This Drain Cleaner May Work
Yes, the main ingredient in Drano is Lye, a powerful chemical that can dissolve tissue. Short-term exposure can certainly kill drain flies and larva. However, if the source of the fly infestation is not completely removed, they will return.
If you have those little black annoying pests in your bathroom or kitchen, it can be very frustrating. Many of the “wholesome” organic methods simply do not work. No wonder many people turn to Drano or Drano MAX as the best way to kill flies. If it can burn through your hand, it should be able to stop the flies once and for all. Right?
It is important to understand where drain flies come from, where they breed and their lifecycle. Killing larva and some adults might solve your problem for a few days. However, you must also clean the area where they are breeding and feeding. That is in the scum buildup inside of the pipes, or on the surface of the water.
What is Drano?
Drano is a lye-based drain cleaner. It is available in various forms, such as gel and pouches. The concentrations of sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (salt) and aluminum vary between products. Drano is considered caustic, which means it contains chemical properties that can burn and corrode organic tissue. It will most certainly kill any insect with prolonged contact.
Can Drano Treat Drain Flies?
Drano can dissolve hair, fat, oil and other buildup from inside of pipes. However, leaving it in the pipes overnight is not recommended. Liquid Pumbr, a Drano alternative, is ok to leave in pipes. Just make sure your piping does not contain rubber, which will corrode!
Using a caustic chemical to kill flies and hope they don’t return is not recommended. It will certainly kill adult flies and larva, but might even be wiser to first try Drano Max Build-Up Remover, which Johnson & Son states “helps break down toilet paper and organic matter in pipes.”
Drain flies thrive on buildup in pipes. Even if you kill adults and most of the larva, they may return if their home is not entirely removed.
If you try Drano, just make sure you do not mix it with any other drain cleaner, household cleaner or bio gel. Doing so will either produce toxic gas, or reduce the effectiveness of the enzymes in eco-friendly products.
So, can Drano help clear and kill drain flies? Yes, but you will need to also ensure the source infestation is treated to really solve the issue.
Drano Alternatives for Infestation Treatment
It might feel good pouring chemicals into a drain filled with the little buggers. Just know there is an alternative that will save you from the strong chemical odor and potentially dangerous nature of Lye. These are bio gels.
Bio gels are made up of millions of active bacteria that feed on organic matter in your pipes. The gels do not have a noxious odor, and can be used as many times as needed without potentially damaging pipes.
In our experience with Invade Bio Drain, the odor was pleasant, and the infestation was gone after several weeks of use. (Granted, it is not cheap.)
We also made sure to remove trapped hair and tried our best to scrub the pipe walls with a pipe brush. In our case, that worked wonders.
For the adults buzzing around the bathroom, we used Raid.
If you are at your wits end, take it a step further by implementing the following actions:
- Buy a pipe brush
- Locate the drain or area of infestation
- Scrub the pipes to remove buildup
- Use a organic drain gel to eat away any remaining material on pipe walls or drains (will not harm pipes!)
- Control the drain fly life cycle by using Gentrol IGR
- Kill any remaining adults with aerosol or a swatter
- Monitor room and drains for activity over the next several days and weeks
- Continue to use drain gel as directed
There are cases when a blockage deep in your lines could be part of the issue. However, if that is the case, we do not recommend pouring gallons of drano in your pipes. Go hire a plumber, who will remove the blockage while sparing your already aging piping. (Okay, maybe you have a newer home, but still!)
In rare cases, a faulty seal between your toilet and the floor gasket can let flies up from sewer lines below. This might be an indication of deeper issues, but a fix could be updating the seal between the toilet flange and floor.
We recommend you leave this job to a plumber unless you’re ready to get your hand dirty and don’t mind the smell of sewer gas.
Cost and Value
The downside to going about treating a drain or moth fly infestation yourself is the upfront cost. Drain gel, pipe brushes and Gentrol could run you up to $65 or more. In our experience however, we found that sometimes it makes the most sense to go the DIY route before dishing out for a plumber.
The plumbers we spoke to were not specifically equipped to do anything beyond taking apart piping and snaking lines. Granted, you will need one if you suspect a main sewer line break beneath your foundation.
This is not to undermine the value of a good plumber. We just prefer to try things out first.
If you use drano to treat a drain fly infestation, make sure to avoid mixing with enzymatic drain gels. The chemicals will kill off the good bacteria in those gels, rendering them pretty useless.
Additionally, make sure to follow the directions on the bottle. The company claims Drano® Max Gel Clog Remover contains a special ingredients to prevent pipe corrosion.
If you want to test other chemical drain openers, avoid those containing sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid. Both of those compounds can damage metal and porcelain if used incorrectly.
Drano can work to kill and remove drain flies, but it generally is not the first recommenced approach. It can be used in conjunction with other actions, such as cleaning the inside of pipes after use. If you choose this route, ensure you do not mix the Drano with any other chemicals.
As an alternative, many people opt for organic drain gels. These bio products use natural methods to get rid of buildup in pipes. Again, to really solve a drain fly issue, the breeding grounds need to be removed. Gels or liquid products alone may not be able to achieve this.
Make sure to also manually clean pipes as needed, and to test a life cycle inhibitor if the infestation is really bad.
Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API