Best Drain Cleaner Review and Buying Guide

Having a clogged drain is extremely common in everyday life, and it can be quite a nuisance.

The first thing you'll want to do when you see a clogged drain is to try all means possible to unclog it.

This may involve a number of crazy ideas such as using a bent wire hanger; I know we have all tried this one, where you bend one side of the wire to create a hook, and push it through the drain; or using a solution of baking soda and vinegar which you pour down the drain in order to try and unclog it; or the most common one which is use of a plunger.

When everything fails, calling in a plumber is normally the next option.

Now, all of these are good methods, but they only give you temporary results, and chances are that the drain will clog again in a few days unless you use the right products that will completely eradicate this problem permanently.

A good quality drain cleaner is the best product to use for clogged drains. It will unclog your drain and keep it clog free for a long time.

I have used drain cleaners before and I must say, my life is much better. My kitchen sink used to clog almost every day, and I would use lots of energy trying to unclog it with my plunger to no avail. I finally decided to use a drain cleaner and I have never looked back. This is why I have decided to write this review on the best drain cleaner.

best drain cleaner review

Best Drain Cleaner Review 2019

1. Comstar 30-500 Pure Lye Odorless Drain Opener

This is considered to be one of the best drain cleaners on the market, and that is why it is my top pick.

It comes in a 1 lb. bottle, and will clear your clogged drains in a very short time.

It is very powerful and easy to use.

It is odorless: this is a great point and it means that you will not end up with a strong chemical smell after you clean your drain. It also means that it is safe for the whole family, as it does not irritate. If you have children in the house, you can safely use this cleaner. In addition, it will clear away any bad odors in the sink.

For this reason, it is also ideal for toilet drain cleaning.

It is biodegradable: This drain cleaner causes less pollution, and after use, it will break down into non-toxic components that will not cause a dangerous chemical leachate and will also not poison your water and drain.

It is very powerful: its chemical composition will work wonders on your clogged pipes and can clear grease traps, roots, septic systems, and even toilet drains.

Non-acidic: it is not made of acidic components and will therefore not destroy your pipes and other fixtures.

Multi-use: Here's one thing you may not have anticipated with this drain cleaner. You can use it to make soap. In case you have any left over, and because it is made of 100% pure lye, it is perfect for soap making.

One thing I must mention is that you should never mix it with hot water. This is clearly written on the bottle by the manufacturer. If you mix it with hot water, it turns into wax and this wax can melt and damage your pipes.

It is however slow in its operations and may take some time to actually clear away the pipes that have been clogged, but it will do this very well, so the delay is well worth it.

Bottom line:

This is one of those products with a very positive customer feedback. If you have sinks that keep clogging, I highly recommend this product as it will not disappoint. Everyone who used it had lots of positive things to share about it.

This drain cleaner from XIONLAB is perfect for unclogging grease and hair clogs. It can be used in almost all areas of your home such as the kitchen, bathtub, toilet, etc.

Fast acting – its innovative cutting-edge formula is fast acting in clearing away drains. It is actually known as a quantum leap in drain clearing technology.

It is therefore highly powerful and effective and will be able to remove all obstructions such as oil, soap scum, fat, and lint.

You should however not use it if your clogs that have been caused by paper, plastics or food particles.

It is a gel liquid that is biodegradable which means that it will not cause any pollution to the environment and after use, it does not poison your drainage system or water. It also doesn’t leave behind any burnt after-smell.

It is NSF approved as being safe. NSF is a trusted and respected body in pipe cleaning and the fact that it is certified means that it passes all the requirements for home use and will not harm you, neither will it destroy your pipes. In addition, it is non-inflammable, non-splash, odorless, and non-explosive.

It is non-corrosive and approved for use in all types of pipes. This drain cleaner will leave your pipes clog free and will not destroy them after use.

  1. It is very easy to use; Here's how to use it"
  2. Ensure the cap is secure and inverted.
  3. Pour out ½ of contents into the drain.
  4. Leave it for 30 minutes.
  5. Clear out by running water through it.

