The Most Effect Drain Cleaners At Getting Rid Of Those Nasty Blockages – 2020
Have you ever stood in the shower while the water rose around your feet, pulled the plug on the drain in the sink only to see that dirty water linger, or flushed the toilet and then watched the level rise toward the rim, ready to spill filth all over your floor? No doubt you have experienced one or more of these frustrating events produced by a clogged drain. What do you do?
Plumbers and Do It Yourselfers reach for a drain cleaner whenever they have a clogged drain. The right drain cleaner will eliminate whatever is clogging your sink, toilet or shower and help clear out the mess. However, choosing the right drain cleaner takes a little bit of understanding of the type of clog you are dealing with, the chemical properties of the solution you use and some careful handling. We’ll cover those things in our mini buyer’s guide.
Besides an understanding of what drain cleaners work best in what situations, we’re also going to review six drain cleaners so that you can compare their various features and benefits. Our comparison along with our buyer’s guide should help you choose the right drain cleaner to fit your needs. We have done some detailed and extensive research on the market’s best drain cleaning products. We’ve also highlighted the best drain cleaner for hair as well!
Let’s get started.
Drain Cleaners Buyer’s Guide
When your drain is clogged, you want the quickest and safest solution to to achieve a clean drain whilst not doing any damage to your sink, pipes or even you. To accomplish that, you’ll need to understand a few things about clogs and drain cleaners in order to make sure you select the right drain cleaner.
What benefits can you expect from a drain cleaner? A clean drain?
Drain cleaners may work quickly and clear out a clog with minimal effort on your part, but they are not magic solutions and each type does not work on every clog you might encounter. Knowing the type of clog you’re dealing with allows you to select the right drain cleaner in order to achieve the maximum benefit possible. In fact, in some cases, a drain cleaner isn’t your best option at all.
Different Types of Drain Cleaners
There are essentially three different types of drain cleaners, though they may come in various forms. Those three basic types are acids, alkalines, and ezymatics. Here is a brief description of each type of drain cleaner:
• Acidic drain cleaners. The typical composition of these includes sulfuric acid in high concentration. There are more potential hazards associated with acidic drain openers, but they typically work the fastest.
• Alkaline drain cleaners. These are typically composed of sodium hydroxide (lye) or potassium hydroxide. They can come in liquid or solid form and work pretty fast at dissolving clogs.
• Ezymatic drain cleaners. These are made of natural enzymes which eat up the clog. They are safer to use, but they tend to work a lot more slowly than the other options. These tend to be clog preventive solutions for slow moving drains. For Ezymatic drain cleaners to work at their best, running hot water will speed up the process.
Various Types of Clogs
Drain clogs are typically made up of some sort of organic material which has clustered or clumped together in the drain pipe underneath your plumbing fixture. The removal of that clump can be accomplished manually, and in some instances may have to be removed in that manner, or it can be accomplished with some sort of chemical process which dissolves the organic material causing the blockage.
Kitchen Sink Clogs
Kitchen sink clogs are usually composed of a combination of grease and food particles. They can be either the toughest or easiest to clear depending on what is causing the problem. Caustic or acidic solutions are not typically your best drain clog remover for these types of clogs. In some cases the clog can be cleared using boiling water, but alkaline materials typically work best.
Vanity Sinks and Showers
Your bathroom sink or shower is more apt to be clogged with hair. Hair clogs, if they are going to be cleared without a snake to manually remove them, which might be necessary in some cases, are typically best removed using an acidic drain cleaner.
Toilet clogs often need to be removed using a plunger, snake or the combination of the two, depending on how tightly packed the clog is. Chemical solutions are best used for toilets that are draining slow rather than completely stopped. Toilet drains that are completely stopped have often been clogged by objects like sanitary napkins, diapers, a bath toy or some other large object, which would take a very long time to dissolve using a chemical process.
The Best Drain Cleaner For Hair
#1 Choice For Getting Rid Of Hair From Your Drains – Green Gobbler DISSOLVE Liquid Hair & Grease Clog Remover
Green Gobbler has helped to simplify and make application of their drain cleaner much safer through their packaging. Each half of the jug this cleaner comes in is premeasured for use in order to prevent misuse. Green Gobbler is enzymatic based for additional safety. It works well for tubs showers and sinks and clears hair and grease clogs.
If your blocked drain is compacted with mainly hair, then the best drain cleaner to get rid of hair is the Green Gobbler. I live in a house with four daughters and a wife, all of which have very long hair. You can imagine what my drains are like at the end of the month! This is the ideal product if you’re wanting to remove and dissolve large amounts of hair from your drains. It’s also completely biodegradable, used my millions all over the world and doesn’t produce an awful and strong smelling odour.
There is a lot of safety built into this product. A novice can use this without harming themselves, their plumbing, their plumbing fixtures, or even their septic system. It works slowly, but it does work, so be sure to give it plenty of time to do its job without getting impatient.
