A Guide to the Best Drain Openers
Every so often, you’ll experience a clog in a kitchen or bathroom sink, in your bathtub, or in a toilet or septic tank. You can try using a snake, or dismantling pipes yourself until you find the clog. But, then you run the risk of not being able to assemble everything back together again. Fortunately, there are drain openers that can get the job done for you more easily and efficiently. Instead of having to find where the clog is located, these drain openers will dissolve it for you so that it just washes away!
But there still are some things to be aware of before choosing a drain opener. You have to make sure that it won’t damage your pipes, depending on the material from which they’re constructed. Also, there are drain openers that aren’t appropriate for all uses, such as toilets or septic systems. And your drain opener will depend on what is causing the clog as well. Some drain openers are only for maintenance, to keep your drains open, while others are capable of clearing severe clogs.
We’ll take a brief look at the BRG list of the best drain openers. There’s no point in calling a professional plumber if you can get the job done yourself!
Can drain openers really dissolve hair?
Many clogs form around entangled hair. Some drain openers, such as those that employ sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, or sulphuric acid, will be able to dissolve hair. There are enzymatic drain openers that are able to dissolve hair and are less damaging to your plumbing.
Types of Drain Openers
You’ll see a number of different formulations for drain openers. We can distinguish between chemical drain openers and enzymatic (or organic) drain cleaners.
Chemical drain openers: Some of these are very caustic and use sodium hydroxide (=lye), potassium hydroxide, or bleach to cut through clogs. An example is Drano Max Gel, which uses both lye and bleach. You pour around 16 ounces into a clogged drain, let it sit for around 15 minutes, and flush the drain with hot water. It should be enough to clear the clog.
Drano Max Gel
There are chemical drain openers that use more gentle ingredients, such as Lauramine Oxide, which is a well-known cleaning agent that you can find even in shampoos and soaps. The Green Gobbler Ultimate Drain Opener uses Lauramine oxide and is able to dissolve grease, hair, oils, soap scum, and even baby wipes and paper clogs!
Green Gobbler Ultimate Drain Opener
Another chemical that you’ll see is alcohol ethoxylate, which is another known surfactant that breaks down fats and organic compounds. It’s the main ingredient in XionLab Safer, Greener Drain Clog Remover. It can break down fats, oils, grease, soap scum, lint, and hair (although it’s not recommended against clogs due to paper, plastics, or food particles).
XionLab Safer, Greener Drain Clog Remover
Enzymatic drain openers: There are also drain cleaners that employ microbes that break down organic matter, and produce enzymes that speed up the process even more. An example is the Rockwell Labs Invade Bio Drain Gel. It can be used to prevent clogs as well. It’s gentle enough to use on a clogged soda fountain drip tray! It’s suggested to apply the gel in the wee hours of the night when you use the sink the least. Pour around 4 ounces into a 4”-diameter drain. Apply it every other day for a week, then around once a week.
Rockwell Labs Invade Bio Drain Gel
What reviewers say
Here are some customers’ impressions about the whitening toothpaste that they selected:
Used by professionals: One customer invited a plumber to remove a clog. She said that the plumber took the drain pipes apart, used a snake on the sections that he couldn’t reach, and still didn’t manage to clear the clog. He then used the Thrift Marketing Drain Cleaner, and the drain was clear in minutes!
May have to treat two drains at once: Some customers said that when they had a clog in their bathroom, they used Green Gobbler Ultimate Main Drain Opener on their bathtub and toilet at the same time, waited overnight, and then spilled boiling water down the drain and in the toilet. After 5 minutes, they managed to clear the drain!
Good on sink garbage disposal: Some sinks have a garbage disposal feature, which grinds down food particles that go into your sink. (It’s preferable that soft food waste is disposed of this way, rather than going through the trash and ending up in a landfill.) Certain drain openers are specially designed for garbage disposals, such as the Drano Dual-Force Foamer Clog Remover. It’s a foam that expands and fills the area of the drain, to break down any residue.
Drano Dual-Force Foamer Clog Remover
Here are some tips about using various drain openers:
How long does it take to work: Drain openers will differ greatly in the amount of time that they take to work. One of the caustic products, Drano Max Gel, is able to go through standing water in 15-30 minutes. Customers say that it will work without even having to remove the hair first–it really just dissolves the hair! Other drain openers will achieve the best results by pouring them into the drain and letting them sit overnight.
Gel or liquid: You’ll notice products that come in gel form as well as in liquid form. The liquid version may flow too fast through any holes in the clog to actually break down the hair and sediment in the clog. A gel version will tend to sit longer, since it’s more viscous, and it will have more time to work on breaking down the clog.
Is it safe on your pipes: The caustic drain openers are great at breaking down clogs. But there are a number of things to be aware of as well:
Chemical damage: Firstly, lye can damage PVC, steel, copper, and iron, as well as the rubber gaskets connecting the piping. Certain products, such as Liquid Plumr, will explicitly say not to use them on rubber pipes.
Heat damage: Also, if they cause a chemical reaction that releases heat, they can warp plastic piping, and even eventually cause a leak.
Burns and fumes: Caustic drain openers can cause chemical burns if these caustic materials get on your skin. There is also the concern that they can release dangerous fumes when reacting with the clog or with other cleaning agents.
Clog removing tool: The Green Gobbler Drain Clog Remover Pacs are packets of powdered drain cleaner. You open up a packet and pour the contents into a drain. The packet is premeasured so that it’s exactly the amount that you need for one application. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes, and then flush the drain with hot water. It also comes with a long clog-removing tool that you can insert between the holes in the drain to help dislodge any clogs.
Green Gobbler Drain Clog Remover Pacs
We went through some of the best drain openers. Certain products are suitable for heavy-duty clogs, while others are best for maintenance. Some drain cleaners also have ingredients that will prevent damage to any rubber or plastic parts, while others are scented to remove any odors as well. Look over the Best Reviews Guide list–you’re sure to find a product that matches your type of drain and type of clog!