Can You Use Liquid Plumr in a Toilet

Can You Use Liquid Plumr in a Toilet?

Liquid Plumr is one of the popular drain cleaners you may use for bathroom and kitchen sinks, including garbage disposals. You may also use Liquid Plumr to clean your bathtub and shower drains, but what about a clogged toilet drain or pipe? Can you use Liquid Plumr in a toilet?

You can but shouldn’t use Liquid Plumr in a toilet because it may damage the bowl seal or wax ring. Liquid Plumr isn’t a safe cleaner to unclog a toilet due to the likelihood of splashing and toxic gasses. Besides, Liquid Plumr isn’t effective at unclogging a toilet.

Manufactured by The Clorox Company, Liquid Plumr is branded as a chemical drain opener. But the company acknowledges that Liquid Plumr isn’t formulated to clear or open clogged toilets. In this article, I explain why you can’t use Liquid Plumr in a toilet and what you should do instead.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Liquid Plumr To Unclog a Toilet

Liquid Plumr has the following drain cleaning products with slightly different intended uses:

  • Liquid Plumr Clog Destroyer Gel With PipeGuard
  • Liquid Plumr Clog Destroyer Plus+ Urgent Clear
  • Liquid Plumr Clog Destroyer Plus+ Hair Clog Eliminator
  • Liquid Plumr Clog Destroyer Gel With Lemon Scent
  • Liquid Plumr Clog Destroyer Plus+ Foaming Clog Fighter
  • Liquid Plumr Industrial Strength Gel
  • Liquid Plumr Maintenance

You shouldn’t use the Liquid Plumr Clog Destroyer Plus+ Hair Clog Eliminator to clean garbage disposals, but the others are fine as long as you prevent splashing while rinsing and clearing the residual chemicals of the drain cleaner, whether gel or foam.

You may notice that the labels of Liquid Plumr Clog Destroyer Gel and Liquid Plumr Hair Clog Eliminator (both available on, among others, mention that the drain cleaners are safe for all septic systems and common pipes or plumbing, including the following:

  • Copper
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • PVC

However, you can use Liquid Plumr only to clean the pipes for the following fixtures:

  • Bathroom sink
  • Bathtub drain
  • Kitchen sink
  • Shower drain

The same labels on these drain cleaners clearly mention that you shouldn’t use Liquid Plumr with any of the following chemicals and cleaning solutions:

  • Ammonia
  • Other clog removers
  • Other drain cleaners
  • Toilet bowl cleaners

There are four reasons why you shouldn’t use Liquid Plumr to unclog a toilet if I consolidate all the relevant factors in a broader but related sense. Let me explain each of these reasons.

Liquid Plumr Can Damage Your Toilet’s Wax Ring

All toilets require a watertight seal, whether they are installed on the floor or wall-mounted. This watertight seal has traditionally been a wax ring. The conventional wax ring serves quite a few essential functions, such as the following:

Not all wax rings can regulate the water pressure or the siphoning effect during flushing to more effectively eliminate the entire waste, which is often necessary for a low-flow toilet. However, all wax rings offer a watertight seal and prevent sewer gasses from leaking through the flange.

Liquid Plumr has several chemicals, some of which can damage your toilet’s wax ring. Consider the example of the Liquid Plumr Pro-Strength Full Clog Destroyer Plus PipeGuard, which has the following ingredients:

  • Cetyl Betaine
  • Sodium Carbonate
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Sodium Hypochlorite
  • Sodium Orthosilicate
  • Sodium Xylene Sulfonate
  • Water

The Liquid Plumr Hair Clog Eliminator has even more chemicals, including the following:

  • C12-16 Alkyldimethyl Amines
  • Capric Acid
  • Caprylic Acid
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Lauramine Oxide
  • Lauric Acid
  • Modified Polycarboxylate
  • Myristamine Oxide
  • Myristic Acid
  • Non-EDTA Chelant
  • Palmitic Acid
  • Sodium Carbonate
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium Cocoate
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Sodium Hypochlorite
  • Sodium Orthosilicate
  • Stearic Acid

The specific formula and, thus, the list of ingredients varies for the different Liquid Plumr drain cleaners, but the following chemicals are common in all of them:

  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Sodium hypochlorite
  • Surfactants

Generally, surfactants aren’t a threat to the standard wax rings, but bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and sodium hydroxide may damage the seal. Both sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite or bleach can dissolve wax to varying extents. 

Wax isn’t soluble in water, but an aqueous solution of sodium hydroxide will dissolve it, and the presence of bleach or sodium hypochlorite makes Liquid Plumr more abrasive than what toilet seals might endure. The risk of damaging the wax ring makes Liquid Plumr unsuitable for toilets.  

A damaged wax ring may lead to an immediate crisis. You may have clean or dirty water leaking from the toilet flange. Sewer gasses flowing back through the drain pipe may leak and spread in your bathroom. A severely damaged wax ring may somewhat flood the bathroom while flushing.

