The 6 Best Shower Drain Cleaners
There are several ways to 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 are trying to achieve. Because they come in different forms, you must first decide which consistency or tool will work best for you, your plumbing, and what’s causing the blockage.
Liquid drain cleaners: This is the most common method of loosening hair and soap scum, not to mention the most effective option when it comes to tackling grease clogs. A liquid formula is designed to break through blockages, allowing water to flow freely through your pipes, but keep in mind that not all formulas are environmentally friendly or safe for all plumbing systems. (For example, a septic system requires a septic-safe formula that won’t kill the beneficial bacteria in your tank, and all of the choices below are designed to be septic-safe.)
Drain hose tools: Drain hoses and augers are best suited for clearing physical blockages such as clumps of hair and soap build-up. While the tools work basically the same way (they reach into pipes and wrap around the blockages before being pulled out), a hose 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 trying to remove unwanted odors from your drains. (They also prevent small organic blockages from grease and hair.) When put down your drain, they slowly release living enzymes into the plumbing system, which over time help break down both odors and blockages.
If you’re looking to fix a clogged drain, these are the top six products from each category above, and they’re backed by thousands of five-star reviews. I’ve also included a cult-favorite drain trap to prevent hair and soap scum from getting into your drain, so you can protect your pipes and minimize the hassle for yourself.
1. The Overall Best Liquid Drain Cleaner
Green Gobbler liquid clog remover has nearly 10,000 reviews, of which 82% are positive. This formula is designed to remove the build-up of hair, soap, paper and grease, but is also designed to be safe for septic systems and will not damage your pipes. Instead of bleach, sodium hydroxide or odor-heavy chemicals, it works by quickly lowering the pH levels in your plumbing system, destroying clogs. Since you get two bottles with every order (each with built-in measuring systems), it’s a great price too.
A reviewer wrote: “We have several sewers that have been a constant battle. They never clog completely, but slow down to a point where a shower becomes a bath. We’ve tried all the big brand names with little success. […] With just one application [of Green Gobbler] and sitting for about 3 hours, the drain COMPLETELY cleared.
2. The best value in drain cleaners
For just over $6 you get 80 fluid ounces Drano’s Max Gel clog remover liquid. It’s not the most eco-friendly option and smells a bit, but it does have a thick formula that cuts through hair and soap while supposedly remaining safe on PVC, metal pipes and septic systems. Currently, it has over 11,000 reviews and an overall rating of 4.5 stars, and it’s a go-to for buyers who’ve tried everything else with no success, especially since a “little bit goes a long way.” (For improved efficiency, reviewers recommend using it with boiling water.)
A reviewer wrote: “My sink and shower are always clogged and I have bought expensive products to unclog the drain. I’m so glad I found this at an affordable price because it’s so effective and works just as well as other products I’ve used.”
3. The most environmentally friendly liquid cleaner
For delicate septic systems and environmentally friendly households, Xion Lab Safer Clog Remover is the best option. Rather than using acidic ingredients to eat through clogs (and possibly 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 running as effectively as possible. Still, it is able to break down grease, soap scum, lint, oils and hair so you can unclog your drain without harsh chemicals.
A reviewer wrote: “We live in an old building (1940s) and it’s forbidden to use chemicals to clean or they could get through the pipes, so when we had a blockage in the shower drain I didn’t know what to do . I came across this product looking for something eco-friendly and followed the directions. I used half the bottle, left it overnight and flushed the drain in the morning. It worked perfectly!”
4. The cheapest shower drain hose
Don’t be fooled by the price. This one Forlivese hair hoses are shockingly effective, not to mention very easy to use. The 25-inch length reaches quite far into the drain, while the vertical spikes grab and remove clogs formed by soap scum and hair. For most showers and baths, you don’t even need to disassemble the drain plug. Each order comes with three hoses, all of which are reusable and recyclable, and so far thousands of reviewers have given them a perfect five stars.
A reviewer wrote“After dumping two entire containers of drain opener into the clog of my bathroom sink, I bought this one and pulled ‘a whole cat’ out of the drain. So cheap and easy, and you get three in a pack.”
5. The Severe Clog Drain Hose
If you’ve tried several rounds of liquid cleaner and you’re about to call a plumber, consider the POPULO electric discharge auger. Using a variable speed motor and a flexible, reinforced cable that extends 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 bathtubs.
A reviewer wrote: “It did the job for a lot less than a single call for a plumber. The entire job was done in less than an hour, including dismantling the drain, setting up protection, clearing blockages, reassembling and cleaning up.”
6. The best solution for shower drain odors
This one Green Gobbler BIO-FLOW strips are the most low-maintenance way to deal with minor blockages and unwanted odors. Just throw one down your drain and it releases slow-dissolving enzymes that digest grease, debris, and odor-causing bacteria. They are safe on all types of plumbing systems (including septic tanks), and since each lasts about a month, this order can take up to two years.
A reviewer wrote: “I tried several ways to get rid of the smell in our shower drain and nothing worked until I used these sticks! They are easy to put in and the smell went away almost immediately.”
Also great: the best way to prevent future clogs
Prevent future blockages with the Shower Magic Mushroom, which uses an ingenious 3D design to capture hairs before they can go down the drain. The stainless steel filter is easy to clean and allows water to flow through, while the pop-out silicone stopper allows the hair to wrap around it so you can simply wipe the strands away. (For tub style drains, the Mushroom tub has nearly 90,000 reviews and is my personal go-to for catching every hair before it can go down the drain — and I’m losing a lot.)
A reviewer wrote: “This is so easy to pull out the little rubber plug (which never seems to get slimy), the single hair ring wrapped neatly in a circle around the plug, pull it off and put it back in. It’s really well made and designed and fits perfectly and looks great on the shower floor, thank you for making my life so much easier.”