Looking for the best drain cleaners? A clogged drain can be a headache, and it can easily lead to thousands of dollars in damage if you don’t catch it right away and you end up with a flooded room. If you have several drains or a large family, clogged drains can be a recurring issue that is very frustrating. The more your drain clogs, the harder it can be to unclog it and keep it in good working order. The best drain cleaner can help you get rid of all blocks, and it’s a great way to clean out your drainage system in general.
This can also save you money because it can prevent you from having to call a plumber because you can unclog the drain yourself. If you’re curious what the top 10 best drain cleaners are, you’re in the right place. I’ll outline them below, and you can use our buying guide to help narrow down the top 10 to the best for your project.
Using the drain cleaner routinely can help you avoid expensive repair bills and it’ll reduce the chances you have to call a plumber to fix your problem.
1. Pequa Drain Opener – Top Pick
If you don’t make a habit of cleaning the debris and hair from your bathtub of shower drain, you’ll most likely end up with clogged pipes sooner or later. When this happens, you want to have a heavy-duty drain cleaner on hand, and this is why this is our top pick. It’ll dissolve pesky clogs and wads of stuck hair to help your drain clear properly. This is a very highly rated product that works on both residential and commercial properties, even if the drain is already badly clogged.
You get a slightly larger 64-ounce bottle that can dissolve a host of different organic matters, including grease and hair. It’s a fast-acting product that is environmentally-friendly and won’t corrode the pipes. It also works on kitchen drains, and it doesn’t have a strong smell associated with it. You can use a sturdy handle with a larger pour top that makes it easy to direct the stream of cleaner right into the drain to avoid spills and splashing, and it has a slightly thicker formula that clings to the side of the drain to help it clean very well in pipes of all sizes.
- Thicker formula
- Works on bathroom and kitchen drains
- Cuts through grease and hair
- Thicker formula
- For commercial and residential use
- Easy to use
- Environmentally-friendly formula
- May need more than one treatment
2. Bio-Clean Drain Septic Bacteria – Step-Up Pick
Anyone who has a septic system in their home should avoid using a harsh chemical-based cleaner to prevent clogs because the chemicals can actually do harm to the plumbing system. So, you want to find a cleaner that is friendly for your septic system, and many of them use live enzymes over chemicals because they last longer and they don’t damage any part of the piping system. It contains natural enzymes and bacteria mixed into the powder formula, and this will slice through the organic waste lining your plumbing system.
This drain cleaner will work well on hair, grease, food particles, soap scum, and much more very effectively and quickly. Because this product doesn’t have an impact on inorganic materials, you can use it on every plumbing system you have, and this includes your septic system. If you use the product as directed on the label over the span of a few days, it will effectively break down any backups or clogs. In turn, this allows your pipes to drain much better each time you use them. You can get a full pound of powder when you purchase this drain cleaner, and it can give you up to 100 drain treatments. It’s environmentally-friendly and safe.
- Works on a huge range of drains
- Contains live bacteria and enzymes
- One pound per order
- Treats drains 100 times
- Breaks down clogs and backups
- Won’t corrode the pipe system
- No harsh chemicals
- Works over a few days
3. Max Gel Drain Clog Cleaner – Mid-End Budget Pick
When you start looking for budget-friendly drain cleaners, Drano most likely doesn’t pop to the top of your list because it has such a reputation for being a solid product that works on kitchen and bathroom drains with ease. It’s a very commonly recognized product that works well for being an all-around product that won’t break your budget. You’ll get a larger 80-ounce bottle with this product when you order it, and you can use it in septic systems, garbage disposals, metal pipes, and PVC.
This drain cleaner comes with a very thick gel-based formula that will slice right through standing water, and this allows it to dissolve any clogs very quickly and easily. It’ll break down soap scum and dissolve hair on contact, even if you have years of buildup to deal with. You can pour it into your showers, bathtubs, and sinks throughout your home and let it go to work quickly and easily. There isn’t a strong scent with it, so it’s easy to let it sit for an hour or two in your drain without worrying about VOC buildup. It’ll also cling to the pipes to get all of the clogs out of your drain.
