Best drain cleaner 2022: Unclog your kitchen sink, shower and toilet with ease

Jamie Stedmond
11 Apr 2022
Best drain cleaner

Whether your pipes are completely clogged or just draining slowly, discover the best drain cleaners for the job

Blocked drains can be a recurrent problem around the home, so to clear clogs and break down build-ups it’s a good idea to keep a bottle of the best drain cleaner for the job close to hand. Whether you’re dealing with a backed up kitchen sink filled with greasy water, or a blocked shower drain that means the water fills up to your ankles, we’ve got you covered.

Below you’ll find our handy buying guide which will introduce you to the different types of drain cleaner and explain how to choose the best one for you. Scroll a little further down the page and you can read our mini-reviews of the best drain cleaners for different situations. You’ll find that we’ve covered everything from super-strong cleaners and environmentally friendly products right through to unique solutions you might never have heard about before.

READ NEXT: Best bathroom cleaners for you to buy

Best drain cleaner: At a glance

How to choose the best drain cleaner for you

What types of drain cleaner are available?

Searching for a drain cleaner to buy, you’re likely to encounter two main categories: chemical and enzymatic.

  • Chemical drain cleaners are much stronger, but use harsh chemicals such as bleach or peroxides to dissolve blockages.
  • Enzymatic cleaners use enzymes from bacteria to naturally break down organic matter into smaller pieces which can be more easily cleared. Within these categories, drain cleaners can come in a range of forms such as liquid, gels, pastes, and powders.

Which drain cleaner is the right one for me?

If you have a solid blockage - one where no water will drain - then a stronger, chemical drain cleaner might be the best option for you. If the blockage is only partial, an enzymatic cleaner will probably be strong enough to do the job.

If you’re aiming to be more environmentally friendly or trying to avoid having harsh chemicals in your home, you can still use an enzymatic drain cleaner to clear a solid blockage. Enzymatic drain cleaners aren’t powerful enough to dissolve the worst blockages, so help them out with the aid of a plunger and a kettle full of boiling water.

What precautions should I take when using a drain cleaner?

Always wear gloves and a mask when using strong cleaning products. Note the consistency of the drain cleaner you’re using and be careful when pouring to avoid splashes and drips. Never use a chemical drain cleaner on anything that is likely to overflow, such as a toilet or a waste disposal. Similarly, never use a plunger once you’ve used a chemical drain cleaner, as plunging might produce splashback.

Check that your pipes are newer PVC pipes which most drain cleaners are safe to use on. Older pipes, made of metals like brass or aluminum, may be corroded or damaged by drain cleaners. Even with PVC pipes, check their integrity if you use drain cleaner regularly, as they may become slightly softened by regular or improper use of drain cleaner.

READ NEXT: Best cleaning products for you to buy

The best drain cleaner to buy in 2022

1. Mr. Muscle Drain Gel: Best all-round drain cleaner

Price: £2 | Buy now from Amazon

Popularity doesn’t always equate to quality, but this best-selling drain cleaner from Mr. Muscle has earned its spot at the top. Combining solid strength and very impressive speed, this is one of the best all-round drain cleaning products available.

The thick liquid gel is formulated to cut through standing water and cling to the edge of pipes, ensuring it reaches the site of the blockage. Users suggest that the low wait-time (just five minutes) for simple blockages is accurate, and many report repeated success at clearing tougher clogs over longer periods of time. These consistent results, along with its widespread availability and reasonable price make it an easy product for us to recommend.

Key specs - Size: 500ml; Type: Chemical; Form: Gel

Buy now from Amazon

2. Instant Power Hair & Grease Drain Cleaner: Best heavy duty drain cleaner

Price: £18 | Buy now from Homebase

Some blockages are tougher to clear than others. If you’ve tried every common drain cleaner at the supermarket and had no joy, you might think it’s time to call in a professional. Before you do that, it’s worth giving Instant Power Hair and Grease a shot.

