House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Last updated:

5 Best Drain Cleaners for Clogged Toilets in 2021 — Reviews & Top Picks

Clogged Toilet

Few things in everyday life are as frustrating as a clogged toilet or drain. It not only makes for an awful sight and smell, but it can also lead to disease. Research shows that blocked toilets and drains can cause sicknesses such as sepsis, pneumonia, and Legionnaires’ disease.

Fortunately, a few pumps of a plunger is usually enough to get things back to normal — most of the time. However, when that does not work, you will have a real problem on your hands. You can call an expert to handle it for you, though this usually results in a hefty bill.

The good news is that you have one last ace up your sleeve: drain cleaners.

Some drain cleaners are better than others are when it comes to efficiency and safety. If you have read numerous product reviews and are still unable to identify the best cleaner to use, you have come to the right place.

After testing numerous drain cleaning products, we have created this comprehensive guide to the best drain cleaners for clogged toilets. Hopefully, our reviews will be helpful in your quest!


A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Thrift T-600 Thrift T-600
  • Fast-acting
  • Can be used in all types of drains
  • Safe to use
  • Best Value
    Second place
    RID-X Septic Tank Enzyme Treatment RID-X Septic Tank Enzyme Treatment
  • Can be used proactively
  • Safe to use
  • Safe for the environment
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Bio-Clean Drain Bio-Clean Drain
  • Safe to use
  • Does not harm the environment
  • Can be used proactively
  • Green Gobbler Ultimate Drain Cleaner Green Gobbler Ultimate Drain Cleaner
  • Safe for the environment
  • Safe to use
  • Works proactively
  • Drano Max Gel Clog Remover Drano Max Gel Clog Remover
  • Budget friendly
  • Fast-acting
  • Money-back guarantee
  • The 5 Best Drain Cleaners for Clogged Toilets — Reviews 2021

    Are you looking for the right drain cleaner? Tests, research, and user experiences have revealed the following to be the best drain cleaners on the market today.

    1. Thrift T-600 Granular Drain Cleaner — Best Overall

    Thrift T-600 Granular Drain Cleaner

    If you are like most people, who aren’t willing to wait the whole day for a product to “work its magic,” then the T-600 Granular Drain Cleaner by Thrift is what you are looking for.

    This alkaline-based drain cleaner has earned itself a reputation for clearing blocks that most other products have been unable to take care of. What’s more, it does so within record time, typically a few minutes.

    The T-600 granular drain cleaner is not only effective at treating blocked toilets but also bathrooms, grease traps, kitchens and sewer lines. Moreover, it does not have a damaging effect on polished brass, plastic, porcelain, or chrome. However, it can be damaging to aluminum. Additionally, it can burn your hands, so be sure to wear gloves during use.

    Nevertheless, it is extremely easy to use, as there is no complicated mixing procedure involved. All you need to do is simply add the necessary amount of powder — as per the instructions on the label — to the problem area. The next step is to pour hot water into the toilet to activate the granules.

    Its fast-acting nature, ease of use, and relative safety is the reason that we have it as the number-one product on this list.

    Pros
    • Fast-acting
    • Can be used in all types of drains
    • Safe to use
    Cons
    • Damaging to aluminum and bare skin

    2. RID-X Septic Tank Enzyme Treatment — Best Value

    RID-X Septic Tank Enzyme Treatment

    If the cause of your frustration is a backed-up septic tank, then we just might have the perfect drain cleaner for you.

    In addition to clearing the blockage, this enzyme-based drain cleaner prevents the obstruction from happening in the first place. The formula breaks down waste continuously, thereby ensuring that your septic system stays insusceptible to waste backup.

    A pack of RID-X has enough power to take care of a 1,500-gallon septic tank for up to 16 weeks, which makes it a cheap septic tank maintenance solution.

    Do not worry; this product will also solve the clogging problem in your toilet, as it attacks paper, protein, and oils. As mentioned, it is enzyme-based, containing active ingredients such as amylase, cellulase, lipase, and protease, which makes it safe to handle.

    Moreover, it does not have a detrimental effect on the environment, and it is quite affordable. This makes it the best drain cleaner for clogged toilets for the money

    To use, simply pour the necessary amount into the toilet and flush twice.

    Pros
    • Can be used proactively
    • Safe to use
    • Safe for the environment
    • Economical
    Cons
    • Might take a while to work

    3. Bio-Clean Drain Septic Bacteria — Premium Choice

    If you are conscious about the impact of your actions on the environment, then the chances are that you want a drain cleaner that does not compromise those ideals for effectiveness. This drain cleaner by Bio-Clean is one such product.

    It utilizes a proprietary blend of bacteria, as well as enzymes such as cellulose, amylase, protease, and lipase, to achieve its objectives.

    When you mix the powder with warm water and pour it into the toilet, those active ingredients work to digest any organic waste. This process involves converting the obstructing material into water, mineral ash, and carbon dioxide, which are harmless to the environment and to you as well. This means that it will not hurt you in case it comes into contact with your skin. Nonetheless, it is still important to wear gloves when handling such products. This drain cleaner also does not have a detrimental effect on your plumbing, as the bacteria and enzymes do not act on inorganic materials.

    Pros
    • Safe to use
    • Does not harm the environment
    • Can be used proactively
    Cons
    • Does not eliminate inorganic blockages

    4. Green Gobbler Ultimate Drain Cleaner

    Green Gobbler Ultimate Drain Cleaner

    This drain cleaner by Green Gobbler is one of the safest clog-clearing products that you can use.

    Its main weapon is a plant-based chemical known as lauramine oxide. This active ingredient does not result in adverse reaction when it comes to contact with your skin. However, it may cause irritation if you have sensitive skin. Fortunately, simply washing the area with cold water should be enough to alleviate the irritation.