- Works on different pipe materials
- Thicker gel-based formula
- No VOCs
- Clings to drain walls
- Won’t cause corrosion
- Dissolves years of buildup
- Dissolves hair and grease
- Takes a while to work
4. CLR Clear Pipes & Drains – Bargain Budget Pick
When it comes to drains, prevention is key to stopping huge problems from forming and causing severe damage to your home from water or sewage backup. This drain cleaner makes prevention a snap as long as you use it once every month to stop clogs from forming. It takes less than five minutes a month to use, and it can cause your drains to run very clearly afterwards. All you have to do is pour four tablespoons or two ounces of the product down the drain and let it work overnight before flushing it with clean water. You can also use it for drains that are slow to clear.
This drain cleaner will effortlessly cut through soap scum, oil, conditioner, shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream, hair, and kitchen waste as well as anything that ends up in the drain for daily household use. It’s certified by the EPA’s Safer Choice Program because it has no bleach, ammonia, or phosphates. It’s made in the United States to strict quality control standards, and it can help keep your septic system clean, and your drains clog-free without any nasty side effects.
- EPA certified as safe
- Preventative formula
- Works on all drains, including the septic system
- Less than five minutes to use
- No ammonia or phosphates
- Helps keep the septic system healthy
- Won’t work well on existing clogs
5. Pure Lye Bead Drain Opener – Best For Commercial Use
Although most traditional drain cleaners feature a gel or liquid formula, this one is different because it comes in another form. This product features 99% pure lye beads, and this makes it an industrial-strength cleaner that can tackle the toughest clogs in residential and commercial drains. Each container will give you a pound of product, and the beads will stick to the bottom of the standing water to reach the bottom of the drain and break up a range of clogs, no matter how severe they are.
The formula for this drain cleaner is non-acidic and odorless, and this makes it safe to use on grease traps, plastic pipes, and septic systems without worrying about damaging them. The reviews point out that this drain cleaner will cut through tough drain backups without stalling, and it is a food-grade product with no VOCs. It doesn’t have any dyes, fillers, or water in it either. It’s ideal for soap making, you can choose from 1, 2, or 5-pound containers or a 55 gallon container. It seals securely between use, and you don’t need a lot of cleaner to cut through clogs.
- Industrial-strength product
- Uses lye beads
- Sinks to the bottom of the clog
- No VOCs
- Ideal for soap making
- Food-grade product
- Several sizes available
- Has a learning curve to it
6. Rockwell Invade Bio Drain Gel – Best For Kitchen Drains
If you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen and the sink isn’t draining correctly, this drain cleaner could work well. Not only does it help get rid of clogs, but it also helps get rid of drain flies at the same time. You’ll get one-quart bottles when you order it, and it comes with a pleasant citrus scent that you won’t mind having around your kitchen after you use it. It’s a drain opener that will effectively cut through organic matter and soap scum, and it sticks right to the drain’s wall to help clear out clogs.
This product is also effective at getting rid of drain flies, and they can be very hard to get rid of in the bathroom or kitchen. You can put four-ounces in per drain, and it has microbes in the formula that work even after the product flushes away. It works to eliminate sugar snakes in drip trays, and you can use it in mop buckets, urinals, and trash chutes. You want to carefully pour the formula down into the drain, even if it has a thicker formula that won’t splash or drip when you aim for the drain.
- Slight citrus scent
- Works well in kitchen drains
- Comes in quart bottles
- Works as a drain opener
- Gets rid of drain flies
- Thicker formula
- Works quickly
- Takes a few applications to get rid of drain flies
7. Green Gobbler Clog Remover – Best For Deodorizing Drains
Just like septic tanks, using a heavy-duty drain opener that is laced with chemicals can damage your garbage disposal, pipes, or even your dishwasher. So, you have to be careful with what you pour down it. To effectively remove the clogs from your drain, you’ll want to try this product as it deodorizes too as it works. You get a 32-ounce bottle that has a blend of bacteria that can effectively liquefy and digest grease, food particles, oils, and fats quickly and effectively.
You’ll get a thicker formula with this drain cleaner, and it will stick to the sides of the pipes and the blades of the garbage disposal to clean and deodorize them. The product is also septic-friendly, and you get a light orange scent that leaves your drains smelling fresh and nice. It can effectively dissolve hair, grease, paper, and soap from your drains, and it works to help the water flow freely through the pipes. It’ll start working within minutes of the initial application, and you can pour it down your tub, shower, sink, or even toilet drains and pipes to help clean them out. The thicker formula won’t splash back up at you when you pour it in, and it’ll sink to the clog to clear it.
