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Question DetailsAsked on 1/4/2013

Will "Sewer line" cleaning products remove grease from Main Sewer Line effectively?

I am if Sewer Line Cleaners are effective or if I must have my line jetted to remove grease and scum buildup in my main line that goes out to the street?

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3 Answers

Voted Best Answer

The simple answer is ,"No!" The only way to effectively clean grease and scum from a drain line (or a neighborhood, jk) is with high pressured water. The machine they use is called a Jetter, many drain cleaning companies have them.

Answered 7 years ago by Vern


As long as there is still flow and it is only restricted you can errode a significant amount of the grease by pouring boiling water down the drain. If it's a major clog or is to far down the line for the boiling water to reach it before cooling you'll have to call a plumber. I'd still give it a try first to attempt saving some money.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services

Answered 7 years ago by Todd's Home Services


I agree with Vern, I've been a plumber for 24 years and have yet to find anything that truly works except for a Jetter, prob run about $300- $400 to have the main line done. However I would get them to camera the line after its jetted most of the time there's a reason they sludge up, have a belly or a long flat spot. The camera will also show if its truly clean as well, you should be able to get both done for under $500.

Answered 7 years ago by hockeycoachtim


IF the operator goes slow enough - not more than maybe 3-5 feet per minute, then pressure jetting can do a pretty good job on caked-on materials.

My preference - full-diameter spring steel perimeter scrapers on a router, which rotate and scrape the inside of the pipe back to full diameter. Not only does it remove the buildup of soap scum, paper fibers, and grease; but also scrapes off loose corrosion products ("rust"), and will, with a good operator "feeling" the response through the cable, tell you if there are significant amounts of or large rocks or broken pieces of pipe laying in the line, broken out pipe or offset joints, and roots.

From having seen pressure jetting done a number of times, including digging up lines that had just been pressure jetted, unless it is the type with a centralizer that keeps it near the center of the line (but also makes it more prone to getting trapped in broken lines, so rarely used by residential sewer cleaners), they tend to get the bottom of the pipe where they are laying fine (which is normally the cleanest part anyway) but some tend to not clean the upper half very well. The centralizer type and those with a quickly rotating jet head do work much better, as do the higher pressure ones where the head basically self-centers because of the spray pressure, but are also more expensive to buy so smaller outfits tend not to have them. Of course, the ideal (and generally only commercial outfits have them) is the ones with an on-board camera and floodlight so you can see if you are actually getting it clean or need to slow down or take multiple passes.

One other thing about jetting - because it introduces a fair amount of water into the pipe, unless the entry point is at the lowest and most downflow point in the house, you should someone watching the lowest drains to be sure they are not backing up - I have seen a couple of horrendous messes where a roto rooter type outfit ran a few hundred gallons of water through the pressure jetters over 15-30 minutes, and because of a downstream blockage or one that was created by the washed out debris from upstream, it backed up from basement or garage drains and flooded the floor and bottom of walls with diluted sewage.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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