There are several ways you can unclog or clean a drain — but some are better than others for the job. The best shower drain cleaner for you will depend on your specific problem and what you’re trying to achieve. Since they come in various forms, you’ll first need to decide which consistency or tool will work best for you, your plumbing, and what is causing the clog.
Liquid drain cleaners: This is the most common method for breaking up hair and soap scum, not to mention the most effective option when it comes to tackling grease clogs. A liquid formula is designed to cut through blockages, so water can flow freely down your pipes — but keep in mind that not all formulas are eco-friendly or safe for all plumbing systems. (For example, a septic system will require a septic-safe formula that won’t kill off the helpful bacteria in your tank, and all the picks below are designed to be septic-safe.)
Drain-snaking tools: Drain snakes and augers are best-suited for removing physical clogs, like clumps of hair and soap buildup. While the tools basically function in the same way (they reach into pipes and wrap themselves around the blockages before pulling them out), a snake is usually ideal for shallow clogs and smaller lines, while augers work best for deep clogs and larger lines.
Enzyme sticks: Enzyme sticks are the best option when you’re trying to remove unwanted odors from your drains. (They also prevent minor organic clogs from grease and hair.) Basically, when tucked into your drain, they slowly release live enzymes into the plumbing system, which help to break down both smells and blockages over time.
If you’re looking to fix a clogged drain, these are the six best products from every above category, and they’re backed by thousands of five-star reviews. I’ve also included a cult-favorite drain catcher to keep hair and soap scum from getting into your drain, so you can protect your plumbing and minimize hassle for yourself down the line.
1. The Overall Best Liquid Drain Cleaner
Green Gobbler liquid clog remover has almost 10,000 reviews, 82% of which are positive. This formula is designed to break up hair, soap, paper, and grease buildup, but it’s also designed to be safe for septic systems and won’t damage your pipes. Instead of bleach, sodium hydroxide, or odor-heavy chemicals, it works by rapidly lowering the pH levels in your plumbing system, which destroys blockages. Since you get two bottles with every order (each with built-in measuring systems), it’s a great value, too.
One reviewer wrote: “We have several drains that have been a constant struggle. They never completely clog, but slow down to a point where a shower becomes a bath. We have tried all the big brand names with little success. [...] With only one application [of Green Gobbler] and about 3 hours of sitting, the drain COMPLETELY cleared.”
2. The Best Value In Drain Cleaners
For just over $6, you get 80 fluid ounces of Drano’s Max Gel clog remover liquid. It’s not the most eco-friendly option and has a bit of a smell, but it does have a thick formula that cuts through hair and soap, all while supposedly remaining safe on PVC, metal pipes, and septic systems. Currently, it has over 11,000 reviews and a 4.5-star rating overall, and is a go-to for buyers who have tried everything else with no success — especially since a “little goes a long way.” (For improved efficiency, reviewers recommend using it with boiling water.)
One reviewer wrote: “My sink and shower are always clogged and I’ve been buying expensive products to clear the drains. I’m so glad to have found this at an affordable price because it’s so effective and works as well as other products I’ve used.”
3. The Most Eco-Friendly Liquid Cleaner
For delicate septic systems and eco-friendly households, Xion Lab Safer clog remover is the best option. Instead of using acidic ingredients to eat through clogs (and potentially your plumbing), this formula is non-corrosive, odorless, non-toxic, and biodegradable. It also won’t harm the beneficial enzymes that keep your septic tank working as effectively as possible. Still, it’s capable of breaking up grease, soap scum, lint, oils, and hair, so you can unclog your drain without harsh chemicals.
One reviewer wrote: “We live in an old building (1940s) and are prohibited from using any chemicals to clean or that might go down the pipes, so when we had a clog in the shower drain I wasn't sure what to do. I stumbled across this product searching for something that was eco-friendly and followed the directions. I used half the bottle, let it sit overnight, then flushed the drain in the morning. It worked perfectly!”
4. The Cheapest Shower Drain Snake
Don’t let the price fool you. These Forlivese hair snakes are shockingly effective, not to mention really easy to use. The 25-inch length reaches pretty far into the drain, while the vertical spikes grab and remove clogs formed by soap scum and hair. For most showers and tubs, you won’t even need to disassemble the drain stopper. Each order comes with three snakes, all of which are reusable and recyclable, and so far, thousands of reviewers have given them a perfect five stars.
One reviewer wrote: “After dumping two entire containers of drain opener into the clog in my bathroom sink, I bought this and pulled ‘an entire cat’ out of the drain. So cheap and easy, and you get three of them in a pack.”
5. The Drain Snake Tool For Serious Clogs
If you’ve tried multiple rounds of liquid cleaner, and you’re about ready to call a plumber, consider the POPULO electric drain auger. Using a variable-speed motor and a flexible, reinforced cable that reaches up to 25 feet, it removes deep, serious clogs. It also has a built-in LED light so you can see what you’re doing, plus it comes with a lithium-ion battery, charger, gloves, and a storage bag. In addition to shower drains, you can use it with toilets, sinks, and tubs.
One reviewer wrote: “It did the job for way less than a single call for a plumber. Total job was done in less than an hour including disassembling drain, setting up protection, clearing clog, reassembling and clean-up.”
6. The Best Solution For Shower Drain Smells
These Green Gobbler BIO-FLOW strips are the most low-maintenance way to tackle minor clogs and unwanted odors. Just drop one into your drain, and it’ll release slow-dissolving enzymes that digest grease, residue, and odor-causing bacteria. They’re safe on all kinds of plumbing systems (septic tanks included), and since each one lasts roughly a month, this order can last up to two years.
One reviewer wrote: “I tried several different ways to get rid of the smell in our shower drain and nothing worked until I used these sticks! They are easy to drop in and the smell was gone almost immediately.”
Also Great: The Best Way To Prevent Future Clogs
Prevent future clogs with the ShowerShroom, which uses a genius 3-D design to catch hairs before they can go down the drain. The stainless steel filter is easy to clean and allows water to flow right through, while the pop-out silicone stopper allows the hair to wrap around it, so you can just wipe the strands away. (For tub-style drains, the TubShroom has almost 90,000 reviews, and is my personal go-to for catching every single hair before it can go down the drain — and I shed a lot.)
One reviewer wrote: “This is so easy to pull out the little rubber plug (which never seems to get slimy), pull off the singular ring of hair neatly wrapped in a circle around the plug, and replace. It is really well made and designed and sits perfectly looking great on the shower floor. Thank you for making my life so much easier.”