Drain Cleaner

The Best Plumbing Liquids Reviewed and Buying Guide



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    You’re probably familiar with at least a couple of different brands of plumbing liquid, but instead of buying a bottle and hoping that it will do the job for you, we’ve put together this buying guide to take a look at the most popular products on the market for you.

    In this guide, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of each product and provide you with some general information about the best plumbing liquid. It may take a long time to build up all that gunk that’s plugging your drains, but with the right liquid, you should be able to solve the problem in minutes.


    Best Plumbing Liquids – Buying Guide



    1. Drano Max Gel

    The great advantage of a cleaner that uses a gel base is that these types of chemicals are much thicker than water allowing them to penetrate your pipes quickly to reach the source of the clog.

    Drano Max Gel is perhaps the most popular example of this type of product and it’s known to be highly effective. It removes years of build-up including hair, soap scum, and any other residue that may have found its way into your pipes.

    The great thing about this product is that it’s entirely safe to be used around plastics and septic systems. This plumbing liquid has overwhelmingly positive reviews, but it has received some complaints about its relatively hefty price tag.

    Drano Max Gel Clog Remover 32 oz (Pack of 2)
    • Drano Max Gel Clog Remover is the #1 Selling Gel Drain Cleaner*
    • Gets to work in as quick as 7 minutes
    • Pours through standing water straight to the clog
    • Safe for garbage disposals, bathroom, kitchen and other drains like...
    • Can leave in drains overnight

    2. Pure Lye Drain Opener

    One of the biggest concerns people I know have with using a drain cleaner is concern about the impact it may have on the environment. That’s why Pure Lye Drain Opener is a great option. This powerful cleaner is completely biodegradable and 100 % safe for the environment. It handles traditional clogs with ease and it’s even capable of dissolving root growth in your sewer lines.

    Another unique feature of this product is that it will encourage the growth of certain bacteria in traps and tanks that also naturally attacks clogs. There are a few customers that have claimed to have mixed results with this product, but it’s important to keep in mind that this won’t clear drains automatically – the process takes up to 24 hours.

    Pure Lye Drain Opener, 1 Lb 2-Pack
    • Industrial strength, biodegradable, clears out drains, grease traps,...
    • Odorless non-acid formula is safe on fine fixtures, chrome trim and...
    • Super pure, bead size drain opener
    • Drain openers size=1 lb.

    3. Pro Strength Liquid-Plumr

    There aren’t too many people that have never heard the name Liquid-Plumr before so it’s probably no surprise to anyone that we’ve included their pro strength formula on this list. This liquid drain cleaner packs a double punch with a hypochlorite formula designed to push through the water quickly and a viscoelastic formula that will grab a hold of the clog and start to work on dissolving it.

    It’s a powerful combination that’s been serving consumers well for many years. This product is fairly reasonably priced and comes in many different sizes. For such a popular product it does have some mixed reviews and while most agree that it does work, it doesn’t seem to work as well as it could.

    Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength Full Clog Destroyer Plus PipeGuard, Liquid...
    • DESTROYS CLOGS: Liquid-Plumr drain clog remover destroys clogs to...
    • WORKS ON MULTIPLE CLOG TYPES: This liquid drain cleaner tackles the...
    • SAFE ON ALL PIPES: Made with Pipeguard, this Liquid-Plumr drain opener...
    • PREVENTS CLOGS: When used monthly, Liquid-Plumr drain cleaner prevents...
    • DRAIN ODOR ELIMINATOR: Pro-Strength gel clog remover is a drain...

    4. Safer Drain Opener by Xion Lab

    Drain clogs can be extremely stubborn at times and after trying a couple of other traditional liquid cleaners without a lot of success you may want to give Safer Drain Opener by Xion Lab a try. This powerful industrial-strength cleaner takes care of pretty much anything that might find its way down your drain. It doesn’t matter whether its hair, soap scum, oil build-up, grease, or just a little bit of lint – this cleaner will take care of it.

    One of the main keys to its successful formula is a high PH level, but it’s still completely safe if you splash a little bit on your skin and it’s fully biodegradable. Most agree that it does a good job of minor clogs, but there are some complaints about its effectiveness on the tough ones.