Like the different Liquid Plumr formulas, wax rings aren’t identical, and some may endure a little more abrasive and dissolving effects of bleach and aqueous solutions of sodium hydroxide. For instance, you may have the likes of Fluidmaster Extra Thick Toilet Wax Ring (available on

The Fluidmaster wax rings are 1.6 inches (40.64 mm) thick, around twice as much as the slender ones that measure ~0.8 inches (20.32 mm). Such thick wax rings may not succumb to a Liquid Plumr cleaning routine spanning a few minutes. But wax rings aren’t invincible in the long run.

The various chemicals in Liquid Plumr will likely have an adverse impact on wax rings. Even if your toilet has a waxless ring, such as a rubber seal, the material may suffer some damage due to exposure to the abrasive and hazardous chemicals in Liquid Plumr.

A toilet’s trap and flange are unavoidable when you have to use any type of cleaner to clear a clog. Liquid Plumr is safe for drain pipes of all standard materials, but it isn’t meant to be used on rubber, wax, etc. Gaskets or seals for toilets are different from pipe or plumbing connections.

Liquid Plumr Isn’t a Safe Option To Unclog Toilets

A damaged wax ring failing to prevent the leakage of sewer gasses and water from a toilet is an unhygienic and unsafe scenario. So, Liquid Plumr isn’t a viable option to unclog a toilet, and you have to also worry about the other safety issues of using such chemical drain cleaners.

First of all, you shouldn’t use Liquid Plumr with any other cleaner or household chemical. Liquid Plumr can produce hazardous gasses, including chlorine and chlorinated compounds if it mixes with the following chemicals and solutions:

  • Acids
  • Ammonia
  • Other drain openers
  • Toilet bowl cleaners

You shouldn’t have chlorine gas and other fumes in a bathroom, whether you actively clean the toilet or leave some drain cleaner in the bowl and pipe for it to work on the clog. Chlorine gas is highly toxic with the following effects if acute exposure is relatively limited (less than five ppm):

  • Lacrimation
  • Nose irritation
  • Throat irritation
  • Excess salivation

Any acute exposure to chlorine gas at medium to high levels has the following adverse effects on your health:

  • Chest pain
  • Corneal burn
  • Discomfort
  • Dyspnea
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Violent cough

You can’t prevent inhaling chlorine gas if you use Liquid Plumr in a toilet by wearing regular N95 masks. You will need to use a chlorine gas mask, like the 3M Respirator Cartridge (available on, which can protect you against the following gasses:

  • Chlorine
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Hydrogen chloride
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Sulfur dioxide

Toxic chlorine gas and other hazardous fumes are among the reasons why Liquid Plumr states explicitly in its safety data sheet that you shouldn’t use their drain cleaners in a toilet or with a plunger. No Liquid Plumr is safe if you accidentally or inadvertently have some splashing.

You can’t be absolutely certain of preventing all splashing if you have to use a toilet auger or at the time of flushing to check if the clog is gone. Liquid Plumr has the following adverse reactions if the chemical drain cleaner splashes or you get exposed to it while using it in a toilet:

  • Inhaling Liquid Plumr mist or vapor can irritate the respiratory tract and cause coughing. Exposure to or inhaling high concentrations of hazardous fumes and toxic gasses may cause pulmonary edema.
  • Liquid Plumr is extremely corrosive if the drain cleaner comes into contact with your eyes. The chemicals might cause severe damage to your eyes.
  • Liquid Plumr is a severe irritant for your skin. Any sustained exposure or unchecked contact can cause skin burns. 

I’m excluding the effects of inadvertent ingestion because it isn’t as likely as inhaling the gasses or fumes of Liquid Plumr. Also, you can’t afford any contact with eyes or skin during inadvertent splashing if you have to use a plunger or when you flush the toilet to clear the clog.

Liquid Plumr Isn’t Effective at Unclogging a Toilet

Most people consider a plunger or auger as the first or immediate and most common remedy to clear a clogged toilet, as the mechanical action and resulting suction are effective. You can’t use a plunger or toilet auger with Liquid Plumr, so there’s no mechanical force or suction in play.

You have to rely only on the chemical action of Liquid Plumr without any suction to dislodge the blockage or open the drain by forcing the clogging materials down the pipe. Even if I consider the possibility of Liquid Plumr clearing the blockage, the drain cleaner must reach the clog first.

Any clogged toilet doesn’t necessarily have a blockage in its trap. In most cases, the blockage is further down the drain, so Liquid Plumr must reach that portion of the pipe for the chemicals to work on the clogging waste. Liquid Plumr may be futile if it doesn’t flow down to the blockage.