The Not So Good
This solution is probably not your best option for a drain which is completely stopped up.
A Great Choice If…
You have a drain that is draining slowly or clogged up with hair and you are something of a novice when it comes to the use of drain cleaners. You will not be happy with this product if you expect an instant or very rapid solution to your clogged fixture.
Five Of The Best Drain Cleaners – Reviews
Drano is a name brand that most everybody recognizes. This particular acid based solution (Max Gel) is professional grade, comes in gel form and works fast on tough clogs. It is best used for shower and sink clogs where hair is the main issue being faced. It is composed of sulfuric acid, but has added chemicals to protect against corrosion and damage to plastic, PVC, and metal pipes and is safe for septic systems.
Drano Max is also damn good for clogged up kitchen sinks, garbage disposal, shower drains, clogged bathtubs and bathroom sink.
This drain cleaner is strong and works fast, but the added chemicals help it to provide the right amount of power to dissolve clogs without damaging pipes and plumbing fixtures.
The Not So Good
This product does not work on toilet clogs and isn’t quite as strong as some industrial grade drain cleaners you plumber can use.
A Great Choice If…
You are not a professional, but need a professional strength solution. You won’t be happy with this product if you attempt to use it on a toilet clog or expect it to be an instant solution.
ComStar Pure Lye is a great option when it comes to toilet clogs. This cleaner comes in solid form, essentially little white beads of lye, which work well on hair, grease, food particles and other organics without doing damage to pipes and plumbing fixtures. An added bonus is that this compound can also be used in soap making, if you happen to aspire to that.
Sodium hydroxide solutions are safer for your pipes and fixtures, but pack plenty of punch when it comes to dissolving clogs. This solution works quickly and is easy for a non-professional to use.
The Not So Good
Just because this is not acid does not mean that it won’t hurt you really bad if it is mishandled. In fact, in some ways the sodium hydroxide is much more harmful to human tissue than sulfuric acid.
A Great Choice If…
You are a cautious and responsible person who follows directions and has a tough toilet clog or a stubborn grease clog. You can do a great deal of harm to yourself if you don’t use it right and should not use it if you are not properly prepared.
Being environmentally friendly is a major characteristic of Green Gobbler Ultimate. This solution works on toilets, sinks, showers, tubs, main lines and even your septic system without causing damage to your fixtures, you or the environment. It dissolves hair, soap scum, grease, food particles, paper and other organic matter.
You have to be impressed that this drain cleaner is eco friendly. Though it doesn’t come in the premeasured setup of the other Green Gobbler solution we just reviewed, it is still safe and there is a lot more room for error and misuse with this product. As long as you understand that this is more of a measure to prevent clogs when your fixtures are draining slow, you’ll be fine using it.
The Not So Good
This is not the solution you’re looking for if you need a quick solution to a completely blocked drain.
A Great Choice If…
You are looking for something to speed up a slow running drain and don’t want to do damage to pipes and fixtures. You will not be impressed with this product if you expect quick results on a fixture that is completely blocked.
You, your fixtures, your plumbing system and your septic tank can rest a bit easier when making use of Xion Lab Fast-Acting Drain Opener. This formula boasts a pH of 13, which is almost at the top of the scale of alkalinity, but is made safe some proprietary secret of Xion Labs. This liquid solution will work on grease, hair and other organics, but not on paper products. It even comes backed by a 100% performance guarantee.
This should probably be the first solution to go to because it is a safer option, but still packs the necessary power to get the job done. It is somewhat error proof for a novice user as well.
The Not So Good
This drain cleaner is probably not going to be effective on a fixture which is entirely blocked and will be more useful on slow moving drains.
A Great Choice If…
You want a powerful, but safe solution for a slow moving drain line. Again, you’ll be dissatisfied if you expect this drain cleaner to provide a quick or instant solution for a drain that is completely stopped up.
Another enzymatic solution to keep in mind is Zep ZDC16 Drain Care. This powder form drain cleaner helps to speed up a slow moving drain, helps to clear organic material, dissolve hair, food particles and grease from plumbing lines and is safe for septic tanks, your plumbing system and your plumbing fixtures. It helps to remove years of buildup and prevents potential drain problems from occurring in the future.
When it comes to preventive solutions, Zep is a major consideration to keep in mind. This solution is safe and simple to use. Used as a form of maintenance, you can prevent the majority of drain blockages from ever occurring using this formula.
The Not So Good
This isn’t a quick drain clog solution for a drain line that is completely blocked up.
A Great Choice If…
You have a slow moving drain or if you’re thinking ahead with an eye on preventative measures and maintenance. This product won’t impress you at all if you expect it to clear up a drain that is completely stopped up.
How to Use Drain Cleaners Safely and Effectively
If you consider the fact that drain cleaners are designed to quickly dissolve organic substances and you are entirely made up of organic substances, it doesn’t take a great deal of reasoning to figure out that drain cleaners will have the same effect on your skin, hair and other body parts if it comes in contact with them. That should be enough to get your attention. Here are some basic tips for using drain cleaners properly:
• Prepare yourself by putting on safety glasses or goggles and rubber gloves.