    XionLab Safer, Greener Drain Clog Remover – Industrial-Strength...
    • 👉 AVOID OTHER SINK DRAIN CLEANER S THAT promise results and flat...
    • 🇺🇸 AT XION LAB, WE DON’T SPEND our money, time or energy...

    5. SC Johnson Max Gel Clog Remover

    If there’s a sleeper in the plumbing liquid cleaner category it has to be SC Johnson's Max Gel Clog Remover. As a gel-based cleaner, it’s thick enough to break through most clogs and it does exactly that without much trouble. It’s also specially formulated to protect your pipes from corrosion while it works – no matter what type of material they’re made out of.

    You can leave it to do its magic in your drain overnight and almost every time you’ll come back to find a clog-free drain in the morning. This is an environmentally friendly product and one of the few options out there without any real detractors.

    Drano Max Gel Clog Remover, Commercial Line, 128 oz
    • Drano Max Gel Clog Remover is the #1 Selling Gel Drain Cleaner*
    • Gets to work in as quick as 7 minutes
    • Pours through standing water straight to the clog
    • Safe for garbage disposals, bathroom, kitchen and other drains like...
    • Can leave in drains overnight

    6. Black Swan Liquid Drain Opener

    Typically when we think of swans we think of graceful creatures that glide through the water with ease and that may be where Black Swan Liquid Drain Opener got its name. This is a cleaner designed to work through a clog without harming pipes or septic tanks and it will completely dissolve on its own over time.

    Having said all that it does not have a good reputation for being one of the most effective cleaners on the market today and there are better options in the same price range.

    7. Liquid Glug Drain Cleaner Opener

    If there was a prize handed out for the coolest name in the liquid drain cleaner market then would certainly be in the running. This isn’t just a cleaner with an interesting name though – it’s formulated to attack clogs quite effectively. This product is perfect for most household clogs and will do a pretty decent job in an industrial setting as well.

    The producer of this product also recommends it as a good preventative cleaner – the idea is that if you pour a little bit of this down your drains every few weeks you can prevent clogs from happening in the first place.

    8. Earthworm Family Safe Drain Cleaner

    Earthworms are highly efficient little creatures that are very food at working their way through dirt and cleaning drains. It seems fairly appropriate then that a chemical company would develop a drain cleaner called Earthworm Family Safe Drain Cleaner that’s also quite good at cutting through dirt, as well as hair, soap scum, and a whole host of other things that might be clogging your drain.

    This isn’t known to be one of the most powerful cleaning options on the market, but it is one of the most affordable so if you’re looking to save a bit of money it might be worth a closer look.

    Earthworm Drain Cleaner - Clog Remover - Drain Opener / Deodorizer -...
    • Great For All Slow Running Drains,Sinks, Garbage Disposals-Safe and...
    • Liquid Drain Cleaner/Opener, No harsh chemical residues; safer for...
    • Citrus & sage fragrance, keeping your drains smelling fresh.
    • Removes build-up and helps stop clogs before they start.
    • Natural enzymes won't damage plumbing.

    9. Plumb Clear Drain Cleaner & Septic Tank Treatment

    One of the best clues as to how effective a drain cleaner can be is how popular it is among consumers and Plumb Clear Drain Cleaner passes that test with flying colors. There’s a good reason for its popularity though and that’s because it does work as advertised.

    It’s not only great for drains it will also do a great job of breaking up the sludge in a septic tank as well. It uses a special formula with natural enzymes that effectively break down clogs so that you can enjoy a nice refreshing shower without standing in an inch or two of water.

    Drain Cleaner & Septic Tank Treatment - 1 Year Supply - Great Drain...
    • PLUMBER RECOMMENDED - They say "Use regularly to maintain clean drains...
    • SAVE ON REPAIRS - You can avoid those plumber bills for drain rooter...
    • STOPS ODORS - No more sewer smells from waste buildup in pipes.

    10. Roebic PDO Pro Drain Opener

    One other drain cleaning option for the bargain hunters is Roebic PDO Pro Drain Opener. This product is probably not a household name, but it will save you quite a bit of money compared to the leading cleaners don the market. It’s designed to dissolve every type of clog you can think of including grease, hair, and even some wayward food that may have found its way down your drain.