Toilets don’t have the typical u-trap that your bathroom or kitchen sink has. The p-shaped or s-trap for toilets is structured differently. Also, the toilet bowl has some water at the base, which your bathroom drains and kitchen sinks don’t. Consider the following sequential scenario now:

  • You have a clogged toilet with some water in the bowl.
  • The clog may be at one or multiple points in the pipe.
  • You pour a certain volume of Liquid Plumr into the toilet.
  • The chemical drain opener doesn’t reach the blockage.
  • The cleaner may remain in the bowl or partly in the pipe.
  • You can’t agitate the liquid, flush the toilet, or intervene.
  • In any such conditions, Liquid Plumr may sit in the bowl.
  • Some of the liquid drain cleaners may flow into the trap.
  • A bit of Liquid Plumr may reach the blockage in the pipe.
  • However, that quantity may be insufficient to be effective.

Combine this realistic plausibility with the fact that you can’t have Liquid Plumr splashing in your toilet bowl or bathroom. If the blockage isn’t cleared in several minutes, hours, or longer, you will have the chemical drain cleaner in the pipe, trap, and probably the bowl, too.

You may try to flush the toilet, whether to check or rinse the drain pipe or both. If the toilet is still clogged, you may have Liquid Plumr releasing hazardous fumes or gasses. It is quite possible your toilet will have excess water in the bowl, rising and potentially splashing.

Therefore, Liquid Plumr won’t be effective at unclogging a toilet in such instances, and you will expose yourself to the many risks of inhaling and contacting Liquid Plumr fumes and chemicals, respectively.

You can neither use a plunger nor mix any other chemical or cleaning agent with Liquid Plumr to unclog a toilet. The chemical drain opener won’t unclog the pipe if it cannot reach the blockage. Additionally, you might needlessly risk damaging the toilet’s wax ring in the ineffective process.

Liquid Plumr Might Damage the Bowl and Fittings

Toilet bowls are usually porcelain, a phenomenally sturdy material that is resistant to a plethora of chemicals. Liquid Plumr or the chemicals in it may or may not damage porcelain per se, but the glazing might be vulnerable. Also, every porcelain toilet bowl isn’t of the same quality.

Liquid Plumr may cause aesthetic damage to the porcelain toilet bowl. The glazing may suffer a bit of material degradation if the contact or exposure is substantial. Likewise, if a toilet has any fittings that aren’t resistant to acids, bleach, and chemicals, they could be vulnerable to damage.

Consider the example of bidets, whether attachments or seats. While you obviously won’t pour Liquid Plumr in a way that directly contacts a bidet attachment, seat, or the nozzle, among other components, there is a possibility of the chemical drain cleaner backing up whenever you flush.

Accounting for all the practical possibilities and safety concerns, you shouldn’t use Liquid Plumr in a toilet. Besides, Liquid Plumr may not even unclog your toilet after you prepare with utmost caution to deal with or prevent every potential fallout. 

The Cleaners and Tools You Can Use To Unclog a Toilet

Here are the most effective cleaners and tools you can and should use to unclog a toilet instead of Liquid Plumr:

  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Dish soap and hot water
  • Enzyme drain cleaners
  • Toilet auger and plunger

Don’t use the standard plunger that is designed for sinks. The basic plungers have only one cup at the end that can’t create the kind of suction you need to clear a clogged toilet drain or pipe. A flange plunger is exponentially more effective and effortless.

A toilet plunger has a typical cup, but it also has a flap so that it fits snugly to create the suction you need to clear the blockage. An even better option is an accordion toilet plunger. You can get one of the likes of Jackson Supplies Accordion Toilet Plunger (available on

The cup is 7 inches (~18 cm) tall, and the distinct design with the bellows generates power that is unmatched by all other types of plungers. The JS accordion plunger is for heavy-duty toilet clogs. Of course, this toilet plunger isn’t very versatile, and it won’t work for every other drain.

Some clogs may be beyond a toilet plunger. You might need a toilet auger to clear such clogs, but don’t get the standard drain snake used by plumbers. A typical plumber’s snake isn’t made for toilet drains. You need a toilet auger with a plastic guard to protect the porcelain bowl.

The likes of DrainX Swivel Head Toilet Auger (available on are handy to work on stubborn blockages. This 3 feet (0.9 meters) toilet auger has a curved end with a plastic guard to avoid damaging the bowl or porcelain. Also, the swivel head makes it easy for you to guide the drop head into the trap.

The DrainX toilet auger works manually and with a drill. You will find such tools to be much more effective and safer than using Liquid Plumr in a toilet. Also, you may use enzyme drain cleaners if an accordion plunger, a toilet auger, or any homemade cleaning solution doesn’t work. 

Some toilet clogs can be cleared with baking soda and vinegar in equal parts. The combination is infinitely safer than Liquid Plumr as long as you slowly add the vinegar to the baking soda in the bowl to avoid rapid bubbling up. Allow the fizz to work for half an hour or so before flushing.


Given the safety risks and uncertain efficacy, Liquid Plumr isn’t a worthwhile toilet cleaner. Each Liquid Plumr variant is an exceptional product for its intended use, and you should definitely try one or more based on your needs. However, don’t use Liquid Plumr in a toilet to clear a clog.

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