As we go about our daily activities like showering and washing the dishes, it's all too easy to forget the pressure that we put on our drains – until we encounter unexpected problems, vowing never again to take them for granted! Whether it's grease or standing water in the kitchen sink or hair in the bathroom, a blocked drain can be a huge – and unpleasant – issue to deal with.
Fortunately, there are plenty of simple solutions out there, each using a different approach to keep your pipes in tip-top shape. But picking the right drain unblocker is not easy, which is exactly why we've written this buying guide! We've also created a list of ten of the best drain cleaners available to order straight to your door from Amazon, Tesco, Asda and more.
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Knowledge is power when it comes to picking the right drain cleaner, so before we showcase some of our favourites, we're going to explain how they differ. Read on for our buying guide, where we'll walk you through everything from cleaners that'll unclog your drains to those that'll stop them from getting blocked in the first place.
They're all designed with the intention of keeping your drains blockage-free and in working order, but drain cleaners come in several different forms and it's imperative that you pick the right one. For the most part, they can be placed into one of three groups. Read on, as we give you a quick rundown.
First up are general drain cleaners, which, as you might guess, work to keep your drains clean. Through the use of a special solution, they can eliminate odours and small amounts of food waste and hair.
They usually come in liquid form, though we've also found pods that can be used once a week to keep your drains in top condition. Typically only a small amount of cleaner is required, meaning these products should last for a significant amount of time and are, therefore, some of the most affordable choices out there.
What a general drain cleaner will probably not do, however, is remove blockages. So, while it's wise to introduce these into your regular cleaning regime, if you're looking at a sink full of stagnant water, you'll need something much more powerful.
Drain unblockers are often quite similar in appearance to general drain cleaners (they too are usually found in bottle form), but their purpose is different. Rather than dissolve small amounts of dirt and grime that occur throughout general usage, they are designed to remove blockages that are preventing you from using your sink, shower or bath properly.
They usually come in one of two forms, the most popular being bottled liquid solutions, perhaps because they're so easy to use. Simply pour the required amount down the plughole, leave it overnight to work its magic, and then return in the morning to sparkling clean drains.
Then there are manual drain unblockers, such as plungers and rods. 'Why would you opt for a manual drain unblocker?', we hear you ask. Well, although they require a bit of elbow grease, they're significantly less expensive – you'll be able to use them again and again, whereas liquid solutions can only be used once or twice.
Last but not least comes a small subsection of drain cleaners – those which aim to prevent dirt or blockages from occurring in the first place. These are contraptions that aim to 'catch' a certain type of unwanted material, allowing you to remove it quickly and easily without needing to rely on cleaning solutions.
Case in point, the TubShroom. All you do is plug it into your bath's plughole and it'll catch any stray hairs, allowing you to remove and dispose of them in one easy motion. Such a product will ensure that significantly more time passes until you need to use any sort of drain unblocker, if you need to use one at all!
It's probably not a thought that you like to dwell on for too long, but drain grime comes in many different forms. While many drain cleaners offer 'all-purpose solutions' that'll tackle all common types, others are designed to target specific problems.
If you're looking to clear a kitchen sink that you know has drained a lot of food waste, pick a drain cleaner designed to eliminate this kind of waste. Similarly, pick a product that'll dissolve hair if cleaning your bathroom drains. It's fairly simple but worth pointing out, as it's all too easy to end up with a product that's essentially useless if used in the wrong way!
Some drain cleaners are more expensive than others, but the true mark of value is how many uses you'll get out of it. For this reason, it's good to be aware of the fact that many drain unblocking solutions can only be used once. That's right, you'll be using all of it in one go. Suddenly that bottle seems a lot more expensive, doesn't it?
There are others that'll give you a couple of uses, or even five or six, but the clear winners when it comes to saving the pennies are manual unblockers that can be used over and over again. Whether they're the right method for you is a different question, so often it's a case of convenience vs affordability when it comes to drain cleaners.
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Liquid Drain Unblocker
Cut to the Chase With a Highly Effective, No-Nonsense Unblocker
Sink and Drain Plunger
Luigi One-UPS the Competition With a New Take On the Plunger
TubShroom Strainer + Hair Catcher
Catch and Remove Stray Hairs in One Fell Swoop
Enzymatic Drain Cleaning Sticks
The Environmentally Friendly Solution to Blocked Drains
A Fiery Solution That Dissolves Hair and Melts Grime
Fast-Acting Foam for a Deep Clean
Drain Weasel Starter Set
A Flexible and Easy-to-Use Device for Bathroom Blockages
Bathroom Plughole Unblocker
A Simple, Effective Way to Dissolve Hair and Soap Scum
Drain Rod Set
Blockages Won't Stand a Chance Against This Set of Dynamic Rods
Disposer & Pipe Cleaner
Handy Pods to Dissolve Food Waste and Deodorise
If you're looking for something quick and convenient that is guaranteed to get the job done, look no further than HG's liquid drain unblocker. It arrives diluted and ready to use, so simply pour it down your drain, leave for 30 minutes and marvel at the results.