    This product doesn’t have the most powerful formula on the market so it’s probably best used as a preventative cleaner before your drains become clogged in the first place. If you’re dealing with a pretty significant clog already it’s probably best to pay a little extra for a more powerful cleaner.

    Roebic Professional Strength Drain Opener Liquid, Dissolves Grease,...
    • OPENS TOUGH CLOGS: Roebic Professional Strength Drain Opener dissolves...
    • FOR HOME USE: Safe for plumbing fixtures and plastic pipes; Not for...
    • HEAVY DUTY CLEANER: The professional strength formula can effectively...
    • ABOUT ROEBIC: For over 60 years, Roebic Laboratories, Inc. has...

    Is Gel Better?

    There are plenty of different drain cleaner formulations and depending on who you talk to there’s something to be said for each different kind. Some people like your traditional liquid cleaners, but others don’t think they’re effective enough. Some cleaners foam up once they’re introduced to the water in your pipes and these can be highly effective at dissolving clogs.

    However, we believe gel-based cleaners are the best on the market these days. The gel is heavier than water so it can easily penetrate deep into your pipes and get to the route of the problem.

    Is a Snake Better?

    When it comes to heavy-duty blockages any kind of chemical cleaner is going to struggle in attacking the problem. They may make some minor difference, but probably not enough to satisfy you as the homeowner. In these circumstances you have a couple of choices – you can call a plumber or you can purchase your plumbing snake and have a go at cleaning the clog yourself manually.

    I would recommend having your plumbing snake in the home for emergencies. Even if you don’t consider yourself a handyman or woman these tools are relatively easy to use and don’t require any kind of mechanical knowledge.

    Can Drain Cleaners Handle any Clog?

    My father is convinced that liquid drain cleaner is the answer to just about any type of plumbing problem no matter how big or how small. If the drain cleaner doesn’t remove the clog on the first try he just tries again. More often than not this method doesn’t work for him and he ends up calling me for advice.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big supporter of drain cleaners as a way to deal with minor clogs most quickly and affordably, but they can’t handle the bigger clogs – no matter what the brand. Sometimes you get more hands-on with a drain snake or a manual drain auger, or if it’s just too much, hire an expert.

    Are Drain Cleaners Safe?

    One question I get asked a lot is are drain cleaners safe? The simple answer is yes when they’re used with the proper precautions and respect that they deserve. These are chemicals after all so they can result in serious injury if not used as recommended. I

    t’s a good idea to wear gloves, safety goggles, and a mask when working with any chemicals. This may seem like overkill, but for the few seconds it takes you to put on this personal protective equipment why take the risk? Also, remember to keep your drain cleaner stored in a safe place out of the reach of curious young children.

    Don’t Mix Chemicals

    We all know someone with a horror story relating to a mishap with chemicals. These things normally happened because they weren’t being used in the manner intended. If you’ve bought a liquid drain cleaner and used it on a clog with no effect don’t run out and buy another cleaner to try – chances are that one will fail you as well.

    The clog is probably too big to break up with a cleaner so you’ll need to call in some professional help. Mixing multiple different chemicals is not only likely to be ineffective it can be dangerous as well. You can create a backup of chemicals that results in toxic fumes being released into your home.

    Environmental Considerations

    When you’re shopping for a liquid drain cleaner you should always look for one that specifies that it is biodegradable on the label. Remember, these are chemicals you’re releasing into the water supply and sewage system so you want to use something that’s not going to cause any lasting harm. Fortunately, there are many environmentally friendly options on the market today.

    Preventative Maintenance

    It’s human nature to wait until a problem becomes an issue before addressing it. That’s the case when it comes to clogged drains.

    Instead of waiting for your drain to become clogged why not be proactive and institute a preventative maintenance program for your home? A way to do this is by pouring a little bit of liquid drain cleaner into your drains every month or two to prevent build-ups from happening in the first place.

    The Right Cleaner

    There are some great options in this article if you’re looking for an effective liquid cleaner. We believe the gel-based ones are the most effective, but there are some other great choices. Remember to choose one that is biodegradable and safe for you specific pipe material though – that way you can have clear pipes and a clear conscience!

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