The 10 Best Drain Cleaners of 2022 for Every Clogged Sink in Your Home

Clogged sinks and drains are frustrating and gross, so we found the best drain cleaner for every situation, including our best overall, Drano Max Gel Drain Clog Remover.

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Best Drain Cleaners

Amazon

The frustration—and gross factor—of a clogged or slow drain really can’t be overstated. Whether standing in soapy water while showering or dealing with greasy water sitting in the kitchen sink, clogged drains can be frustrating and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are many products on the market, from tried-and-true formulas to new innovations, that can clear out a clog without a pricey plumber visit. 

Our best overall pick for a drain cleaner, Drano Max Gel Drain Clog Remover, is a simple and effective solution for many run-of-the-mill clogged drains, like hair in the shower or food in the sink. We also love FlexiSnake Drain Weasel Sink Snake Cleaner to physically remove hair and other sink-clogging debris.

These are the best drain cleaners for every clogged drain or pipe in your home.

Best Overall: Drano Max Gel Drain Clog Remover

Drain Clog Remover

Drano

Why You Should Get It: It’s effective for almost every clogging issue.

Keep in Mind: Some tough clogs may require a second application.

If you don’t have a bottle of this stashed under your sink already, consider this a major PSA: This gel-based drain cleaner will clear clogs in nearly any drain in your house. In just 15 minutes, our pick for the best drain cleaner, Drano Max Gel, will clear up clogs in sinks, tubs, PVC, septic tanks, and garbage disposals. 

It’s safe for piping and septic systems, with a thick gel that sinks into standing water to the source of the clog. The drain cleaner helps dissolve hair, melt soap scum and grease, and eliminates other messy clogs.

When you have a clogged drain, just pour this cleaner into the drain, wait 15–30 minutes, and run hot water to clear any further gunk out. Be sure to pour carefully, and rinse immediately if you get any on your hands. If the first pass doesn’t work, wait a few hours and follow the steps again. 

We picked this as our best overall drain cleaner because it works in almost every situation, it’s widely available, and Drano also offers a money-back guarantee if this product doesn’t work. 

Price at time of publish: $8

Product Details:

  • Form: Gel 
  • Weight: 80 ounces
  • Time Needed to Use: 15 to 30 minutes

Best for Sinks: XIONLAB Safer Drain Opener Clog Remover

XIONLAB Safer Drain Opener Clog Remover

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: It’s safe for septic tanks and helps break down lint, soap scum, and hair.

Keep in Mind: This drain cleaner takes two hours to unclog drains.

Safe for septic systems, odorless, and biodegradable, the Xion Labs Greener Drain Clog Remover is our pick for best drain cleaner for sinks because it’s powerful enough to tackle tough clogs. The heavy gel formula sinks through water to fight any obstruction at its root. 

To use, just pour half a bottle into the clogged drain slowly, then leave it alone for two hours. With an odorless formula, you won’t have a kitchen or bathroom that smells like chemicals. After two hours have passed, pour boiling water down the drain, which should now be cleared of the clog. For bigger obstructions, let the formula sit overnight. 

We love this for sinks because it’s odorless, and the safe-on-pipes formula of Xion Labs drain cleaner won’t damage garbage disposals, pipes, or even septic systems. Since it’s designed to liquify fats, oils, lint, paper, hair, and other organic matter—common sink-clogging culprits—it’s the best drain cleaner for your sink.

Price at time of publish: $20

Product Details:

  • Form: Gel
  • Weight: 32 ounces
  • Time Needed to Use: Two hours

Best for Showers: Vastar 4 Pack Drain Snake

Vastar 4 Pack Drain Snake

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: It can reach and grab clumps of hair or food.

Keep in Mind: You may have to remove the drain stopper to use this drain snake.

We love a drain snake for a chemical-free option for cleaning out drains, and the Vastar Drain Snake is our pick for best drain cleaner for the shower. Instead of pouring a chemical down your drain, this tool reaches deep in the drain pipes and mechanically removes clogs. 

This plastic drain snake is 19.6 inches long and is covered in barbs designed to grab hair, the biggest clogging offender in the shower. To use, just feed gently into your shower drain (you may need to remove the drain cap) and push it in until you hit the obstruction. The Vastar is constructed to flex around curves and go deep into your pipes. When you find the obstruction, either break it up or pull it out, and you should be all set. 

