Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic made by polymerizing a monomer called vinyl chloride. While PVC has many applications, one of the leading uses among these is the manufacture of pipes. You may well have PVC pipe under your sink at home. Given its use in plumbing, PVC often comes in contact with bleach and other corrosive chemicals that go down the drain.

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PVC plumbing is designed to resist chemicals like bleach.

Bases

While PVC is incompatible with many organic solvents, it has good corrosion resistance and is compatible with most common mineral acids and bases. You already know, for example, that pouring drain opener down your drain does not damage your PVC pipe, and drain opener contains sodium hydroxide a stronger base than the sodium hypochlorite in your bleach. Unlike sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite is also an oxidizing agent, but PVC is nonetheless resistant to sodium hypochlorite as well.

Compatibility

PVC has excellent chemical compatibility with common household bleach brands, such as Chlorox. It is resistant to solutions of potassium, sodium and calcium hypochlorite, all of which are used in various types of bleach. It is also resistant to hydrogen peroxide, another compound sometimes used as a bleaching agent. Other peroxides, such as sodium perborate and sodium persulfate are likewise compatible with PVC, as are the bleaching liquors used by industry during processing of wood pulp.

Oxidizing Agents

In a broader sense, bleach refers to any compound that removes color from a material, usually by oxidizing pigment molecules. Consequently, many strong oxidizing agents can be considered bleach. Rigid PVC, like the kind used in pipes, is largely resistant to many common oxidizing agents, even compounds, such as chloric acid. Like most organic compounds, it is susceptible to attack by extremely strong oxidizing agents, such as fluorine gas.

Considerations

PVC also displays good resistance to ozone, another compound sometimes used as a bleaching agent. Chemicals incompatible with PVC are organic solvents and reagents like phenol, extremely strong oxidizing agents and various other compounds, such as barium cyanide -- all compounds the PVC in your home is unlikely to encounter. The bleaches you can buy at the supermarket are all sodium hypochlorite solutions and should certainly work just fine with PVC.