• Open windows and doors to provide ventilation in the area where you are working.
• Read the directions provided with the packaging and follow those directions precisely.
• Keep an eye on the clock and allow the solution ample time to work before becoming impatient and adding more.
• Do not use strong caustic chemicals on stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum or copper piping.
Keep in mind that both alkaline based and acid based cleaners generate exothermic reactions when they come in contact with water, so the potential is there for aggressive bubbling and splattering, which is the reason you want to wear protective gear when you use drain cleaners.
You don’t need to be afraid of drain cleaners, but you do need to respect their power and the damage they can do if not used properly. If you are really not able to use them responsibly or are not confident in your ability to do so, then call a plumber or someone who knows what they’re doing. Now, let’s examine six different drain cleaners.
Follow a few guidelines when you work with these products. Safely unclog your drain with these professional tips.
Pick Your Application
Drain cleaners aren’t designed for just any plumbing situation.
They work well in these areas, such as:
• Bathroom-sink drains
• Laundry-room sink drains
These cleaners shouldn’t be used in other areas that can be hazardous. Garbage disposals, toilets and bathtubs shouldn’t have drain cleaners used on them. Once activated, the disposal might eject some of the cleaner. It can be harmful on the eyes.
Toilets and bathtubs can leave the cleaner behind on the surrounding surfaces, which negatively impacts the household. Use alternative drain openers for these areas.
Keep in mind that some buildings have old and sensitive pipes. Drain cleaners can actually damage those pipes by merely coming into contact with them. Err on the side of caution by checking on the structure’s plumbing type before using any chemicals.
Select the Proper Cleaner Type
Stand in front of the drain-cleaning aisle at the local store, and you’ll see a lot of different products. They’re all designed for certain purposes.
Look for liquid or gel cleaners when you have a completely blocked drain. They can seep into the smallest holes in order to break up the particles.
Foaming cleaners, in contrast, are better suited for partially blocked or slow-draining pipes. They cling to the clog and disintegrate it.
Most households can use mild to moderately acidic products. They’ll remove clogs without harming the pipes.
You may be tempted to try those professional-grade products, but think carefully before you take this route. They can damage the pipes with their acidity. In fact, splash back might occur during application. Being injured by this splash back is a possibility that you don’t want to experience.
Prepare Yourself Before Using the Product
Drain cleaners are meant to dissolve organic matter. They don’t discriminate between a person’s skin or the drain’s clog. Protect yourself before opening the product. Put on rubber gloves, slip on safety goggles and consider a face mask. The gloves protect your hands from any cleaner exposure. The goggles keep the cleaner out of your eyes. Although the face mask isn’t always necessary, sensitive people should seriously consider its use. The cleaner’s fumes may be overwhelming.
Make sure that no children or pets are in the immediate area. All cleaners are extremely acidic, and they can be harmful with any exposure.
Follow the Instructions
Every cleaner will have slightly different instructions. Follow them as closely as possible. General instructions for cleaner use are as follows:
• Remove cleaner cap
• Pour an allotted amount directly into the drain
• Don’t run the faucet for up to 60 minutes
• Rinse the cleaner down the drain with either hot or cold water
Be careful with the bottle as you handle it. Don’t shake or squeeze it too hard. Keep your safety items on until the cap is safely back on the bottle.
Verify that the drain is clear afterward. Most clogs don’t require a second round of cleaner fluid. It may be too strong for your pipe’s structural integrity.
Prevent Further Drain Clogs
Getting into the habit of preventing clogs is the smartest way to maintain your home. Primarily, don’t treat your garbage disposal as a trash receptacle. It’s designed to take on food particles and crumbs. Breaking down large items will only clog the drain and weaken the disposal.
Try pouring boiling water down the drain every month. Not every blockage requires industrial strength drain cleaners. The heat will encourage any stuck particles to pull away from the pipes. Hot water is one of the best tools against clogs because there are no chemicals involved.
Pouring liquid grease or oil down the drain may be normal in your household, but it only contributes to congealed conditions within the plastic pipes. That liquid will cool at some point, which leaves it stuck to the plumbing. It attracts particles to stick to it too.
Keep old coffee or empty food cans around for liquid-grease disposal. The fats belong in the trash.
Prevent most food from entering the pipes by adding strainers to each drain. They’re relatively inexpensive mesh products that can be placed on every drain in the home. Empty them out when they fill with food or hair particles. Your pipes will remain clean for many years with this strategy.
There’s no harm in calling a plumbing professional if a drain clog is being particularly stubborn and the drain clog removers you’ve purchased haven’t worked. The expert might have some good advice for your specific pipes. Keep up with your plumbing’s maintenance so that clogs are a rare occurrence. Free-flowing water makes housekeeping easy to manage.