Be warned: Whatever you pull out of your shower drain may have a foul-smelling odor.

Price at time of publish: $6

Product Details: 

  • Form: Plastic drain snake
  • Weight: 0.05 lbs
  • Time Needed to Use: A few minutes

Best Single Use: Green Gobbler Drain Opening Pacs

Green Gobbler Drain Opening Pacs

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: The packs are pre-measured, so you don’t have to figure out how much to pour.

Keep in Mind: It isn’t odorless and has a lemon scent.

If you’re dealing with occasional clogs, keep a box of these Green Gobbler single packs handy. Each package has three pre-measured, ready-to-use powder packets. To use, you simply sprinkle the powder down the drain, add water, and wait. There’s no need to measure, and you don’t have to worry about storing a hefty bottle of drain cleaner.

The drain cleaning kit also comes with five “grabber tools,” which are bright green, flexible tools you can use to physically dislodge any tougher clogs. As with many drain cleaners, for really tough clogs allow the powder to sit overnight to liquify any debris in your pipes. 

These packs are odorless, so you don’t have to worry about a heavy smell in the air. They work for bathroom and kitchen sinks, tubs, showers, toilets, and floor drains. Green Goblin packs are also a great choice to keep in an RV or vacation home in case of a clogging emergency. 

Price at time of publish: $17

Product Details:

  • Form: Powder pack
  • Weight: 0.5 lbs (for the box)
  • Time Needed to Use: 15 to 30 minutes

Best Gel: Rockwell Invade Bio Drain Gel

Rockwell Invade Bio Drain Gel

Walmart

Why You Should Get It: It can help tackle more unusual clogs, like sugar or flies.

Keep in Mind: You have to pour it down your drain every other day for a week.

This hardworking gel promises to cut through soap scum, gunk, and other organic matter to clear out tough clogs. Our pick for best gel drain cleaner, Rockwell Invade, is a little pricier than some of our picks, but the 32-ounce bottle is good for eight uses, which brings the price per use down quite a lot. 

The cleaner has a slight citrus scent from the natural oil in the formula, which works with the gel formula to stick to the sides of drains and pipes to prevent and neutralize clogs. 

Beyond just clearing out clogs, the product can also eliminate drain flies, which can be tough to get rid of in the kitchen or bathroom, as the flies lay eggs in the debris in drains. Rockwell clears the clogs, and the citrus oil kills flies in the process. The cleaner can also be used for soda fountain drip trays to unclog sugar clogs. This gel cleaner is safe for septic systems and promises to be easy on your pipes while clearing out clogs (and flies!).

To use, pour along the sides of the drain, using about 4 ounces of liquid for a 4-inch drain. Repeat every other day for a week, then use once a week or as needed. There’s no need to rinse with water after pouring the cleaner down the drain. 

Price at time of publish: $21

Product Details:

  • Form: Gel
  • Weight: 32 ounces
  • Time Needed to Use: A few minutes, three to four times per week initially

Best Preventative: CLR Clear Pipes and Drains

CLR Clear Pipes and Drains

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This EPA-certified cleaner helps prevent clogs.

Keep in Mind: It’s not intended to be used to clear existing clogs.

The best way to fight clogged sinks and drains is to stop them from forming in the first place. Our pick for best preventative solution, CLR Clear Pipes and Drains makes it easy to keep your pipes clear with a simple, once-a-month treatment. 

To use, simply pour 3 ounces of the fragrance-free liquid down your drain once a month, and leave it overnight to work. In the morning, just rinse your sink, tub, or shower with clean water. We love this preventative cleaner for shower maintenance, especially when multiple people with longer hair use the same shower and often find themselves standing in an inch of water while showering. 

While this product can (and should) be used on slow drains, it will not clear out a completely clogged drain, as it is a preventative formula. The brand promises it is safe for people, pets, garbage disposals, and septic systems, and it has been designated a “safer choice” by the EPA. 

Price at time of publish: $10

Product Details:

  • Form: Liquid
  • Weight: 42 ounces
  • Time Needed to Use: 5 minutes

Best for Garbage Disposal: Bio-Clean Drain Septic Bacteria

Bio-Clean Drain Septic Bacteria

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: It’s an environmentally friendly solution for cleaning your garbage disposal. 