The plain label design reflects the honesty and effectiveness of this unblocker. There are no flashy gimmicks; instead, a solution that works effectively to remove drain blockages, whether in a sink, toilet or shower. It's even safe to use with plastic pipes, making this a highly effective and versatile solution.
There's a reason that the plunger is one the most archetypal bathroom tools – because it works! This one, however, is a cut above the rest, with a unique 'bellows' design that purportedly transfers eight times more air per press than regular plungers.
The benefit of this is that it is able to unclog drains by 'blasting' blockages through your pipes. That means no chemicals and no getting your hands dirty, just a quick, non-invasive method of clearing your drains. There's a good reason that Luigi is one of the world's most famous plumbers.
Less a drain cleaner than a means of preventing your drain from getting blocked in the first place, the 'TubShroom' – named for its mushroom-inspired shape – is a plug replacement that catches stray hairs while allowing the flow of water. Simply unplug every now and then and remove all hair with one effortless move.
Granted, the TubShroom isn't going to eliminate gunk or foul odours, but it will prevent the formation of the kind of blockages that lead to these issues in the first place. Team it up with a good unblocker and you've got the ultimate drain cleaning arsenal.
These enzymatic cleaning sticks offer a preventative measure for keeping your drains in great condition. Once a month, simply drop one down your plughole, where it'll sit and work away, dissolving grease, fats and bad smells. Rather conveniently, each of the 12 sticks has been marked with a month of the year.
We're fans of how effortless Ecozone have made it to maintain your drains, but we especially love the fact that their sticks use natural bacterias and enzymes that are not harmful to the environment. It's hard to turn your nose up at that subtle citrus scent too!
Claiming itself to be one of the strongest formulations on the market, this US-made drain opener is rather novel in the way it uses heat to dissolve hair clogs and melt grease and grime. Of course, this isn't a wonder you'll get to witness, as it'll all occur overnight after you leave the solution to work its magic.
Better still, you only need to use half the bottle, so you'll have plenty left for another round of drain unblocking. Oh, and don't let the mention of 'heat' put you off using this product – it's safe for use in all types of piping. All in all, this is a highly effective cleaning solution at an affordable price.
Originally created in 1986, Mr Muscle cleaning products have now worked their magic in British homes for 35 years. The brand has added another feather to their cap with this drain foamer, which combines two powerful liquids to create a foam that'll give your pipes a deep clean while also eliminating any odours.
Simply pour it down your sink and leave for an hour or so to allow it to work its magic. There's no doubt that it'll get the job done – tested in lab conditions, it was found to be ten times more effective at removing hair than baking soda and vinegar!
The FlexiSnake is the perfect hair removal tool, with a long, flexible wand tipped with over a hundred micro hooks that are perfect for clinging onto unruly strands. You can even use the handle to rotate the tip for extra latching abilities.
When there are solutions out there that'll allow you to unclog your drains with scarcely any effort – and others that'll even prevent hair blockages in the first place – we can understand that such a product may not be so desirable. Sometimes, however, the situation requires that you roll your sleeves up, and in those cases, the FlexiSnake is the perfect tool.
Did you know that hair, soap scum and sludge are the leading causes of drain blockages? Luckily, Buster's plughole unblocker tackles all three, working equally well in all pipes, whether in your shower, bath or septic system.
Use it regularly to prevent build-up, or if you've got a blockage, simply pour the entire bottle down and leave it overnight. In the morning you'll awaken to a sink that drains water quicker than it ever has done before – and you can't put a price on that!
For those who have some serious unblocking to do, for which a simple solution won't suffice, this set of 12 flexible polypropylene drain rods is sure to do the trick. Simply connect them together until you've reached the desired length.
You've also got a choice of two types of end connection – a plunger that creates a build of pressure to force obstructions to clear and a double worm screw end that'll help to break them up. This is the real deal; some elbow grease is required and you don't get a pleasant citrusy fragrance, but there's no doubt that these rods will get the job done.
Proudly made in the USA, Rejuvenate's disposer and pipe cleaner consists of a series of pods that use enzymes to naturally dissolve food waste. Place one in your drain and watch the solution foam up as it removes food and sludge, and at the end of the process, you'll be left with a pleasing lemon scent.
A highly versatile solution, it can be used to clean everything from sinks to septic tanks and, following the recommended rate of 1 pod per week, a single pack should last you for 6 weeks, which isn't too shabby. Just be wary that these pods are for maintenance only, not for unclogging a blocked sink.
It might be a laborious task, but there's no denying that there's nothing more satisfying than a clean house. This is especially the case when you've used high-quality products that give it an extra dose of gleam and sparkle. For plenty of recommendations on exactly those types of products, check out the articles below.
You now know everything you need to know in order to find the perfect drain cleaning solution for you. Whether you're in need of a solution for your clogged drain or you wish to prevent it from becoming blocked in the first place, we hope this article has helped you find exactly what you need.
Author: Ben Willimett
No. 1: HG | Liquid Drain Unblocker
No. 2: Luigi's | Sink and Drain Plunger
No. 3: TubShroom | TubShroom Strainer + Hair Catcher
No. 4: Ecozone | Enzymatic Drain Cleaning Sticks
No. 5: Scotch Corporation | Drain Opener
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