Whether it’s that bathroom shower that’s always ankle deep in water, a kitchen sink that just won’t drain, or that old septic letting out all kinds of smells, a drainage clog is one thing you are bound to experience at one point or another. And the association of plumbers only knows this too well. Luckily, we now have modern-day drain cleaners to save you from the trouble.
Drain cleaners might very well be the cleanest and easiest ways of unclogging drains. Most of them come in the form of either liquid or alkaline powders that you simply pour down the clogged drain and mix with hot water. It then acts by eating up the clogged material and transforms it into something soluble that can flow down the drain. The cleaners are quite affordable too, especially when compared to the alternative cost of plumbing. They are so easy to use, so you can do it yourself.
However, with new units popping up every day, it is easy to spend your money on substandard products. To help you get the results you need, we’ve done our research to present you with our list of the best drain cleaners out there today.
Top 10 Drain Cleaner of 2020 Reviewed
1. Green Gobbler Drain Clog DissolverBest Drain Cleaner for Grease
The Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver is a household name for a couple of reasons. One, because it’s been around for a while (therefore gaining the trust of many). And secondly, because of its incredibly quick ability to gobble up clogs. With its highly effective, ultra-thick formula, the unit easily liquefies anything organic stuck in its path, which includes all the hair, grease, soap scum, and paper clogging your pipes.
The clog dissolver is fast in operation, working within minutes, and easy to use too. In fact, all you need to do is pour it down your drain, and let it do the work for you. Its container is even split into premeasured halves, so you can control your usage to the appropriate amounts. The green gobbler also prides itself in its enzymatic formula, which is proven to be safer than other drain openers like sodium hydroxide, and it has no residual odors.
- Works pretty quickly
- Easy application process
- Highly effective on organic clogs
- You may need to use a snake for more serious blockages
- The bottle comes in small quantities.
2. Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength Clog RemoverBest Hair Drain Cleaner
If you’ve had any experience unclogging bathroom sinks and tubs, you’d know that hair is the most common culprit. Well, there’s no better tool to handle hair than the Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength Clog Remover. With every package of the Liquid Clog Remover, you get 2 bottles of professional quality drain cleaners specially focused on getting rid of hair clogs.
The clog remover is liquid in nature, therefore relatively easy to use. You only need to pour it down, wait about 15 minutes then flush the clog away with hot water. The product is also tested and proven safe for use in all types of pipes, including plastic, copper, PVC and old pipes, with this, you can save your money and time, by easily cleaning your drains yourself, and gaining a sense of accomplishment while at it.
- Quite efficient in clearing out hair clogs
- You get two bottles at a fair price
- Friendly on all types of pipes including old ones
- Might take a little longer to work
- Some users claim it came with white clumps on the gel
- Tends to get on your hands easily; therefore you need protective gear
3. InVade Bio Drain
Now, other than an actual clogged drain, sometimes you may also notice some flies hanging out around your sinks. This because they tend to be attracted to the bacteria building up inside. Well, that is what the InVade Bio Drain is here for. The bio drain works by breaking down the bacteria building up inside the pipes. It has a thick syrupy texture to it, which sticks to the walls, and breaks down the organic matter inside with time; therefore also helps prevent any future clogging.
Another plus is that you get a whole gallon with each purchase, meaning you, the unit will take you through the long haul. It is also safe for use in the food and beverage industry like in soda fountain drip trays when getting rid of sugar snakes, and you can apply it in trash chutes, urinals, and mob buckets.
- Sufficient amount lasts long
- Gets rid of invading sewer flies
- Safe to use on a variety of drains
- Does not work as well on shower drains
- A little costly
- Might take some time to show effects
4. Drano Max Gel, Clog RemoverBest Clog Remover
The Drano Max Gel Clog Remover is a top seller and household name in the world of clog removers. This may have something to do with its cool name and dangerous-looking container, but its more because of just how effective it is in getting rid of clogs. By using its thick bleach formula, the remover is able to cut through the water and cling to even the toughest clogs. It then blasts it down to size so it can flow easily down the drain.
Due to its aggressive nature, the remover works well with even tougher gunky clogs and soap scum, as well as the organic ones like hair and paper. Despite this, the Drano is still safe for use in garbage disposals, kitchen, bathroom, laundry sinks, and other drains.
