These are the best drain cleaners that actually work — reviewers rave about them for ease

Your landlord will thank you later

Mrs. Meyer's Probiotic Drain Maintenance Liquid
(Image credit: Amazon)

Look, there's nothing glamorous about cleaning your drains, but it's better to get on top of it before it gets on top of you. Tending to your drainpipes monthly, rather than neglecting them, is always wise and means that when you do get around to whipping out your cleaning supplies, it's a far simpler and less grim affair. After all, no one wants to be picking matted hairs and unspeakable dirt from out their sinks or downspouts — it's just not chic. 

To start with, there are some immediate actions you can take to prevent smelly odors and clogs in the first place, including scraping leftovers into the trash and doing a kitchen sink clean every month or so. That said, if you're already faced with a blockage, there's still hope. Try some of these unclogging techniques that surprisingly don't require a plunger.  Just remember, it pays to be prepared for issues when they strike, which is why I've taken a deep dive into the slightly gross world of drain cleaners so that you don't have to. I mean, you're totally welcome.

From heavy-duty cleaners to ones for the kitchen, bathroom, and outdoors, I've featured solutions, powders, tablets, and cleaners. Only sourcing affordable and highly rated designs — nothing less than four stars, darling — I've pulled together a list you can trust. Your landlord will thank you later.

The best drain cleaners that actually work

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The prices in this guide were correct at the time of publishing.

Drain cleaner for kitchens

When it comes to drain cleaners for kitchens, you need to consider your issues. If it's thick grease — perhaps caused by pouring the remains of last night's dinner down the drain (never advised!) — then something a little stronger should do the trick. However, a quick freshen-up might be enough. Luckily I've covered both.

Drain cleaner for bathrooms

In your bathroom cleaning arsenal, you'll be wanting something to take down those grisly hairs that build up in the tub, but also a lighter solution for the sink. Fortunately, I've delivered the goods, bringing tried and tested classics that work safely and efficiently. 

Drain cleaners for outdoors

Sometimes, we need to get a little down and dirty. In this case, I'm talking about downspouts and outdoor drainage systems, which often require a more physical approach. It's here that the drain auger comes into play, smashing through blockages with ease and opening up your drains once again.

What is the most effective drain cleaner?

It's a good question, but one that has no black-and-white answer. When thinking about cleaning your drains, the key thing to keep in mind is your own circumstances. For example, if it's for a bathroom sink that just needs a little maintenance, something like Mrs. Meyer's Probiotic Drain Maintenance Liquid (from Amazon) should do the trick. However, for a major kitchen-based blockage, you'd be better off turning your hands to Green Gobbler Grease Trap and Drain Cleaner (also from Amazon), a potent and effective option that cuts through grease and fat almost immediately. As for outdoor issues, where the downspout or floor drains have taken a bashing, you'll want to get a drain gauger down, like the Worx Nitro Cordless Drain Auger from Target, guaranteed to break through deep blockages with its sizeable cord.

How we chose these drain cleaners

While I haven't been able to test each and every product just yet, you can rest assured that shoppers never lie. If the reviews tell us they didn't improve their users' lives, they didn't make the cut. So, without further ado, these are the drain cleaners that deliver on performance and price.

Where to buy a drain cleaner

Still not settled on your chosen drain cleaner? Don't stress. We've done the honors and rounded up some go-to retailers for seriously effective drain cleaning.

Joseph Bobowicz
Freelance Contributor

Working across digital and print publications, Joseph Bobowicz is a London-born writer obsessed with books, culture, and all things new. When he's not writing about fashion for i-D and the Independent, he's out sourcing the best homewares to incorporate into any humble abode, fixer-upper, or first-time buy alike.