While hair and food particle clogs can be removed with a classic drain snake, you'll have to use a different set of tools to remove a grease clog. The best drain cleaners for grease are often liquid cleaners that can dissolve and dislodge even the toughest clogs without you having to call a plumber.
To start, assess how bad the clog you're dealing with is. Is your drain still semi-functional? Has it backed up completely? If your drain clog is mild, first consider a biodegradable cleaner that won't harm your pipes or septic tank in the long run. These cleaners may take a little longer to dissolve caked-on, hardened grease, but they're by far the most eco-friendly.
However, if your drain is totally blocked up, it may be time to bring in the heavy hitters. A chemical-based cleaner is powerful enough to cut through grease quickly and efficiently, and is one of the more popular ways to eliminate a grease clog. But, if you've tried a chemical cleaner and still see no results, a sink plunger can help dislodge larger clogs, and a heavy-duty sewer jetter can blast water into your pipes to get them clean and clear again.
To help you out in your search, here are some of the best drain cleaners for grease. Pro-tip: As you go down this list, the cleaners are ordered starting with the mildest and ending with the toughest cleaner.
1. The Best For Mild Clogs: An Eco-Friendly Cleaner
Works Best On: Mild, recent clogs and slow-emptying drains.
What's Great About It: This plumber-recommended cleaner is the perfect starting point for newly-formed clogs and slow drains. Made with plant-based surfactants, this soap is completely free of dyes and harsh chemicals, which means it won't have a negative effect on the longterm health of your pipes. It also has a touch of fir and spruce essential oils to give your sink and surfaces a fresh scent while it works its magic. Plus, this 16-ounce bottle is highly-concentrated so it only takes a few drops mixed with hot water each time you need to clear your drain.
Tradeoffs: While this fair-trade soap is a great place to start for smaller, more manageable clogs, it may not be heavy-duty enough to take care of more stubborn drain problems.
What Fans Say: One reviewer writes, "I bought this soap at the health food store the first time. It works so well that I purchased more through Prime. It cuts grease and oil like no other cleaner Iʻve tried. I use it for laundry as well."
2. The Best For Most Clogs: A Chemical Cleaner
Works Best On: Heavier, reoccurring clogs and slow-emptying drains.
What's Great About It: If you're pressed for time or cash, skip straight to this heavy-duty cleaner to clear even the most stubborn clogs. Made with waste-eradicating caustic soda and lye, it only takes a matter of minutes before you'll notice your sink begin to drain. And since this is a commercial-grade formula, you only need to use a couple of teaspoons at a time to completely clear your drain instead of an entire bottle of similar cleaners. Plus, even though it's strong, this cleaner is safe to use all types of pipes and drains.
Tradeoffs: This formula is not chemical-free, so be cautious not to spill any or use it around pets and kids.
What Fans Say: "Works like a charm! I have 2 slow drains one in my bathroom and one in the kitchen. The one in the kitchen was bad. I have a double sink and one sink was so slow it took 10 minuets so go down. Use the drain opener 3 different times that day and cleared my drain. Water goes down with ease. Love it."
3. If Chemical Cleaners Aren't Working: A Sink Plunger
Works Best On: Slow-emptying and completely clogged drains
What It's Great For: If you have a reoccurring or stubborn clog that just won't budge, consider this mini sink plunger. The rubber lip creates a seal on any standard-sized drain, and the ribbed body design creates a vacuum so you can easily push air through your pipes and loosen any tough clogs.
Tradeoffs: While this tool works on most clogs and standard drains, it's a bit of trial and error before you'll be able to tell how effective it is. Some reviewers mentioned it worked on the first attempt, while others had to plunge several times before the clog started to loosen.
What Fans Say: One reviewer notes, "The thing actually worked, really well. My bathroom sink was not flowing at all. I didn't want to use harsh chemicals that may shorten the life of my pipes. I could audibly hear the clog and water pushing with pressure through the pipes below [as I plunged]. The water started to quickly drain and the sink flowed faster than it has in months."
4. If All Else Fails: A Sewer Jetter
Works Best On: Completely clogged drains.
What It's Great For: When you've tried everything else, consider this sewer jetter hose before you call in the plumber. Here's how it works: Just place the hose as far down into the drain as you can get it, turn on the water, and allow the pressure to blast through just about any clog. Plus, the thermoplastic coating is durable and bends easily through pipes without tearing, so once you invest in this product, you'll be able to use it for any drain problem that may come up in the future.
Tradeoffs: This device requires a little assembly, including attaching the nozzle and the hose to the water supply. While this hose may have a higher learning curve than other cleaners, it'll pretty much last forever.
What Fans Say: "Inserted the nozzle into the pipe and pulled the trigger. With very little assistance from me the hose kept pulling itself down the drain until it stopped. I pulled the hose back a few inches and let it go again. After doing this 3 times, the clog cleared and now I have a free running French Drain. I see many more uses for this setup in my future with a lot more savings! If you are a homeowner or a business owner, this is one item that you should have on hand for quick drain clearing."
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