What are the best drain cleaners? (with photos)

Lactic acid, which can help eliminate soap scum down the drain.

The best drain cleaners are those that are used regularly to keep water flowing freely through the pipes. Washing the drains weekly with boiling water is the easiest and most effective way to prevent internal debris build-up in the pipe and prevent drains from becoming clogged. Chunks of grease, hair, soap scum and other debris tend to stick to the inside of pipes, restricting their ability to carry water flowing through them. Household drains build up over time, sometimes clogging completely, blocking all water flow. Cleaning the drains weekly with boiling water helps to stop this buildup and prevent clogs, although it is important to note that this method is not suitable for use with PVC pipes.

Vinegar, when mixed with baking soda, is a natural drain cleaner.

When drains clog or get sluggish, a good drain cleaner is needed. Some of the best drain cleaners can be made at home without harsh chemicals. To open a slow-flow drain, try pouring a cup of powdered sodium borate (borax) down the drain. Then add four cups of boiling water. Let it sit for 25 minutes and then wash the drain with clean, cold water.

For general drain cleaning, use four tablespoons of soda dissolved in two liters of hot water. Slowly pour down the drain and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then rinse with hot water.

Many commercial drain cleaners are chemical or biological.

A great garbage cleaner uses two cups of white vinegar mixed with two cups of cold water. Freeze it completely in ice cube trays and use it periodically, grinding the cubes in the disposal to help keep the drains clear, clean and smelling fresh.

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Many options and brands of drain cleaners are available for purchase. Most commercial drain cleaners are usually biological or chemical. Biological drain cleaners use enzymes to eat away at buildup in pipes. They work best on organic-based clogs like hair and soap suds, but aren’t as effective as chemical cleaners at removing mineral deposits. Biological drain cleaners tend to run slower than chemical drain cleaners, but are safe for septic systems.

Drain snakes can be used to remove hair that is clogging a drain.

Chemical drain cleaners are often made from hazardous chemicals and can damage septic systems. They come in liquid and foam forms. Chemical drain cleaners often contain sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), which is very caustic. The corrosive properties of caustic soda are good for corroding buildup in drains, but they can burn your skin and aggravate your throat and nose. Avoiding prolonged contact with sodium hydroxide is a good idea.

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