Keep in Mind: It’s more expensive than other options.

While many of the products on this list claim to be safe for garbage disposals, we like Bio-Clean for its combination of naturally-occurring bacteria and enzymes to digest organic waste such as hair, grease, soap scum, paper, food particles, and more.

Enzymatic cleaners work more slowly and gently than chemical-based cleaners, so you’ll want to use this overnight. Using natural bacteria and enzymes, enzymatic cleaners are formulated to digest dead organic waste found in your plumbing system. This product will basically eat all of the debris caught in your disposal, leaving you with a fresh-smelling sink and kitchen.

The powdered product comes in a large canister. To use in your garbage disposal, mix 1 tablespoon of powder with 1 pint of water. Quickly pour it down the drain with the disposal on to allow the product to disperse on the sides of the drain, and then turn the disposal off. The environmentally safe cleaner has enough product for 100 drain treatments. It works best on slow-flowing drains or as a monthly maintenance product for keeping your garbage disposal clear

Price at time of publish: $50

Product Details:

  • Form: Powder
  • Weight: 1 pound (canister)
  • Time Needed to Use: Overnight

Best for Washing Machines: Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner

Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: It cleans your washing machine’s pump, valve, tub, drum, agitator, filter, and hose.

Keep in Mind: The cleaner has a citrus scent.

Drain backups in washing machines can happen, and it’s not recommended to just pour in any drain cleaner. Our pick for best drain cleaner for washing machines is the Affresh washing machine cleaner, which has EPA Safer Choice-certified ingredients.

The powder time-release tablets not only run through the machine’s hose, but they also clean the pump, valves, tub, drum, and filter. Affresh will work for top- and front-loading washers, including high efficiency. To clean your washing machine, add one tablet to your empty machine and run a normal hot water cycle. Directions vary minimally between types of washers, so read carefully. 

The cleaner tablets work by foaming up in water and using surfactant chemistry to break up odor-causing residue and grime. The product does have a citrus scent, so if you’re not a fan of odors or have certain allergies, this might not be the right cleaner for you. To get the most of this product and your washing machine, use a tablet once per month.

Price at time of publish: $9

Product Details:

  • Form: Powder tablets
  • Weight: 40 grams per tablet
  • Time Needed to Use: The length of a normal wash cycle

Best for Grease: Instant Power Main Line Cleaner

Instant Power 128 oz. Main Line Cleaner

Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: The odorless formula works overnight to break down grease.

Keep in Mind: The gallon-sized container is intended for a single use.

Grease is one of the top kitchen sink cloggers, and while it’s best to keep as much grease out of your sink as possible, sometimes grease buildup happens. The Instant Power Hair and Grease Drain Opener is the best drain cleaner for grease since an easy-to-use product that's reliable and effective on grease and other clogs in your home.

Our best drain cleaner for grease has a special non-acid formula that works to break down solid materials and allow water to flow freely once again. It’s also odorless and fumeless, so you don’t have to worry about a chemical-heavy smell when you use it.

This drain cleaner can be poured through main sewer lines, as well as interior lateral and vertical lines and is safe for all septic systems and pipes. For the best results, pour the whole bottle down your sink and allow it to sit overnight. The formula will dissolve grease and other solid materials so your water can flow freely again. After eight hours, flush the drain with hot water for five minutes. 

Price at time of publish: $14

Product Details:

  • Form: Liquid
  • Weight: 128 ounces
  • Time Needed to Use: Overnight

Best for Hair: FlexiSnake Drain Weasel Sink Snake Cleaner

FlexiSnake Drain Weasel Sink Snake Cleaner

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: If chemical cleaners aren’t working, this tool can physically dislodge debris. 

Keep in Mind: This type of cleaner can require some elbow grease and concentration.

Hair is one of the top causes of bathroom clogs. Whether in the shower or sink, many of us shed enough hair to eventually cause a drainage issue. The best way to get stubborn hair clogs out is often physical removal, and this kit has all the tools you need to get it done.

With 360-degree rotation and a length of 18 inches, this drain cleaner reaches deep into your pipes to break up or retrieve clogs caused by hair without any damage to your drain. This tool's thin and flexible material allows it to get through curves in pipes to get hair from the hardest to reach places. 

