Is there a funky smell coming from your kitchen sink or perhaps bathtub? If yes, then your drain might be clogged or just very dirty. Either way, you’ll want to do something about it.
So what should you do? Call a plumber? No need for that, as there is a solution that’s much more affordable and quicker - drain cleaner.
Now, a problem with drain cleaners is that they’re not all made equal, so you need to know exactly what you’re buying to avoid damaging the pipes in your house.
Luckily for you, I’ve decided to put together an article on the best drain cleaners out there, and if you want to find out more, read on!
A drain cleaner is a cleaning product that comes in gel, powder, or liquid form and is used to unclog and clean drain pipes. It contains strong chemicals which cause a reaction when they come in contact with the dirt, and ultimately clean it all away.
There are three types of drain cleaners: caustic, acid, and oxidizing.
Caustic cleaners are bases that give electrons to the substance which clogged the pipes and release ions which clear the way.
Acid cleaners are usually only sold to plumbers and can’t be found in stores. They contain high concentrations of hydrochloric or sulphuric acid which attract electrons from the dirt in order to clean it.
Oxidizing cleaners main ingredients include bleach, nitrates, and peroxides, which (as the name implies) oxidize the clogging substance and help the water wash it away.
Top 4 Drain Cleaners
1. Thrift MARKETING GIDDS-TY-0400879 Drain Cleaner
If you’re constantly getting troubled by clogged pipes and need to clean them often you need a cleaner that’s both efficient and affordable - the Thrift Marketing Drain Cleaner is it.
It’s designed to handle anything and to do it in less than 60 seconds most of the time. It works quickly, that’s for sure - but it’s not as safe as the company might tell you. You need to get into full gear, gloves, and mask, to use it and it will definitely produce a nasty and toxic smell.
You can use it on most drains without a problem, as well as septic tanks, grease traps and sewer lines. You might need to use it often though since the results don’t last for a long time.
The price is fair but be aware that it’s not as good a deal as it might seem at first. A pack of 2 pounds sounds like a lot, but it levels out to about 4 to 6 uses in total since you need to use a lot of the stuff in one go. Still, it’s a fairly good deal nonetheless, don’t think it will last for
- Works quickly and efficiently
- It doesn’t cost a lot
- Usable on most drains, sewer lines, septic tank and so on
- The results you get with it are not long-term
- Not as safe as advertised
2. Drano Max Clog Remover
Drano is a famous brand in the world of drain cleaners as they’ve always made some of the best products on the market. The one that I’m about to review doesn’t fall behind, so let’s see what it’s all about.
This one is a bit weaker than its predecessors, which makes it safer to use and gives it a broader application. Even though the manufacturer doesn’t point it out, I wouldn’t recommend it for toilet clogs as it might damage the piping.
The cleaner is a bit slower than other products from this line, and this is due to the decreased concentration of acid.
It will clear up literally anything, from small buildups to clogs, so I’d say that you can use it safely for any dirty piping in your home.
- Safe to use
- Suitable for many kinds of piping
- Resolves clogs and buildups
- Not good for toilets
3. XIONLAB Safer Drain Opener
Those concerned about safety should take a look at the Xion Lab drain cleaner. Thanks to some ingenious chemistry, this product is very potent and super safe at the same time. It’s also highly affordable and you get a lot of it in the package.
First off, this is an alkaline cleaner, and it has a whopping pH13. This makes it great for all kinds of dirt including grease, hair, and soap. However, it will not dissolve paper so don’t count on it to solve your toilet clogs.
Second, even though this product can solve clogs, it’s going to take a lot of time and a large dosage for you to get any results. So, in the case of blocked pipes, you should probably go for something harsher.
Last, Xion’s cleaner is odorless, doesn’t release toxic fumes, and is inflammable so you’ll be able to use it without a mask and goggles.
- Extremely safe to use
- Great for removing hair and grease
- It’s highly affordable
- Not so potent in cases of full clogs
- Doesn’t dissolve paper
4. Comstar 30-500 Pure Lye Drain Opener, Odorless, 1 Lb
Last but not least, here is another natural, biodegradable drain opener with a good reputation - Comstar’s Pure Lye cleaner.
The “main weapon” of this product is its 100% lye (sodium hydroxide) content which is fantastic for solving clogs made of organic material. This makes it excellent for toilet clogs above all.
However, be careful as this chemical is quite dangerous and will seriously burn your skin if you touch it. Never use it without gloves and other protective equipment.
Unlike the other products I reviewed today, this one is in granular form which can be a pro or a con depending on what you like. One thing that’s sure is that you should add it very slowly to the pipes as lye releases a lot of heat when it reacts so too much of it could hurt the piping.
- Very easy to apply
- Excellent for toilet clogs
- Dangerous if not used properly
What To Know Before Buying A Drain Cleaner?
Buy The Cleaner For Your Particular Problem
Where do you have problems, in the kitchen or bathroom?
Are the pipes fully clogged or just very dirty and they slow down the drain?
These are the questions that you need to answer before choosing a cleaner. Generally speaking, basic cleaners are commonly used for kitchen sinks, while acidic ones for bathroom problems.
Your best bet is to carefully read the label and buy the one that’s made for your particular pipe problem.
Never use a sink cleaner to clean the toilet and vice versa, because you might damage the pipes and cause yourself a whole array of new problems.
Speed Is Good But Not Always Paramount
A lot of drain cleaners will boast about how quickly they work - and being able to use the sink again in a matter of minutes after using a drain cleaner is certainly a good thing.
However, most lightning-quick drain cleaners won’t produce long-term results and your drain will soon be clogged again. Sometimes it’s worth it to buy a cleaner that needs to a whole night to do the job but solves the issue for good.
Check What It Dissolves
Not all drain cleaners work the same way and some simply won’t be able to dissolve certain substances. Make sure you know what’s blocking your drain and buy a drain cleaner that can stand up to it.
Even though a drain cleaner might be more efficient overall, it’s of no use if it doesn’t dissolve the materials clogging your drains.
Make sure never to use these products without the appropriate safety equipment. You will need:
- A pair of rubber gloves
- Safety goggles
- Face mask
Again, drain cleaners contain chemicals which should not come into direct contact with the skin, nor should they ever be inhaled.
There are drain cleaners out there which are safer than others though and you should always try to find a non-toxic option if it’s available, like those that are alkaline-based.
So, dear readers, we’ve come to the end of yet another article, and before I say goodbye, I need to tell you which product is the winner.
In my opinion, Drano Max Clog Remover (see full specs) takes first place in today’s roundup. I like it because it is very multi-functional, effective, and can be used by anyone regardless of their previous experience.
If other products seem to fit your needs more, then go for them as they’re all top-notch.