Bottom line:

What I can say is that this is a good product for your drains, but it is not as powerful as the previous product from Comstar, and in addition, the one bottle will serve you for only 2 uses.

It is also quite costly compared to the other products in the market.

With this clog remover from Drano Max Gel, you no longer need to keep using half-baked home solutions to clear that gunk from your drains.

The company promises to work wonders in your sink, tub, shower or any other drain, and make it free-flowing in a few minutes.

You are advised to never use a plunger after you have used this drain cleaner because it may still be present in your system and using the plunger will drain it away.

You should also never use it in the toilets. DO NOT re-use the empty container after it has finished, rather, rinse it, replace the cap, then discard it. Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

It is ideal for clearing drains that have been clogged with soap scum, hair, and other types of gunk.

It is made of the following; Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Hypochlorite, Water, Sodium Silicate and Proprietary Surfactant Blend. These are very powerful ingredients and that is why you can use it in most circumstances.

It is safe and can be used on all types of materials such as; metal pipes, PVC, and plastic. It will not cause them to corrode and wear out quickly. You can actually pour it over your sink and leave it overnight.

It is actually a 2-in-1 product that will clean your drain and also protect the inside of your pipes from wearing out.

The directions for using it are very simple:

  1. Push the child-proof cap in a counterclockwise direction and push down the childproof cap.
  2. DO NOT squeeze the bottle. Immediately clean up any spills if any.
  3. Pour half of the bottle into the clogged sink which is around 32 oz. For the super slow drains, pour the entire contents of the bottle.
  4. Allow the cleaner to work for at least 15 minutes, but if the problem is too tough, leave it for 30 minutes.
  5. Flush it with hot water, and if the clog does not clear, repeat the process again.
  6. Do this on a monthly basis to prevent any future clogs from happening.

Bottom line:

This drain cleaner is not ideal for very strong clogs that are deep in the drainage system, and you may need to use a lot of it at a time to clear the clogged sinks. It is, however, a good product that does work most of the time and it is also reasonably priced.

Professor Amos has created a drain cleaner that will clear virtually every type of clog in your home. They clear hair clogs, grease, food, and any other type of tough clogs.

It is extremely popular and can be used in tubs, sinks, and even floor drains. In addition to all this, it will leave your sinks smelling great for almost one week later.

It is fast working as well, and once you pour it down the drain, you will wait just a few minutes before flushing it out, and voila! Your sink will be clog free. This is because it dissolves the clogs very quickly and takes them out when you pour hot water over the sink.

The hot water helps in activating the ingredients.

It is safe for use on all types of drains and does not damage them or cause them to corrode and wear out. If your drains are made of PVC or plastic, you can use it as well.

The only limitation to this drain cleaner is that it cannot be used on garbage disposals. The reason behind this is its working ability. It is not designed for disposal type of sinks.

It comes in 2 packs of 32 oz. each, which means it will serve you for a good period of time;

Bottom line:

Professor Amo is a good product which has been used by many clients successfully. It, however, has limitations if the clog is deep within the drainage system, and in most cases, the system may clog again, so you will need to keep using it at least once a month to completely take care of the problem.

The one thing you will absolutely appreciate about this drain cleaner is that it is 100% natural.

It is also a 2-in-1 product that will unclog your drains, and it contains a natural bacteria and enzyme that will break down the soap scum, grease, fats, hair, oils, and food waste.

It is ideal for showers, RV tanks, and toilet pipes. It is available in powder, packets or powdered form.

It has a neutral odor that will eliminate any bad odors in your sink, and also neutralize your septic tanks and drains. Once you rinse it out, it shall not leave any residue behind. You drain shall be squeaky clean and clog free.

It is very easy to use and you simply need to pour the liquid down the drain and let the formula do its magic. The package can be used for 24 months.