- Gets the job done quickly
- You get a pretty large bottle for the price
- Cool looking bottle, catchy name
- Has some acidic smell to it which may be a nuisance
- Maybe corrosive on plastic pipes and older pipe material
- The bottle is opaque
5. Roebic K-570 32 Fl. Ounce Biodegradable Leach and Drain Field Opener
Now, if you are experiencing larger scale drainage problems like drenched leach fields and clogged septic tanks, you might want to bring out the big guns. Well, that is just what the Roebic K-570 Biodegradable Leach and Drain Field Opener were made for. What makes it especially unique is that it is biodegradable, what this means is that it is able to decompose all those islands of decomposed matter in your septic, drain fields and clogged leach, so they drain better. These are the same formulations used to treat municipal wastewater treatment facilities all through the country.
The product is generated as a concentrate, which allows more enzyme-producing bacteria to break up the clogged matter. It comes in a large size as well, allowing it easily treat up to 1500 gallons. With this, you can be able to get rid of all the odors and surface water from your septic tank in an environmentally friendly way. It is vital that you get the K-570, which is the newly improved formulation for the best results.
- Targets larger scale clogged systems like septic tanks and drain fields
- Roebic has been in the industry for over 50 years so you can trust their products
- Professional quality formulations used
- Some users claimed to have gotten the k57 instead of the k-50; it is vital to be specific
- You may have to use the product more than once to get results
6. THRIFT FBA_T-600 T-600 Alkaline Based 6 lb. Granular Drain CleanerBest Alkaline Drain Cleaner
At first glance, the THRIFT FBA_T-600 T-600 Drain Cleaner looks more like a bottle of milk. It is important to keep in mind that it is not. It is, however, a little different than other chemical cleaners in that it is alkaline-based. What this means is that it constitutes a non-acid formula that won’t harm any of your delicate pipes like porcelain, plastic, or old metals. The product comes in the form of odorless crystals that are activated by hot water. They then react to liquefy all the grease and hair in your drain in less than 60 seconds.
The product comes in a 6-pound bottle, so you get enough quantity for all your drains. The crystals are also odorless, so you don’t have to worry about any acidic residual smells. Word of advice, store it away from the milk.
- Comes in the form of odorless crystals which are environmentally safe
- Generously sized bottle; worth it
- Works incredibly fast
- Produces a loud sound when you pour in the hot water
- It is pretty costly
- Vapor generated in the process can burn eyes and mucous membrane
7. ComStar 024924305003 Pure Lye Bead Drain OpenerBest Bead Drain Opener
The ComStar 024924305003 is a 99% pure lye bead rain opener. The purity, in this case, means it does not have any needless dyes, fillers, or water. And from all the good reviews the product is getting, you can trust that this is a good thing. In fact, most consumers claim it worked were various other alternatives failed. The drain opener is simple to use, and once poured, it seamlessly cuts through the stubborn clogs, instantly clearing up your pipes. Lye is also proven to be really good when dealing with hair.
The formula on the Comstar is non-acid, which means you can use it on chrome trim, fine fixtures, and plastic pipes. It comes in a variety of container sizes, including 1, 2, 5, and 55-gallon containers. It is also quite ideal for making soap. Other convenient features are that it is food grade, biodegradable, yet still providing industrial strength service.
- Has a lot of positive feedback; lye works well on hair clogs
- The formula is odorless and non-acid
- Comes in different size containers for your various needs
- Might take long to unclog many beads
- Container was a little hard to open
- Some formula may splash on you as you add in the water
8. Thrift Marketing GIDDS-TY-0400879 Drain CleanerBest Drain Cleaner for Septic Systems
Coming as a second product on our list from the company Thrift is the Thrift Marketing GIDDS-TY-0400879 Drain Cleaner. And as you would expect from any other drain cleaners from thrift, it is arguably one of the most durable drain cleaners in the market. Also, it is proudly manufactured in the United States.
The Thrift Marketing GIDDS-TY-0400879 Drain Cleaner, however, comes in a smaller sized 2lb container, making it perfect for smaller drains like sinks. It is quite easy to use and activated by hot water, so you only need to pour some down and let it work its magic, and all this in less than 60 seconds. It might belch and slightly erupt in the process; therefore, you’ll need to take precautions like gloves and protective glasses.
