Photo: Aaron Pace's mug shot.
But in the case of 20-month-old Suliaman Kirkland, it was used to kill, according to police.
Not even two years old, Kirkland was rushed to a Philadelphia children's hospital after his babysitter, Aaron Pace, allegedly doused a rag with the caustic substance and rubbed it onto his skin February 2.
The drain cleaner was used as some sort of punishment, police say, because the boy had been uncooperative and was crying.
Pace, 33, has been charged with murder and related counts and remained in custody Monday.
Police say Pace, of North Philadelphia, was baby-sitting Kirkland.
Homicide Lt. Philip Riehl says relatives of the suspect discovered the child's injuries and called his mother.
The boy was rushed to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in critical condition and died of his injuries Sunday.
A listed number for Pace could not be found and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.