Ultimate Drain Cleaning Solutions: Best Commercial Drain Cleaners Reviewed

By Brian on July 11, 2024

The Best Commercial Drain Cleaner: What You Need to Know

Finding the best commercial drain cleaner is essential for tackling stubborn clogs and keeping your plumbing in top shape. Whether you’re dealing with a slow-draining sink or a completely blocked toilet, a reliable drain cleaner can save you time and frustration.

Quick Recommendations:
Best Overall: Green Gobbler Main Line Opener
Best Budget Option: Zep 10-Minute Drain Opener Gel
Best for Heavy Duty Clogs: Santeen Sulfuric Acid Drain Opener

Chemical drain cleaners can rapidly dissolve hair, grease, paper, and organic matter, restoring water flow and preventing costly plumbing issues. However, choosing the right one involves understanding their mechanisms, safety precautions, and compatibility with your pipes.

Why It’s Important:
Using an effective drain cleaner improves water flow, reduces odors, and prevents damage that can result from persistent clogs. Regular maintenance with the right product can extend the life of your plumbing system and ensure a healthy living environment.

Safety First:
Drain cleaners contain potent chemicals. It’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take safety measures such as wearing gloves and ensuring proper ventilation during use. Improper use can result in pipe damage or harmful fumes.

Types of Drain Cleaners and Their Effectiveness - best commercial drain cleaner infographic infographic-line-3-steps

Understanding Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaners are essential tools for maintaining clear and functional plumbing systems. They come in various forms and compositions, each designed to tackle specific types of clogs. Understanding the types, chemical composition, and mechanisms of these cleaners can help you choose the best commercial drain cleaner for your needs.

Types of Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaners generally fall into three categories:

  1. Alkaline Cleaners: These are the most common and are typically found in household products. They contain chemicals like sodium hydroxide (lye) and sodium hypochlorite (bleach). Alkaline cleaners are effective against grease, hair, and organic matter.

  2. Acidic Cleaners: These contain strong acids like sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid. They are powerful and can dissolve tougher clogs, such as those caused by paper products or mineral deposits. However, they are more hazardous and require careful handling.

  3. Enzymatic Cleaners: These use natural enzymes and bacteria to break down organic materials. They are less harsh and environmentally friendly, making them ideal for regular maintenance.

Chemical Composition

The effectiveness of a drain cleaner largely depends on its chemical composition. Here are some key components:

  • Sodium Hydroxide (Lye): A strong base that dissolves grease and organic matter. Found in many household drain cleaners.

  • Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach): Used for its disinfecting properties and ability to break down organic materials.

  • Sulfuric Acid: A powerful acid that can dissolve almost any clog but is highly corrosive and dangerous.

  • Lauramine Oxide: A surfactant that reduces surface tension, making it easier for the cleaner to penetrate clogs. It’s bleach-resistant, which enhances its effectiveness in products.

Mechanisms of Action

Drain cleaners work through different mechanisms to clear clogs:

  1. Chemical Reaction: Alkaline and acidic cleaners react with the clogging material to break it down. For example, sodium hydroxide reacts with grease to form soap and glycerol, which are water-soluble and can be flushed away.

  2. Heat Generation: Some cleaners produce heat during the chemical reaction, which helps to melt grease and other materials. However, excessive heat can damage pipes, so this mechanism should be monitored closely.

  3. Surfactants: These chemicals reduce the surface tension of water, allowing it to penetrate and break up clogs more effectively. Surfactants like lauramine oxide are particularly useful in this regard.

  4. Enzymatic Action: Enzymatic cleaners use natural enzymes to digest organic matter slowly. This method is safe for all types of pipes and environmentally friendly but may take longer to show results.

Understanding these types, compositions, and mechanisms can guide you in selecting the most effective and safe drain cleaner for your specific needs.

Best Commercial Drain Cleaner

Choosing the Right Drain Cleaner

When selecting the best commercial drain cleaner, it’s crucial to consider several criteria. Let’s break down the key factors:

1. Effectiveness:
The primary purpose of a drain cleaner is to clear clogs effectively. Chemical drain cleaners are highly effective at breaking down tough clogs composed of grease, hair, and organic matter. However, enzymatic cleaners, while slower, are gentler and safer for pipes.