It comes with a reusable plastic handle and five drain snakes, with a brush-like material on the ends of the snakes. Just feed it down your clogged pipes, and the micro-hook tip will grab hair, debris, and gunk. Pull out the debris and throw the gunk and the wand away in a trash can. Because it is simple and efficient to use, it’s the best drain cleaner for drains clogged by hair.

Price at time of publish: $20

Product Details:

  • Form: Plastic handle, plus five refill wands
  • Weight: 2.8 ounces
  • Time Needed to Use: Minutes, depending on your skill at pulling hair out

The Bottom Line

Clogged sinks and drains are frustrating and gross, and our pick for best drain cleaner, Drano Max Gel Drain Clog Remover, will clear out the gunk quickly and easily. If you’re looking for a preventative solution, CLR Clear Pipes and Drains will keep pipes clear with a monthly dose down the drain.

What to Know About Drain Cleaners Before Shopping

Form

Drain cleaners come in many forms, including pourable cleansers to tools that are fed into drains. The two types of liquid cleansers you’ll see the most while shopping are chemical-based and enzymatic. 

Chemical-based drain cleaners work the fastest, but also have the potential to cause more damage. Depending on the type of pipes you have in your home, damage can occur when using chemicals. PVC pipes can warp or soften from heat generated by chemical use. For metal pipes, excessive use can cause pipes to corrode and, in extreme cases, cause holes to develop.

Enzymatic cleaners will clear clogs more slowly and are usually less harmful to your plumbing. The bacterial enzymes in the cleaner slowly break down natural blockages, like hair and food, but might not be strong enough to dissolve a complete blockage.

For other blockages, a physical cleaner—a long flexible tool—may be needed to dislodge clogs.

Given the damage that drain cleaners can clog, it’s important to integrate preventative clogging practices into your cleaning routine after removing a clog, so you don’t have to regularly rely on chemical drain cleaners.

Weight

This varies depending on the type of cleaner and what it’s being used for. Some cleaners suggest pouring the entire bottle on a clog,Other bottles or tablets are meant for repeat use. When shopping, consider if you have a one time only clog or if you’re dealing with ongoing issues. 

Time Needed to Use

When shopping for a drain cleaner, consider if you need something unclogged quickly or if it’s not a pressing issue. Many chemical cleaners work fairly quickly, while others may take eight hours or a few applications to unclog drains.

Your Questions, Answered

Is drain cleaner safe for pipes?

For this, Kevin Busch, vice president of operations for Mr. Handyman, strongly suggests taking a proactive approach, telling us to stay ahead of clogs and use cleaners as directed. 

“Drain cleaner products vary but can be corrosive and have the potential to cause damage to your plumbing system (even metal pipes) if not used properly,” Busch says. “Your best bet is to never use drain cleaners but instead maintain your pipes to prevent clogs in the first place.”

If a drain cleaner is necessary, make sure to start integrating preventative clog maintenance into your routine after clearing the blocked drain.

Can you use a drain cleaner for a dishwasher?

Using a drain cleaner in the dishwasher is not ideal, according to Busch; however, he offers a great tip. 

“The dishwasher's drain hose and/or other components could be harmed by drain cleaners, which could result in leaks and other mechanical issues,” he says. “Sometimes simply running the garbage disposal might fix dishwasher draining problems. However, the problem is usually bigger than that and should be handled with care. It is recommended to call a professional to drain your clogged dishwasher.”

How often should you use a drain cleaner?

Busch again emphasizes the key to clearing out a clog with a drain cleaner is to follow the directions exactly if you don’t want to damage your pipes. 

“Since drain cleaners have the potential to cause damage, you want to be sure you follow manufacturers recommended instructions and never overuse a drain cleaner product,” he explains. “If after following the manufacturer’s recommendations your drain is still clogged, it is best to contact a professional to assess your situation.”

Who We Are

Tanya Edwards is an award-winning writer and editor with bylines at Better Homes & Gardens and other publications. As the new owner of a 100-plus-year-old home, she’s become very familiar with plumbing and drain issues and loves a simple solution. 

For this story, Tanya spoke with Kevin Busch, vice president of operations for Mr. Handyman, a Neighborly company, for guidance about how to best keep drains clean.

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