Being all-natural means it is safe for use and does not contain any chemicals that may cause harm to you are your drains. It will also not corrode or eat away your pipes and can be used on all types of pipes including PVC and plastic.

Bottom line:

It is always a good idea to use a natural product, and of course, this particular drain cleaner does not disappoint. The only downside is that it is not as powerful as the other products we have already outlined above, and it is not powerful enough for very serious clogs.

As the name suggests, this drain cleaner from Liquid-Plumr will destroy all of your clog related problems in a matter of minutes.

It also comes with a pipe guard synthesized a chemical that will protect your entire plumbing system from all future clogs, and even prevent the build-up of any such gunk.

It comes in different sized bottles and you can comfortably choose the one that will serve you best. There is 80oz, 218oz and 32oz.

It can work perfectly with pipes made of plastic, metal, copper and PVC pipes.

It will also fight odors for you, and leave your system smelling fresh within 15 minutes. After pouring it down the drain, make sure to clean it out with some hot water.

The liquid is thick and does not splash around, plus it will remain in your system for a few days to ensure there are no further clogs.

Bottom line:

This product works on almost all types of clogs, but, if you want to save on cost, it is advisable to purchase it in bulk, otherwise, it can be pretty expensive. Customer reports are a little divided when it comes to this product, but the majority of them stated that it actually works, and that is why it is in our list.

I have decided to include this final product because it is different from what you are used to.

It is a deodorizer, as well as a drain cleaner, and will work perfectly in ensuring your pipes remain to clog free as well as minty fresh.

The formula used is non-toxic and extremely safe and gentle on your pipes plus, it is available in multiple scents, such as lavender, orange, lemon, rose and pine, so you can choose which one you like best. It also comes as unscented just in case you are not a fan of scents.

It is made of powerful natural enzymes that slowly releases a concentrated blend of power into your sink, that eliminates organic and grease builds up for at least 30 days. Each month, you need to drop one stick into the sink. The package contains at least 24 sticks, which means that you are covered for almost 2 years.

These sticks are 6.3 inches long, they are thin and cylindrical and ideal for all types of drains and sinks.

If you do not need a drain cleaner, you can still use these sticks to keep your sinks and drains smelling great.

Bottom line:

This product may not work as great as the others in the market, but it comes with its own unique feature of deodorizing your sinks and drains so I would still recommend it. The downside is that it does not dissolve completely in your drain, and most people have complained that it may cause more clogs if you use more than one per month.

drain-cleaning

Common Questions and Buying Guide for Drain Cleaners​​​​

What exactly is a drain cleaner?

This is a chemical-based product that is used to unblock sewer pipes and helps in preventing the occurrence of clogged drains.

How does a drain cleaner work?

Drain cleaners are made of chemicals. The chemical in the cleaner reacts by either giving or taking away electrons from the specific substances that are causing your drain to clog. As a result, the sink or tub becomes clear.

There are 3 main types of drain cleaners;

Caustic, oxidizing and acidic.

Caustic drain cleaners contain caustic potash and lye substances. These are the bases that give electrons to the clogging substances. Their hydroxide ions normally create the reaction that clears the clogs. Their basic or alkaline chemicals emit heat, which turns the grease into a soap-like substance that is easily dissolved.

This type of drain cleaner is normally heavier than water, and this enables it to reach the clog using the standing water.

Oxidizing drain cleaners have substances such as peroxides, nitrates, and household bleach, which cause the organic material in the clog to lose electrons and become oxidized. This product is much heavier than water, and it moves through standing water while releasing gas and heat that eventually clears the blockage.

Acidic drain cleaners are very common, and they can be found in almost any store. They are mostly sold to plumbers because they contain high concentrations of sulfuric and hydrochloric acid. These acids are able to increase the hydronium ions that attract electrons from the clog.

The hydronium ions will then chemically react to the material in the clog and release heat which melts grease.