- Works really instantaneously and fast
- Has no undesirable after effects
- Smaller package size is convenient for less demanding needs
- The reaction with hot water may be a little violent
- Some users claim it eroded some metal parts of the drain plg
- A bit costly
9. Professor Amos’ SuperFast 2-Pack -32oz Drain Cleaner & Drain Opener LiquidBest Liquid Drain Cleaner
Having sold over 2 million bottles worldwide, Professor Amos’ SuperFast 2-Pack -32oz Drain Cleaner & Drain Opener Liquid rightly secures its spot on the list. Here to save you from all the smelly rain pipes, Professor Amos comes fully equipped with all the features to back its credibility. For starters is its commercial strength formula, which works as superfast as its name suggests to get rid of any organic clog material in mere minutes. It literally melts the hair down to a soluble state.
Another great thing about the opener is that it is fully liquid in nature, which means it is extremely easy and convenient to use. The drain cleaner is also designed to save as much of your money as possible, and we are not just talking about the expensive plumbing costs, but rather the fact that it comes as two large-sized containers, which, for the price, should serve you for a really long time.
- Convenient and easy to use
- Cost friendly
- Works quite fast
- Some users complain it works inconsistently
- You might need to pour a larger quantity down for it to work
10. Instant Power 1868 Septic Shock
The Instant Power 1868 Septic Shock does exactly as its name suggests. It helps instantly clear out any clogged or foul-smelling septic systems. By using millions of beneficial bacteria, including lipase, cellulase, protease, and alpha-amylase, as part of its formulation, the product only needs to be flushed down the toilet, and it will work on its own to digest all the paper, soap and grease within the system.
Instant power comes in one two-liter bottle. It is relatively simple in operation, whereby, rather than having to measure appropriate quantities, you only have to pour out the entire bottle at a go. It works equally well for drain and leach fields as well. And in just a few days, it is guaranteed to have your toilet flushing better and clears out the nasty smells in your septic. Therefore, if you’d rather save the extra $4000 on replacing the whole drain field, this cleaner is what you need.
- Uses helpful bacteria, instead of corrosive components in its formula
- Really easy to apply
- Cheap as compared to costs of replacing a drain field
- Might take a few days to observe any noticeable differences
- You have to use it time after time for best results
Choosing The Best Drain Cleaner – The Ultimate Buying Guide
As you’ve seen, a drain cleaner is a chemical-based product used to unblock sewer and drainage pipes. They are the cheaper alternatives to plumbing, and if used regularly, they can help prevent the clogging in the drains in the first place.
That said, to get the best value for your money, we shall take a look at some of the different types of drain cleaners out there. We shall also look at some features you should consider when buying such a product.
Types of Drain Cleaners: Alkaline or Acidic, Which Works Best?
Most of the drain cleaners on our list will be composed of chemicals. This chemical in the formula is what reacts, either by taking away or giving electrons to the substances causing the drain to clog. This is what eventually clears out the sink or tub.
There are three main kinds of drain cleaners;
Oxidizing, caustic, and acidic.
Oxidizing Drain Cleaners: These incorporate substances like nitrates, peroxides, and bleach in their formulas. These, in turn, work on the clog materials and cause them to either become oxidized or lose electrons. Since it is heavier than water, the cleaner is able to move through still water, while releasing heat to clear the blockage.
Caustic Drain Cleaners: These contain lye and caustic potash substances as their main components. The alkaline chemicals within them are what emit heat, which in turn, convert substances like grease or hair into soap-like substances that can easily dissolve in water. The material is also heavier than water, so it reaches the clogged material pretty easily.
Acidic Drain Cleaners: These are the most common kind or cleaners. They contain high levels of hydrochloric and sulfuric acid. The acids are now what work on the clog material by increasing hydronium ions, which release heat to melt the grease material. They are considered to be the fastest workers, although they come with more potential hazards.
What are the Types of Clogs Removed by Drain Cleaners?
It is important to note that there are different types of clogs, each of which requires a different kind of drain cleaner to function efficiently. In most cases, the clog will be composed of organic material, like grease, paper, food particles, or hair.
