Liquid chemical drain cleaner is corrosive so that it can remove blockages from drain pipes. Although a great feature for clearing slow drains, the corrosiveness has a downside since it can cause significant damage to anything the cleaner touches. It's important to thoroughly clean any surface touched by spilled drain cleaner to reduce the chance of damage to the surface.
Cleaning spilled drain cleaner is simple to do, but requires quick action and precautions to protect your skin, eyes and lungs.
Step 1: Clean Yourself First
For your personal safety, it's important to remove any drain cleaner off your body first before removing it from the surface it has fallen on. If the spill is on your skin, immediately rinse the affected area with lots of cool water for about 10 minutes and take off contaminated clothing. Depending on the size of the spill, you may be able to salvage contaminated clothing by soaking it in cool water. Otherwise you'll need to throw it out.
If you spill or splash drain cleaner in your eyes, flush them immediately with cool water for 15 to 20 minutes. Contact lenses, if applicable, should be removed after 5 minutes. If your eyes are still burning, you may need to seek immediate medical help. Should this be the case, the spill will need to wait since your health is the biggest priority.
Step 2: Put on Protective Gear
Dry your hands thoroughly. Put on rubber gloves. Bring a plastic garbage bag and paper towels close to the spill. If there's a window nearby, open it to reduce the amount of toxic fumes in the room.
Step 3: Neutralize
Create a thick paste out of baking soda and water. Apply to the spill to absorb it. Wait 1 or 2 minutes. Wipe up the mixture with paper towel and immediately put the soiled paper towel in the plastic bag. Apply another layer of the baking soda paste. Allow to sit for another 3 mintues. Clean up with paper towel.
Alternatively, you can pour club soda over the drain cleaner spill to neutralize it. Clean up with paper towels and repeat.
Step 4: Clean Any Residue
After the drain cleaner spill has been neutralized, it's important to clean any remaining residue. While the neutralized residue won't corrode surfaces, it is poisonous and should be removed. Create a mixture of 1 part ammonia and 10 parts water. Apply this liberally to the area of the spill using the paper towels. Immediately dispose of the paper towels in the garbage bag.
Rinse the area with copious amounts of fresh cold water. If the drain cleaner spill is on carpet, vacuum the area gently once it has dried to remove all traces of cleaner residue.
Step 5: Clean Up
Tightly tie the garbage bag. It may even be a good idea to double bag it. Store the bag outside until it can be taken to the dump. Do not store it in a shed or garage. Make sure the bag is out of reach of pets and young children.