Things to Look Out For When Buying Drain Cleaners

When it comes to drain cleaners, there are a number of factors that you must consider in order to be able to buy the best, and most suitable for your drains. One of the things you shall find is that they are available in 4 ways:

Now, in most cases, the type you choose will depend on the type of clog you are having. The thick liquid cleaners are the most popular because they sit in your drain for a while and eat away the clog. The granular and gel cleaners are also good for this type of cleaning, while the powdered drain cleaners are good for slow-running drains, and should never be used on quick drains.

Here are a few other factors to consider:

Odor:

A clogged sink will definitely emit a bad odor, but, you also do not want to buy a drain cleaner with an equally foul smell. You may be making things worse than they already are.

Being that these cleaners are chemical in nature, they may overwhelm you with how they smell, so, you will need to buy a cleaner that will enhance the smell in your home, rather than one that will make it worse than it already is.

It is advisable to choose an odorless cleaner, because, it will not only clean and clear the drain, but also get rid of any smells that may be tormenting you in your home as a result of the clogging.

Type of Clogs:

A good point to note is that: different clogs require different types of drain cleaners.

You will find that most drain cleaners are either acidic or basic. Each is suitable for a specific clog or drain. There are drain cleaners specifically suited for the bathroom, while others are suitable for your kitchen or toilet, and this depends on the clogs you may find there.

While any clog will obviously be made up of organic materials which includes grease, food particles, paper or hair, it is unlikely to find food or papers in your bathroom sink or hair particles in your kitchen.

Therefore, depending on where your clog is located, you should find a drain cleaner that is suitable for that specific drain and clogging substance.

Unclog Grease Clogged Drain

Gradeability:

This is very important. Every drain cleaner is graded differently. This refers to how well it will clear the clog in your system. It also refers to how efficient it is to the environment.

The best drain cleaner would be one that is bio-degradable, also, one that is non-toxic. A drain cleaner that is toxic may be harmful to you and your family.

Type of drain:

As much as you are trying to clear the clog, you will need to use a drain cleaner that will be safe on your drains. Some cleaners may have a high amount of chemical that may end up destroying the drainage system in your home.

Ensure to read the manufacturer's information carefully, so you can tell which cleaner will work on which type of drain.

Cost and value:

Most of these drain cleaners are actually pretty affordable. However, it is true that "you get what you pay for," and therefore, do not buy the cheapest and expect excellent results from it.

While this doesn't necessarily mean you go buy the most expensive, it simply means that price should be one of your deciding factors.

A word of caution when using drain cleaners:

Drain cleaners are dangerous in the following ways;

  • They generate heat, and this may soften and even destroy PVC pipes.
  • They are extremely toxic if swallowed.
  • They can also burn your skin, eyes and mucous membrane.
  • They can eat through your clothes.
  • If used improperly, they can explode and release noxious fumes.
  • They can mar your kitchen and bathroom fixture.
Here's what you should do:

Before making the decision on the type of drain cleaner to use, first investigate on the chemicals used in its make. Some are extremely harmful while others are not as much.

Identify the type of pipes you have in your home, and most especially the materials used in making the pipes, because many drain cleaners use caustic chemicals that are very powerful in removing very tough clogs, but they also easily destroy pipes.

Never use strong caustic chemicals on stainless steel, aluminum, copper piping or galvanized steel pipes. This will destroy them.

Now, when acids and bases dissolve in water, they generate an exothermic reaction. This means they get hot. You should, therefore, add the chemicals very slowly, and in small quantities, because the heat generated may destroy your pipes.

Always ensure you use protective gear whenever you use these drain cleaners. This is because, a single drop of Sulphuric acid or granule of sodium hydroxide can be very painful on the skin. You should invest in heavy duty gloves, an apron, and even some eye protection.

Have a window open whenever you are dealing with acidic drain cleaners. This is because they normally fume right out of the bottle, and it is very dangerous.

Finally, do not be too scared to use the drain cleaners, these points are simply a precaution so you do not cause any more problems than you already have.

best drain cleaners

How to use drain cleaners safely:

It is important to use drain cleaners safely and properly, for safety reasons of course, and also, to ensure they work properly.