Instant Power boasts the strongest non-acid formulation on the market – acidic drain cleaners are used by plumbers and usually only available via the trade, so this is really the best you can get as a civilian. This drain cleaner dissolves hair and creates heat to melt grease, meaning it can take on a stubborn clog in either the bathroom or the kitchen. Being the strongest product on our list, it is also the one we must advise the most care when using. Safety goggles and gloves, as well as a slow and careful pour are a must when handling this powerful cleaning agent.

Key specs - Size: 1L; Type: Chemical; Form: Liquid

Buy now from Homebase

3. Buster Bathroom Plug-hole Unblocker: Best bathroom drain cleaner

Price: £3 | Buy now from Amazon

If you want to specifically target hair and soap residue, this Unblocker from Buster is formulated specifically for bathroom build-ups. Alongside working well, the fact that this product is manufactured in the UK and sports a cruelty-free guarantee have earned it a spot in our round-up.

This product is notable for its success in working through standing water and for being a one-shot treatment. This does mean that you use a full bottle each time, but its fast-acting nature gets to work within 15 minutes and unblocking results make it a product worth repurchasing.

Key specs - Size: 300ml; Type: Chemical; Form: Liquid

Buy now from Amazon

4. Knockout Biological Drain Treatment: Best enzyme-based drain cleaner

Price: £15 | Buy now from Amazon

If you balk at the idea of buying harsher chemical treatments and want a more environmentally conscious choice, an enzyme based cleaner is probably what you’re after. This Biological Drain Treatment from Knockout employs eco-friendly natural bacteria to break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates to help clear hair and grease from your pipes.

While it might not be the perfect choice for a highly stubborn clog, this product should work well on less severe blockages. It can also be used regularly as a maintenance product to stop your pipes from becoming problematic in the first place.

Key specs - Size: 1L; Type: Enzymatic; Form: Liquid

Buy now from Amazon

5. Ecozone Enzymatic Drain Sticks: Best drain sticks

Price: £6 | Buy now from Amazon

The most unique product on our list are these enzymatic drain sticks from Ecozone. Simply insert one into the plughole of your drain and leave the friendly bacteria and enzymes to do their work. Each drain stick lasts for one month and keeps pipes clear day by day; as they come in a 12-pack, one purchase should last for a year, making them budget-friendly.

They are also the gentlest active product on this list. The sticks are allergen-friendly, with certifications from NatureWatch stating that the product is non-damaging to aquatic life, as well as vegan and cruelty-free. On top of all that, they are designed to eliminate unpleasant drain odours and keep things smelling fresh.

Key specs - Size: 12 pack; Type: Enzymatic; Form: Drain stick

Buy now from Amazon

6. FlexiSnake Drain Millipede: Best physical drain cleaner

Price: £15 | Buy now from Amazon

This product is perfect for stubborn hair build-up in shower drains and bathroom sinks. Sometimes liquid and gel-based cleaners can fail to remove these stubborn hair deposits, and that’s when it is time for a physical solution.

The Drain Millipede from FlexiSnake is 18 inches long, and notable for its thinness and flexibility, as well as the large number of micro-hooks embedded on its surface. These hooks latch onto hair and other drain deposits - essentially allowing us the catharsis of reaching into that clogged drain and pulling the blockage out ourselves. Make sure to wear gloves and have a bin nearby as physically removing a blockage can be a lot messier than chemical solutions.

Key specs - Size: 18in; Type: N/A; Form: Physical

Buy now from Amazon

7. Green Gobbler Septic Saver: Best toilet drain cleaner

Price: £13 | Buy now from Amazon

Not every product is safe to use on toilets or in septic tanks, so it’s best to use one specific to the job. These biodegradable pods from Green Gobbler are designed for monthly use; simply drop, flush, and the natural bacteria should keep your septic system flowing freely.

As well as breaking down paper and organic matter that could cause clogs, these pods are also designed to control odours and keep your loo smelling fresh. The six-month supply you get in a pack can be used in all types of drains and pipes and is formulated to neutralize some of the negative effects of bleach, detergents and other drain cleaning products.

Key specs - Size: 6 pack; Type: Enzymatic; Form: Pods

Buy now from Amazon

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