2. Safety:
Safety is paramount when dealing with potent chemicals. Acidic drain cleaners are highly corrosive and can cause significant damage to both pipes and skin if not handled correctly. Always wear safety gear, including gloves, goggles, and a mask, and ensure proper ventilation when using these products. Enzymatic cleaners, on the other hand, are safer to handle and pose less risk to your plumbing.

3. Cost:
Cost can vary widely among drain cleaners. Chemical cleaners are often more expensive due to their powerful ingredients. Enzymatic cleaners tend to be more affordable and are a cost-effective solution for regular maintenance. Consider your budget and the frequency of use when choosing a product.

4. Pipe Compatibility:
Not all drain cleaners are suitable for all pipe types. Acidic cleaners can corrode metal pipes and damage older plumbing systems. For PVC or modern plastic pipes, alkaline or enzymatic cleaners are safer choices. Always check the product label for compatibility information.

5. Clog Type:
The type of clog you’re dealing with also influences your choice. Grease clogs benefit from alkaline cleaners, while hair and organic matter are best tackled with acidic or enzymatic cleaners. Knowing the composition of the clog helps in selecting the most effective product.

6. Environmental Impact:
Environmental concerns are increasingly important. Enzymatic cleaners are biodegradable and less harmful to the environment compared to chemical cleaners, which can introduce toxic substances into the water supply. Opting for greener solutions can reduce your ecological footprint.

Best Practices for Using Drain Cleaners

Using drain cleaners correctly ensures safety and effectiveness. Here are some best practices:

1. Safety Gear:
Always wear appropriate safety gear. This includes gloves, goggles, long sleeves, and a mask to protect against splashes and fumes.

2. Application Techniques:
Read Instructions: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Ventilation: Ensure the area is well-ventilated to avoid inhaling fumes.
Gradual Addition: For acidic cleaners, add the cleaner to water, not the other way around, to prevent violent reactions.
Water Temperature: Use hot water for alkaline cleaners and cold water for acidic cleaners to enhance their effectiveness.

3. Preventative Measures:
Regular Maintenance: Use enzymatic cleaners monthly to prevent clogs from forming.
Avoid Flushing Non-Flushables: Items like baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, and grease should never be flushed down the drain.
Install Strainers: Use drain strainers to catch hair and large particles before they enter the pipes.

By considering these factors and following best practices, you can choose and use the best commercial drain cleaner effectively and safely.

For more information on our commercial drain cleaning services, visit our service page.

Alternatives to Chemical Drain Cleaners

While chemical drain cleaners can be effective, sometimes you need alternative methods to tackle tough clogs. Here are some tried-and-true techniques:


Plunging is often the first line of defense against clogs. A plunger creates suction and pressure to dislodge blockages. It’s simple and doesn’t involve chemicals.

  • How to Use: Ensure a tight seal around the drain, then push and pull the plunger vigorously.
  • Best For: Minor clogs in sinks, toilets, and showers.


Snaking involves using a flexible rod, called a plumber’s snake, to break up clogs. It’s more effective for deeper blockages that plunging can’t reach.

  • How to Use: Insert the snake into the drain and push it until you feel resistance. Then, twist and push forward to break up the clog.
  • Best For: Stubborn clogs, especially those caused by hair and small objects.

Hydro Jetting

Hydro jetting uses high-pressure water to clean pipes thoroughly. This method is highly effective but usually requires professional equipment.

Hydro Jetting - best commercial drain cleaner

  • How to Use: A professional will insert a hose with a special nozzle into the drain. The high-pressure water blasts away grease, tree roots, and other debris.
  • Best For: Severe blockages and routine maintenance for preventing future clogs.

Natural Remedies

For those who prefer eco-friendly options, natural remedies like baking soda and vinegar can be surprisingly effective.

  • How to Use: Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup of vinegar. Let it sit for a few hours, then flush with boiling water.
  • Best For: Mild clogs and slow drains, especially in kitchen sinks.

When to Call a Professional

Sometimes, DIY methods aren’t enough. Here’s when you should consider calling in the pros:

  • Persistent Clogs: If a clog keeps coming back, you might have a bigger issue that needs professional attention.
  • Recurring Issues: Frequent clogs can indicate underlying problems like tree roots or damaged pipes.
  • Large Scale Applications: For commercial buildings or large homes, professional drain cleaning ensures thorough and long-lasting results.