- 32-ounce bottle
- Light orange scent
- Thicker gel-based formula
- Dissolve paper, grease, hair, and more
- Helps water flow freely
- Stars working in minutes
- Easy to apply
- Doesn’t work well with a sink stopper
8. Instant Power Commercial Drain Cleaner – Best For Commercial-Grade Use
Built-up grease and hair can create very hard drain clogs, so it makes sense that you’ll need a heavy-duty drain opener to help clear out these backups. This is what you get with this commercial-grade product, and it has hundreds of excellent reviews that claim it’s easy to use while being extremely effective and reliable on tough clogs. It comes in a 68-ounce bottle when you order it, and the formula will help melt grease right out of the pipes while dissolving hair at the same time.
You can safely and effectively use this drain cleaner on all types of pipes, and it works on septic systems without damage too. If you make a point to use it correctly, it will reduce the overall oil, fat, and grease buildup in your pipes before large clogs appear. It can reduce grease trap plumbing and take care of any lingering odors around your drain. You can use it in restroom and kitchen drains, as well as grease traps in both residential and commercial setups. You get eight choices when you order it, including one with a lemon scent. The full gallon will allow you to use it over and over again without running out.
- Lemon scent available
- Heavy-duty drain opener
- Commercial-grade formula
- Dissolves grease, oil, and hair
- Several choices available when you buy it
- For commercial or residential use
- Very effective formula
- Can have a strong smell
9. Thrift Odorless Drain Cleaner – Best For Fast-Acting
Thrift’s drain cleaner is an impressive product that can work on slow-flowing drains in as little as 60-seconds after the initial application. You will need to run hot water at first to warm up the pipes before you add the crystals to dissolve and activate them. You allow it to sit for 60-seconds before flushing it down the drain. You can also leave it sitting in the drain overnight to work on grease traps and break down very stubborn clogs. This is a very strong chemical-based cleaner, so you do have to be very careful when you use it. You also can’t use it in toilets or garbage disposals without risking damaging them.
This is an odorless four-in-one drain cleaner that won’t cause any damage to chrome, porcelain, metla, or plastic pipes. It also works on fiberglass and acrylic because it has a non-acid formula. There is a very high percentage of sodium hydroxide in the formula that won’t harm plumbing snakes. It is made in the United States to strict quality control standards, and it’s available in four sizes to suit your needs.
- Works in as little as 60-seconds
- Four-in-one product
- Works on acrylic and fiberglass
- Can use on grease traps
- Quick to apply and use
- Made in the United States
- Can’t use on garbage disposals or toilets
10. Xion Lab Drain Clog Remover – Best For
The final drain cleaner on the list is septic safe, and it works on grease or hair clogs very well. You get a balance between caustic and acidic cleaners with mild enzymatic cleaners mixed in, and it’s a gel that slowly sinks through standing water to clear out mild clogs in two hours or less. For tough clogs, you will have to let it sit overnight for the best results. The cleaner works to attack clogs at the room, and it’ll open up drains without generating any toxic gasses. It’ll work on hair, lint, soap scum, grease, oils, and fats without a problem.
This is an effective but odorless drain cleaner, and it’s non-flammable. You’ll get a biodegradable formula that won’t harm the environment, and it doesn’t have a burning, sharp smell associated with it. The container also uses recycled plastic, and this lowers the product’s eco-footprint even more. It’s a non-corrosive agent that won’t damage your pipes when you pour it down, and it has a Terracare Seal that meets environmental safety standards. It’s made in the United States by a family-owned business that has strict quality control standards to each batch.
- Works in a few minutes
- Gel-based formula
- Odorless but effective
- Container has recycled plastic
- Non-corrosive agent
- Made by a family-owned business
- Can take overnight to work
Best Drain Cleaner – Buyer’s Guide
The best drain cleaner will keep your entire drainage and septic system in top shape for years, and you won’t have as many issues with it.
When it comes to trying to pick out the best drain cleaner, there are a few factors that you have to consider before you settle on one specific product with the different types of drain cleaners. Doing so will help you narrow down your choices to prevent your drainage system from backing up in your yard and causing your home insurance premium to skyrocket.
- Drain Cleaner Type – Do you want to mix your drain cleaner or do you want it to come pre-mixed and ready to go? Always take a look at the instructions before you buy the drain cleaner to ensure you don’t pick a product you have trouble using. If you do, it won’t be as effective and it could cause damage to your pipes.