Here is a simple guide on how to use them in the right way;

Step 1: Buy the correct drain cleaner

This is the most important step. Follow the rules below;

Choose a drain cleaner depending on the clog. Different drain cleaners will work in different ways depending on the reason behind the clogging. There are cleaners made for grease, others are made for hair while others can be used to remove paper clogs or food particles.

Choose a drain cleaner depending on the type of pipes in your home. This helps you protect your pipes form damage.

If you have a very tough clog, you may be tempted to use some heavy-duty products, but these are designed to be used by highly trained professionals because of their hazardous nature. Ensure to choose a product that you can easily handle at home and one that will not harm you in any way.

Enzyme cleaners are perfect for breaking down proteins and can be used in your toilets as well. But they are very slow and ineffective when used in other areas.

Everyone's needs are different, so choose what you need for the specific problem at hand.

Step 2: Identify where you should not use it

One of the most common problems with drain cleaners is that most people try to use them in situations that are inappropriate. E.g. you should never use a drain cleaner in the tub, or garbage disposal, or any other drain that can easily be destroyed by powerful acids.

If you have a septic tank, refrain from using a drain cleaner at all. This is because it will kill the very important bacteria that break down waste in your tank.

Step 3: Learn how to safely use it

You must thoroughly read all of the instructions and safety precautions that have been provided by the manufacturer. These instructions and warnings must be followed strictly. This will protect you from any dangerous situations, as well as enable the cleaner work properly and effectively.

Ensure to assemble all of your safety equipment before you begin using the drain cleaner; this will include:

  • A respirator or face mask
  • Thick rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
drain-snake

Step 4: Cleaning the drain

Using a liquid drain cleaner:

Hold the bottle firmly with one hand, and open it using the handle. Ensure not to squeeze the bottle or tip it. Pour the amount indicated by the manufacturer down the drain. Once you are done, wait for 30 – 60 minutes as per the instructions.

After the time has elapsed, what you need to do is flush the drain with hot water, but, if the drain is not clear, you can repeat the process for the second time if it is recommended by the manufacturer.

Using granulated crystal or gel:

In this case, the procedure is a little different.

The first thing you should do is to remove all the water that is standing in the drain, if this is not possible, try to remove as much as you can. Then, add approximately 2-3 tablespoons of the drain cleaner into the drain.

Follow this with 1 full cup of water, and then wait 30-45 minutes for the process to work and for the clog to be removed. You can then flush the drain with some cold water.

How to prevent clogged drains:

As much as there is a drain cleaner to take care of the clogs when they happen, it is important to try and prevent clogging as much as possible. Here are a few things you can do to keep your drains clear of any clogging;

Do not pour any grease or oil down your drain: Fat, oils, bacon grease, and other types of fats should never be left in your kitchen sink because they will clog it. You can consider buying a strainer for your sink to help prevent this, or simply ensure to clear out any of these substances from your dishes before putting them in the sink.

Run water down the drain often: If you have a garbage disposal, you can be running water in the sink at the same time you are disposing of dirt through the garbage disposal. Make this an everyday routine to ensure you keep your drain clean and dry. Once in a while, you can be using hot water instead of the cold water.

Use strainers in your sink: What the strainer will do, ensure that any large substances that can cause a clog do not pass through your sink. This will keep your sink clean and dry and the instances of clogging will have been reduced greatly.

Conclusion: On the Best Drain Cleaners

The above list shows you that calling a plumber and spending an obscene amount of money in unclogging your kitchen or another sink should be the very last result. These products actually do work and if you use them on a regular basis, clogged sinks will soon become a thing of the past.

All of the products I have review for you are from reputable companies and you can freely choose the one you like best, but I must reiterate that you must follow the manufacturers advice to the letter because these are chemicals and they may cause you to harm if you do not use them as they are supposed to be used.