Mister Muscle Drano and household safety

Drano is a Class 8 Corrosive which can produce severe burns to the skin and eyes, may cause corrosion to the respiratory system and may be fatal if swallowed. My target audience is the home maker, who may fail to understand the potential side effects of products due to reduced product labelling.

With the appearance of small beads, Drano Crystals manufactured by SC Johnson pose numerous risks to household users of the product (Johnson, 2011). As a cleaning product Drano is used to dissolve clogs in drains and free up slow running drains. Product labelling and dangerous goods legislation allows maufacturers to sell chemicals in quantities suitable for domestic use with reduced labelling due to small packaging (ACT Government).

The Drano safety data sheet (Johnson, 2011) advises that the product may be fatal if swallowed and inhaling the fumes created when the product is used in its intended way may cause respiratory corrosion. These two messages are left off the smaller consumer labelling. Additionally, the layout of the labelling places the product use description on the opposite side to the safety precautions, meaning the two items may not read at the same time.

Appearing bright and colourful, Drano has the appearance of nerd lollies (Kenny, 2016). The lid of the product is secure when affixed correctly, but care should be taken to ensure the product is kept out of reach of children and with the lid securely fastened to remove the risk of ingestion by a child.

Using the product as per the guidance on the packet causes fumes which may pose a risk to consumers. Precautions should be taken, such as opening windows and ensuring adequate ventilation. The directions state “use cold water”, but not why, the safety directions state “do not use hot water” but not why. SC Johnson have not included inhalation of fumes as a risk on the packaging, where the safety data sheet (Johnson, 2011) states inhalation of fumes may be corrosive to the respiratory system.

Drano is commonly found in households (Statista, 2016), but product labelling does not display all risks to consumers. Care should be taken when using this product and consultation of the material safety data sheet should be advised.

Sean Kenny


Work Health and Safety Regulation,  (2011).

Johnson, S. (2011). Material Safety Data Sheet: Drano Crystals Drano Crystals. 160 Epping Road, Lane Cove NSW 2066.

Kenny, R. (2016, 22 August, 2016). [Breakfast discussion with 7 year old girl].

Statista. (2016). Sales of the leading drain brand cleaners in the US.  Retrieved 22/08/2016, from Statista http://www.statista.com/statistics/251142/sales-of-the-leading-drain-cleaner-brands-in-the-us/

Household chemicals and safety

Household chemicals and safety