    This drain cleaner is especially effective at eliminating blockages resulting from grease, hair, paper, and wipes. It is also quite gentle on the environment, as well as plumbing. In fact, this drain cleaner purposely clings onto your plumbing’s interior to prevent the risk of blockages.

    It will also come as a relief to learn that Green Gobbler’s Ultimate drain cleaner is quite easy to use. This is because it comes in the form of a thick liquid that does not require any mixing; simply pour the recommended dose into the toilet, then flush it.

    Unlike some drain cleaners, this product does not produce any gas or odor while in action. It is also non-flammable.

    Pros
    • Safe for the environment
    • Safe to use
    • Works proactively
    • Easy to use
    Cons
    • Needs time to work

    5. Drano Max Gel Clog Remover

    Drano Max Gel Clog Remover

    If you are a victim of frequent blockages, the Drano Max Gel Clog Remover can come in handy. This is because it is effective at its job while being budget friendly. This allows you to use it frequently without leaving a dent in your pocket.

    This alkaline-based drain cleaner is also one of the fastest-acting products on the market today, with some customers reporting that it cleared their blockage in as little as 7 minutes.

    Nonetheless, even though being alkaline-based has much to do with this product’s effectiveness, it unfortunately has a detrimental effect on the environment. You also have to be careful when handling the liquid, as it can have a burning effect on the skin.

    All in all, Drano Max Gel will get the job done.

    Pros
    • Budget friendly
    • Fast-acting
    • Money-back guarantee
    Cons
    • Negative impact on the environment
    • Can burn skin

    Buyer’s Guide

    So, what does a great drain cleaner entail? To answer that question, we will need to consider the following.

    How Drain Cleaners Work

    Drain cleaners are typically powders or liquids that contain chemicals that react with the obstructing material to dissolve it. Depending on the active ingredients in a drain cleaner, these products work to remove blockages using either one or more of the following mechanisms:

    Heat

    Alkaline-based or caustic drain cleaners achieve their objective by elevating the temperature of the area surrounding the blockage. The idea is to make the obstruction to break down or melt, thereby dispersing it. They typically contain ingredients such as potassium hydroxide and lye.

    Acid Hydrolysis

    When you combine certain acids with water, a chemical reaction known as acid hydrolysis usually ensues. Acid hydrolysis yields a potent compound that is capable of dissolving most things. Nonetheless, due to the dangerous, corrosive nature of these products, they are best left to professionals to handle.

    Oxidization

    Oxidization is a process that involves breaking down a substance at a fundamental level by making it release electrons from its chemical structure. This usually involves a highly oxidative substance acting on the material, such as hypochlorites, nitrates, perchlorates, and peroxides. Doing this reduces the mass of the obtrusive material, thereby encouraging it to disperse.

    Enzymatic Action

    Drain cleaners that utilize this mechanism are the safest to use, for both you and the environment. Their active ingredients are enzymes and bacteria that eat away at organic material. Unfortunately, if the cause of the blockage is an inorganic substance, these drain cleaners will not be of any use.

    toilet flushing
    Image credit: Am.p, Shutterstock

    Performance vs. Safety

    Using the most powerful drain cleaner to unclog your toilet will be pointless if the consequences of its actions are damaged pipes and injuries.

    On that note, consider the following:

    Old Plumbing and Aluminum

    If the plumbing in your house is old and showing signs of corrosion, avoid acid- and alkaline-based drain cleaners, as they will exacerbate the corrosion. Use enzyme-based products instead, as they do not react with inorganic material.

    Complete Blockages

    A complete blockage does not allow for even the least amount of drainage to occur. If you are having such a problem, do not utilize acid- and alkaline-based drain cleaners. This is because they can get blocked and start corroding your pipes. The ideal solution to complete blockages is to have a professional check it out to avoid unnecessary damage.

    Volume of Product

    If your system is not prone to clogging, it makes economic sense to purchase a smaller amount of a product. However, if your toilet is prone to clogging, then you will be better off purchasing a larger volume, as there are cost savings to be made by buying in bulk.

    Nonetheless, a drain-cleaning product should just be part of the solution. If you are experiencing frequent blockages, there is a good chance that there’s an underlying problem that needs checking out. Therefore, use the drain cleaner as you prepare for a professional inspection of your system.

    modern bathroom
    Image Credit: Lizzie Benton, Flickr

    Safety

    Ultimately, you do not want to be working with products that can harm you, especially if you are going to be using them regularly. Moreover, it is important to be conscious of the impact of your actions on the environment. As mentioned, acid- and alkaline-based drain cleaners can be dangerous to both you and the environment.

    Nonetheless, there comes a time when one simply has to use them; for example, if you want to solve the clogging problem fast or if you realize that the blockage is being caused by an inorganic substance.

    If that is the case, ensure that you adhere to the recommended safety protocols. For example, always wear heavy-duty gloves, an apron, and goggles when handling drain cleaners. In the case of acid- or alkaline-based cleaners, wear a mask and open the windows to avoid inhaling the dangerous fumes.

    The good news, however, is that if you follow these precautions, you should have no reason to worry.


    Conclusion

    Clogged toilets are incredibly irritating. As mentioned, they not only make for sore sights and awful smells but can also be potential health hazards.

    Your plunger and drain cleaner form your first line of defense against clogged toilets. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure that your drain cleaner is up to the task. We recommend Thrift T-600 Granular drain cleaner, as it is a powerful, fast-acting solution. It also has minimal corrosive effects on your plumbing, which makes it ideal for long-term use. But if you are on a budget, the RID-X Septic Tank Enzyme Treatment will still serve you well.

    The other options on this list are also effective, so allow your preferences to guide you to your choice.


    Featured Image Credit: Thomas von Stetten, Shutterstock

    RELATED POSTS