things being boring is quite sufficient thank you :-)..
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(N. Thornton) wrote:> >Often all thats neeed is some caustic soda. I put a cupful in the

that was precisely the point.

not when youre facing the other way it doesnt - but it only takes one moments inattention for disaster. Dont copy.
Regards, NT
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"Abso" wrote | My washing m/c, which is connected for drainage at the kitchen | sink has just *almost* flooded the kitchen by means of | overfilling the sink when draining. Now I'm no expert, but | that tells me there's a blockage between the sink and the | main drain. | I've tried a traditional plunger on the kitchen sink, and a | syringe type plunger but both merely blow crap out of the | overflow (straight down my shirt, lovely). I can't think | of a way to block the overflow to increase the pressure
Someone else holding a wet rag firmly over the overflow hole whilst you attend to the plug hole.
| so I'm looking for alternatives. | I've come across the Mr Muscle range of two products, details here: | http://www.mrmuscleonline.co.uk/page3.html | .. is this kind of product any good? Are there alternative approaches | I could use? TIA.
They are effective if the blockage is in the sink trap. They are not as much use if the blockage is further down.
Owain
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Owain wrote:

Or for a loner like me perhaps a wet rag held over the overflow with one foot whilst the other stands on the floor and I plunger the sink for all it's worth. I'll either discover muscles I never knew I had, or get acquainted with A&E at the local hospital.

I think it's further down.
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