By exploring these alternatives, you can find the best method to keep your drains clear and functioning. Next, we’ll address frequently asked questions about drain cleaners and plumbing solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions about Drain Cleaners

What is the Best Commercial Drain Cleaner?

Choosing the best commercial drain cleaner can be tricky, but a few products consistently stand out.

Green Gobbler Main Line Opener is often recommended for its effectiveness. In our tests, it dissolved 100% of pet hair, 78% of organic compounds, 35% of grease, and 16% of paper products. This makes it a versatile choice for many common clogs. It also has a moderate pH of 10.73, which means it’s less harsh on your pipes compared to stronger alkaline solutions.

Zep Drain Defense is another strong contender. Known for its powerful enzymatic formula, it’s particularly effective against organic matter like hair and food particles. This makes it a great option for kitchen and bathroom drains.

Santeen Drain Opener is a heavy-duty cleaner that excels with tough clogs. It’s particularly effective in commercial settings where clogs might be more severe. However, it’s important to use it with caution due to its strong chemical composition.

How Do Plumbers Typically Clear Drains?

Professional plumbers often rely on mechanical methods rather than chemicals to clear drains. These methods include:

  • Snaking: A plumber’s snake, or auger, is a long, flexible tool that breaks up and removes clogs. It’s effective for most household clogs and doesn’t involve harsh chemicals, making it safer for your pipes.

  • Hydro Jetting: This method uses high-pressure water jets to blast away clogs and clean the inside of pipes. It’s particularly effective for large-scale applications and stubborn clogs caused by grease or tree roots.

Are Chemical Drain Cleaners Safe for All Pipes?

The safety of chemical drain cleaners depends on the type of pipes in your home:

  • PVC Pipes: Modern PVC pipes are generally resistant to chemical drain cleaners, but frequent use can still cause damage over time. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to minimize risk.

  • Old Pipes: Older pipes, especially those made of galvanized steel or cast iron, can be more susceptible to damage from harsh chemicals. For these pipes, it’s best to use mechanical methods or consult a professional.

  • Metal Pipes: Metal pipes, like copper or brass, can corrode when exposed to certain chemicals. Be cautious and opt for drain cleaners that are labeled as safe for metal pipes.

By understanding the strengths and limitations of different drain cleaners and methods, you can make an informed choice that keeps your plumbing in good shape. Now, let’s move on to some final thoughts and maintenance tips to keep your drains running smoothly.


Maintaining your drains can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. Here are some practical tips to keep your drains clear and functional:

Maintenance Tips

1. Regular Cleaning:
– Use mild cleaners or natural remedies like baking soda and vinegar monthly.
– Flush your drains with hot water weekly to keep them clear of buildup.

2. Avoiding Clogs:
Dispose of grease properly: Pouring grease down the drain can lead to stubborn clogs. Instead, let it solidify and throw it away.
Mind what you flush: Only flush toilet paper and human waste. Items like baby wipes and feminine hygiene products can cause blockages.

3. Preventative Measures:
Install drain guards: These can catch hair and debris before they cause clogs.
Regular inspections: Have a professional inspect your plumbing system annually to catch potential issues early.

Go Pro Plumbing

At Go Pro Plumbing, we understand the importance of maintaining a healthy plumbing system. Our team of experts is equipped to handle even the most stubborn clogs, ensuring your drains are always in top shape.

  • Expertise and Efficiency: With years of experience, our professionals can quickly identify and resolve any drain issues.
  • Prevention of Further Damage: Incorrectly attempting to clear a clog can cause more harm than good. Our services help prevent costly future repairs.
  • Long-term Solutions: We provide comprehensive solutions that prevent recurring clogs, saving you time and stress.
  • Health and Safety: Clogged drains can become breeding grounds for bacteria and cause unpleasant odors. Our services help maintain a healthier living environment.

For more information on our commercial drain cleaning services, visit our service page.

By following these maintenance tips and knowing when to call in the professionals, you can ensure that your drains remain clear and functional for years to come.

Keep your plumbing system in top shape with Go Pro Plumbing, and enjoy peace of mind knowing that your drains are in expert hands.

Category: Commercial Services