10 Best Drain Cleaners for Tough Clogs: Tested by Experts

10 Best Drain Cleaners for Tough Clogs: Tested by Home Care Experts

Have you ever had a clog that just wouldn’t go away, no matter how many times you tried to flush it down? If your plunger isn’t doing the trick, it might be time to bring out the big guns: a drain cleaner. There are all sorts of different drain cleaners on the market, so which one should you choose? To help you decide, we’ve tested 10 of the most popular drain cleaners and found the best ones for tough clogs. Keep reading to learn more!

10 Best Drain Cleaners for Tough Clogs — Reviews

1. DRANO Max Gel Liquid Clog Remover

Max Gel Drain Clog Remover


Drano Max Gel is a top performer that consumers love. It’s safe for piping and septic systems, and it works quickly to dissolve hair, grease, soap scum, and other gunky clogs.

The gel sinks through standing water to the source of the clog and gets to work in 15-30 minutes.

If the clog still exists, this solution can be used again.



  • Eliminates entirely clogs in standing water
  • Can be set for a few hours to work effectively
  • Clogs that are more difficult to remove may require a follow-up application


2. BIO-CLEAN Drain Septic Bacteria

BIO-CLEAN Drain Septic Bacteria


Bio-Clean uses a unique combination of naturally occurring germs and enzymes to break down organic waste such as hair, grease, soap scum, paper, food particles, and other contaminants.

It is an enzymatic cleaner that works more slowly than traditional chemical drain cleaners and is best used overnight on sluggish drains or once a month as a maintenance product.

It won’t clear a whole blockage, and multiple applications are sometimes required to completely clean partially clogged drains. Many users have also utilized Bio-Clean as a preventative care product, stating that it works extremely well.

Bio-Clean is entirely nontoxic and does not contain any hazardous chemicals. Because of its chemical makeup, Bio-Clean is appropriate for usage in toilets.

  • Assists in clearing garbage disposals 
  • Safe to use in toilets
  • Requires at minimum eight hours to work properly (overnight) 
  • Ineffective on complete clogs


3. THRIFT Odorless Drain Cleaner

THRIFT Odorless Drain Cleaner


Thrift’s drain cleaner is a septic-safe way to maintain your drains and keep them flowing freely. The company claims that their product will work in as little as 60 seconds on slow-flowing drains.

You need hot water to dissolve and activate the crystals, after which you should flush the drain thoroughly.

Reviewers are impressed by how quickly it works, although some caution that it is a strong chemical cleaner and should not be used in garbage disposals or toilets.

  • Clears slow sink and tub drainage  
  • Maintains septic tank system
  • It won’t work on standing water clogs

4. LIQUID-PLUMR Hair Clog Eliminator



Thick gel from Liquid-Plumr was created to break through hair blockages that impede sink, tub, and shower drains.

According to the manufacturer, it is septic safe, and based on our experience with other Liquid-Plumr products, we have no reason to doubt this.

To use Liquid-Plumr, wait until all the water has completely drained from the sink or tub (or bail it out if it doesn’t seem to be flowing), then pour the bottle ofLiquid-Plumr slowly down the drain.

It will take at least 15 minutes for it to work its magic. For badly clogged drains, you can leave Liquid-Plumr in there overnight and then flush thoroughly with hot water come morning.

  • Quick results
  • The entire bottle must be used for each application


5. CLR Clear Pipes & Drains

CLR Clear Pipes & Drains


The best way to deal with drains is through prevention, and CLR’s Clear Pipes and Drains allows you to do just that by keeping your pipes unclogged with a quick monthly treatment.

Those who tested it loved how easy it was (it only takes five minutes or less!) as well as how well their drains ran afterwards.

To use, simply pour two ounces of the fragrance-free liquid down your drain before bedtime and flush with clean water in the morning. It can also be used for slow drains.

  • Can double as a disposer cleaner
  • Doesn’t complete remove all blockages


6. GREEN GOBBLER Drain Opening Pacs

GREEN GOBBLER Drain Opening Pacs


contains three pre-measured, ready-to-use powder packets – simply add water and wait 15-30 minutes before flushing (or wait overnight for tough clogs).

The packs are odorless, but some clogs may be stinky as they dissolve. Once the drain is flushed thoroughly, the smell dissipates.

More than 9,000 Amazon reviewers gave Green Gobbler a 4.3 star rating – saying they loved how well it worked!

  • Pre-measured dosing
  • Drains often require a second overnight treatment


7. XION LAB Safer Drain Opener

XION LAB Safer Drain Opener


The XionLab Safer Drain Opener is a surgical drain safe, working on hair or grease blockages (but not food particles).