- Blockage Type – The types of blockages you usually have at your home or business play a pivotal role in what drain cleaner to get. If you get more stubborn blockages, you’ll need a thicker formula to break it down. Test this by pouring a bit of hot water down the drain. If it sits, you need something stronger. If it doesn’t, you can get away with granulas or a thinner drain cleaner.
- Maintenance – How much do you maintain your drainage system? This matters because it dictates how severe your clogs can be. If you perform monthly maintenance, you most likely won’t have a lot of issues. However, if you’ve skipped your maintenance, you may need a more powerful product to pick up your slack. The clogs can be larger and more stubborn to remove.
- Budget – Your budget will play a role in the drain cleaner you choose, but it is usually beneficial to spend more upfront for a quality product. If you don’t, you could find yourself spending more money on cheaper products because the first one doesn’t work as well as you hoped it would.
- House Size – How big is you home or business and around how many people use your drainage system? The more people and the larger it is, the more they use it. In turn, you can get more frequent and larger clogs that will need a stronger product to break them down.
- Septic System – Your septic tank and pipes need maintenance and are prone to clogs and breaking down just like your other drains. You should get a product that is safe to use on your septic system as well as your drains.
- Pipe Type – Some of the best drain cleaners are too caustic for PVC or aluminum pipes. Double-check and see which types of pipes you have in your home and make sure your drain cleaner is safe to use with them. If it’s not, it can cause damage.
Drain cleaner can help extend the life of your drainage system, but there are considerations you want to keep in mind when you shop for the best drain cleaners.
How to Use the Drain Cleaner Safely
Drain cleaner can be very caustic, and this means that it can very easily burn your skin or cause issues if you get it into your eyes. This is why you want to thoroughly read all of the instructions on your product before you attempt to use it. This is where you’ll see the safety precautions. You have to follow these warnings to ensure you don’t have an accident when you use your drain cleaner. It’ll also improve the best drain cleaner’s effectiveness.
Depending on the type of drain cleaner you get, you may have to wear safety glasses or goggles, gloves, and a face mask. Others require you to be in a well-ventilated area because it can produce fumes when the cleaner combines with water. Also, it may have to sit for a specific number of minutes to be the most effective, and all of this will be on the bottle. It varies from cleaner to cleaner.
Along with everything we mentioned above on the best drain cleaners, there are several other things you want to consider when you shop for a drain cleaner. Using these considerations will help you narrow down your choices. They include but are not limited to:
How much time do you have to sit and wait for your product to work? Maybe you want to really clean your windows and screens in the bathtub, but you only have a few hours. If so, you need a drain cleaner that works quicker than others. Take a look at the recommended time limit on your drain cleaner. Some are a few minutes, but others can have a recommended time of overnight.
Think about how long you can leave your drain cleaner sit in your sink or tub before you need to use it because this will influence which product you buy.
Natural products that contain non-toxic ingredients usually have fewer fumes than drain cleaners with a heavy chemical content. These chemicals can produce fumes when you mix them to get the product to work or introduce water to them. These fumes can be dangerous to breathe in, so you want to make sure you have great ventilation when you use them. You also may want to use a face mask.
Types of Drain Cleaners
Do you want a gel drain cleaner (eg. Drano Max Gel Clog Remover), liquid drain cleaner, or granular drain cleaner? Gel drain cleaners are nice for stubborn clogs because they sink below the water and get to the clog if you have standing water. Liquid and granular work well on less stubborn clogs, and all three can take different times to work. Consider the amount of maintenance you usually perform on your pipes when you choose a form.
As long as you upkeep your drainage systems, you shouldn’t have any problems finding an effective drain cleaner to keep the water flowing through at top speed.
Figuring out the best drain cleaners is different for everyone because everyone’s needs and situation is very different. We’ve picked out 10 high-quality options that are safe to use for you to compare the best drain cleaners, and you can use our short buying guide to decide which one will help you tackle your clogs and improve the life of your septic and drainage systems.
Ashley is a seasoned horticulturist with a passion for all things green. She has a Master Gardener Certificate and cultivated her expertise through over 10 years of hands-on experience in a thriving greenhouse environment. Her green thumb extends beyond work hours, as she relishes the joy of nurturing her own vibrant garden oasis. Inspired by the bountiful harvest, Ashley delights in canning the fruits of her labor and using homegrown herbs to elevate her culinary creations. Alongside her botanical endeavors, she eagerly tackles various DIY projects around the house, combining her creativity and practical skills to transform spaces into havens of beauty and functionality.