In this case, you’ll also find that each material is more likely located at a particular location. For example, it would be unlikely to find hair clogging your kitchen sink or food particles in your bathroom.
With this in mind, it is safe to get a drain cleaner by taking into account where your particular clog is located. We shall look at some of the most common areas, the clog materials commonly found there, and the drain cleaners that are most likely to work there.
Kitchen Sink Clog
Kitchen sinks are mainly clogged by a combination of food particles and grease. This is also true for bathroom sinks. These can be either the most difficult to get rid of or the easiest. You’ll want to use either boiling water or alkaline materials here to get the best results. You’ll also want to avoid acidic or caustic solutions due to their corrosive and aggressive nature.
Toilet clogs, in most cases, will need to be removed using a snake, plunger depending on just how tightly packed the clog material is. Sometimes you might be needed to remove the seat and reinstall the toilet after draining it.
However, if it is draining slow and not completely stopped, chemical solutions would be your best bet. This is because some objects like sanitary napkins and large objects like diapers or bath toys would take really long to dissolve through the chemical processes.
Bathroom Sinks and Showers
The sink in your bathroom and shower is most likely to be clogged up by the hair. In this case, an acidic or lye-based drain cleaner is your best alternative, although in some severe cases, you might need to bring out the snake or remove them manually.
Things to Consider When Buying Drain Cleaners
There are a few things you should consider in order to get a drain cleaner that is suitable for your particular situation. For example, you’ll discover that they come in four different forms, including:
- Liquid cleaners
- Powdered cleaners
The type you choose among these will, in most cases, be determined by the type of clog you have. Thick liquid cleaners are the most preferred since they tend to sit on your drain for longer, while slowly eating away on the clog. Gel and granular cleaners can also suffice for this kind of cleaning. Powdered drain cleaners, on the other hand, do well in slow-running drains.
Other than the Type of Clog, Other Factors to Consider:
Odor: Does the Cleaner Emit its own Odors?
While a clogged sink emits its own bad odors, it may be counterproductive, getting a drain cleaner with equally foul smells. You will find this with most chemical cleaners. In this case, you will want to choose one that has infused scents, or you can opt for one that is completely odorless.
Grade Ability: How Environmentally Friendly are they?
Drain cleaners tend to come with different grade levels, often depending on just how well they are able to get rid of the clog, as well as how environmentally friendly they are. The best ones are the ones that are bio-degradable and non-toxic.
Type of Drain: Will it Harm Your Drain’s material?
Not all drains are made of the same materials. Some can be damaged by high chemical amounts or acidic formulas. Therefore, you should carefully consider the manufacturer’s specifications, so you can know which cleaner is best for your kind of drain. You’ll want to avoid using acidic cleaners on plastic or old metal drains.
Cost of the Drain Cleaners: Are the Expensive ones more Effective?
Most of the drain cleaners on our list above are affordable. However, as with everything else, you expect to get what you pay for. Simply put, you can’t expect the cheapest options to guarantee you the best results.
However, we don’t mean you go breaking the bank on the most expensive out there either. Consider your budget first, and then base your decision on what you can afford.
Cautions to take When Using Drain Cleaners
Due to their chemical nature, drain cleaners can be dangerous in that:
- They generate a lot of heat, which may destroy PVC and plastic pipes
- They are toxic and should therefore not be consumed
- They can burn your eyes, skin and mucous membrane
- They can also eat through your clothes
- Some tend to explode or erupt and release some fumes
- They can damage your bathroom or kitchen fixtures
Because of this, you are advised to wear protective clothing when using the cleaners (these include protective gloves and glasses). Also, you should look into the chemicals constituting the drain cleaner before using it and find out whether they are suitable with the kind of pipes present in your home. Avoid using caustic chemicals on material like aluminum, stainless steel, copper, or galvanized pipes.
A drain cleaner can mean the difference between spending a small fortune on plumbing and only a few bucks. It can also mean the difference between spending hours plunging and snaking your clogged sinks and a few minutes of pouring down that magic solution and letting it do the work for you.
With our select products above, you are guaranteed to get good results. If you use them on a regular, you might never have to worry about clogged sinks ever again. It is imperative that you also take precautions and follow the stated instructions to get the best results.