The gel will sink through standing water and clear mild obstructions in around two hours (tougher clogs will take longer, sometimes overnight), with a balance of acidic/caustic cleaners and mild enzymatic cleaners.

  • Safe for septic systems
  • Stubborn clogs may need multiple applications


8. RIDGI 6 ft. Toilet Auger Drain Snake

RIDGI 6 ft. Toilet Auger Drain Snake


A toilet auger may well succeed where a plunger would fail. A drain snake on a clogged toilet can harm the porcelain, but the Ridgid has a vinyl protective guard to help avoid scratches and fractures.

The ergonomic handles make it simple to turn the cable down the drain line to break up and remove obstructions lodged there.

  • It reaches deep into the toilet pipes due to its six-foot length
  • The drill can be attached to help remove stubborn blockages
  • The instructions are complex and difficult for a novice to understand


9. VASTAR Drain Snake

VASTAR Drain Snake


The Vastar Drain Snake is perfect for clearing clogs in kitchens and bathrooms. It’s flexible, so it can reach deep into drain pipes and flex at the P-trap, where most obstructions occur.

The barbs grab hair and other icky clogs, allowing you to remove or dislodge them. Many reviewers love this product and how well it works — but they also remind us how icky some of these clogs smell! So take heed.

After use, you can clean the Vastar Drain Snake or dispose of it.

  • It gets rid of long hair in the drain. 
  • Chemical-free and won’t harm you or your pipes.
  • The material is fragile, so it can easily break if not used gingerly.


10. TUBSHROOM Tub Drain Protector

TUBSHROOM Tub Drain Protector


The TubShroom was voted as one of the best cleaning products and its innovative design allows it to stay inside the bathroom tub drain- collecting hair deftly as water drains.

To clean it, you simply remove it from the drain and wipe it off; easy peasy!

The TubShroom fits most standard drains, uses no harmful chemicals, is eco-friendly and prevents hair clogs efficiently.

  • Helps prevent hair causing a clog
  • Does not clear clogs


Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to Make a DIY Drain Cleaner?

We recommend attempting this DIY approach once a month or so. It’s not powerful enough to clear a total clog, but it can help keep your drains clean and flowing.

  • Combine 1 cup of warmed distilled white vinegar with ½ cup baking soda and ¼ cup salt in a bowl.
  • Pour down the drain slowly.
  • After 10-15 minutes, flush with hot tap water for 15-30 seconds.

2.What to look for when shopping for the best drain cleaner?

Different cleaners are effective for particular sorts and degrees of blockages — for example, one that is efficient for a sluggish drain would not be ideal for a full obstruction. When looking for cleaners, keep the following in mind:

Enzymatic cleaners work more slowly to unclog drains, but they’re usually less harmful to your plumbing (or yourself). The enzymes (bacteria) in the cleaner break down organic soils such as hair and food that can be found in your drain. They might not be strong enough to dissolve a complete blockage, but over time will eat away at it.

Chemical drain cleaners will work the quickest, but they can also do more harm. When using chemicals, damage may occur depending on the type of pipes in your home. PVC pipes might distort or soften as a result of heat produced by chemical usage. Metal pipes can corrode if overused, leading to cracks and even holes in extreme situations.

3. How to use drain cleaners safely?

Clogged drains are inevitable, but there are some important things you can do to minimize the damages:

✔️Follow all directions on the label of a drain cleaner exactly. Make sure the area is well-ventilated. Only use the drain cleaner for the amount of time recommended on the package.

✔️To avoid splash-back, use gloves and a face shield. When dispensing drain cleaner, do not stand in the bath or shower stall.

✔️Pour the drain cleaner slowly to prevent spills. Some chemical cleaners may cause stone, marble, stainless steel, and other materials surrounding them to be damaged by their caustic nature. Never combine drain cleaners with any cleaning chemicals, including home brews; instead, try a different solution if the first one fails. The chemical reaction might produce hazardous gases or even an explosion as a result of the chemical reaction.

✔️Be sure to flush the drain with water that is the temperature specified on the chemical cleaner’s packaging, and rinse for the recommended amount of time after each use.

✔️If you have a toilet clog, never try to clear it with a chemical cleaner. Instead, use a plunger or natural enzyme cleaner. If the clog persists, call in a professional plumber.

Few Words Before Wrapping Up…

So, which is the best drain cleaner for tough clogs? It really depends on your needs and what you have available to you. If you’re looking for a chemical-free solution, vinegar and baking soda are always great options. For tougher clogs, we recommend trying one of the enzyme cleaners or a plunger first. If those don’t work, our top pick for the best drain cleaner for tough clogs is undoubtedly Drano Max Gel.

It’s affordable, easy to use, and it gets the job done quickly – what more could you ask for? Have you tried any of these 10 best drain cleaners for tough clogs? Let us know in the comments!

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