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Cleaning

Best Drain Unblocker

UPDATED JUNE 2022

Here we check out the best drain unblockers that are currently available in the UK. These are often referred to as drain cleaners. Over time all drains can get blocked by a build up or hair, limescale, toilet paper, fat, grease, small food pieces from washing dishes, soap residue and other such things.

The first tell tale sign in a sink, shower or toilet is that the water starts to drain away slowly. If left unattended it will eventually stop going away at all and you have an even bigger problem. You may also notice a pretty horrible smell which is never pleasant.

At that point you are really only left with a number of choices. We explain all of those later in this article. For now though we simply want to show you the top 5 drain unblockers that are currently available on the UK market. We have listed those below.

Top 5 Drain Unblocker/Cleaners

HG 139100106 Liquid Drain Unblocker

86% buyer satisfaction based on 13,000+ online buyer reviews

This is the second biggest seller online with a low £4-5 price tag. The buyer rating sits around 86% so 86 out of 100 buyers happy with their purchase.

This is a 1 litre bottle and it is safe to use on any type of pipe

It is easy to pour in and you then leave for 30 minutes before rinsing with hot water or flushing - use 300 ml for one application if it is something like hair

For stubborn blockages you may need to repeat this again

HG also have liquid, gel and other specific type unblockers

Pros

  • Buyers said this was cheap and effective in most cases
  • 62% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • Buyers said really easy to use
  • 87% of buyers had success

Cons

  • 6% of buyers said it didn't work

Mr Muscle Drain Unblocker

90% buyer satisfaction based on 11,000+ online buyer reviews

This is also a popular option for many UK buyers from the popular Mr Muscle brand with an average £6-8 price tag. The buyer rating sits around 90% so 90 out of 100 buyers happy with their purchase. 

This is a 2 pack and each bottle contains 500 ml and they offer a money back guarantee

It is safe for both plastic and metal pipes

They claim you pour in one bottle and only have to leave it for 5 minutes before washing through with hot water

Pros

  • The majority of buyers says this is the best that they have used and it is really quick
  • 70% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • Buyers said this is good value for money and works really well
  • 87% of buyers had success

Cons

  • 2% of buyers said it didn't work
  • A few buyers said it made the problem worse

Buster Bathroom Plughole Unblocker

88% buyer satisfaction based on 6,000+ online buyer reviews

This bathroom plug hole unblocker gets solid ratings and is one of the cheapest with an average £3-4 price tag.

The buyer rating sits around 88% so 88 out of 100 buyers happy with their purchase.

This is a 300 ml bottle and made to unblock bathroom blockages that have slow running water

Pour the liquid in and leave overnight or at least for an hour and then run water or flush for the best results

Pros

  • Buyers say this is the best unblocker they have ever used
  • 69% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • The majority of buyers said this was very good value for money
  • 85% of buyers had success

Cons

  • 4% of buyers said this didn't work for them

Green Gobbler Dissolve Tub

78% buyer satisfaction based on 57,000+ online buyer reviews

This is the number one seller with thousands of buyer reviews and has a £16 price tag. The buyer rating sits around 78% so 78 out of 100 buyers happy with their purchase.

This is a 916 ml bottle with enough for 2 applications and as you can see is a massive seller online and in many gardening shops

You can pour one chamber into sinks or bath tubs and if it is a toilet use 2 chambers. Leave overnight if you can or at least 2 hours and then flush away or run water to remove any blockages

This company also offers a 30 day money back guarantee

Pros

  • Buyers say this works really well but it is expensive
  • 54% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • Buyers said it is easy to use and works better the longer you can leave it
  • 81% of buyers had success

Cons

  • 13% of buyers said it didn't work
  • A few buyers said this product is far too expensive

Spear and Jackson Heavy Duty Unblocker

82% buyer satisfaction based on 700+ online buyer reviews

This is from the well known gardening Spear  Jackson brand with an average £11-12 price tag.

The buyer rating sits at 82% so 82 out of 100 buyers happy with their purchase.

This is safe to use on all types of pipes and they recommend pouring a full container down the offending drain and leaving it overnight or at least for 3 hours - after that simply flush or run hot water down the drain to get the blockage cleared away

With this offer you get 2 bottles and each bottle contains 500 ml

Pros

  • Buyers say this worked really well for them on smaller blockages
  • 51% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • 73% of buyers had success

Cons

  • 7% of buyers said it didn't work
  • A few buyers said it was too expensive

Methods for Unblocking Sink, Shower, Bath & Toilet Drains

Hot Water, Baking Soda, Vinegar or Bleach

Some people will try pouring down kettles of boiling water and this can often work. Some people use baking soda or vinegar and hen hot water. Again, this can work as well.

The problem with those simple solutions is that they are almost always short term. The baking soda or the hot water may be able to shift scum or loosen fat but they won't do anything to remove hair or things life small pieces of food. They will remain there and start to build up again.

Plungers

Believe it or not a plunger uses a scientific method to work. (Boyle's Law). When you seal a drain with a plunger and push it down, you increase the build up of pressure in a pipe. This helps push the water downwards. When you then pull the plunger back up, the suction reduces the pressure allowing the water to rise again.

This creates a sloshing motion and it is this motion that can help unclog a drain. These vary in cost depending on what size and design you prefer but anything between £4-15.

You can read our information on the best plungers to use.

Drain Unblocker/Cleaner

If you have tried a plunger or don't own one, then a drain unblocker or a drain cleaner is a very popular option. This is simply a liquid that you pour down the drain, leave for a period of time, and then rinse through by turning on the cold water.

The unblocker goes about dissolving hairs or whatever is blocking your drain or waste pipes and helps clear any simple blockages. These vary in cost depending on which brand you want to use and anything between £3-12. We have included our top 5 list above based on online buyer reviews.

Drain Rods

If you have tried a plunger, or an unblocker described above and that hasn't worked, then it is likely the blockage is further down the drain or waste pipe. In that case your best solution is a set of drain rods. These are rods about a metre in length that you screw together and push down the pipe.

They come with a double worm screw and a plunger and cost anything between £20-20 for s et of good quality drain rods.

You can read our information on drain rods by clicking here.

Plumber or Drain Company

If you don't fancy nay of the above or none of them have worked, then your final choice will be to use a professional company. They will get to the root of the problem, but it is never going to be a cheap option. Typical costs for this type of professional service will be anything from £100-250 depending on call out charges and time sent to clear the blockage.

Drain Unblocker Buying Guide

As you can see there are a number of these available on the UK market. The Mr Muscle liquid overall has the best satisfaction rating with the highest success rate overall.

They basically all follow the same application process where you pour a liquid in, leave it for a period of time, and then rinse with hot water, or flush when it is the loo.

Safety When Using a Drain Unblocker

Some of these products may contain toxics and as such you do need to be careful when handling them. Ideally wear some type of rubber gloves and be really careful that it doesn't splash into your eyes.

You should always follow carefully the directions on the drain cleaner's label.

Where possible, try and keep the room where you are using the drain cleaner well ventilated to avoid the build up of any smells.

When pouring drain cleaner, be very careful not to splash it, as it can damage other surrounding materials such as ceramic, stone, marble etc

It is really important not to mix any type of drain cleaner with other cleaners such as bleach. That could cause a bad chemical reaction, and in some cases create toxic gases and even small explosions.

Always remember to run plenty of water down after the drain unblocker has had a chance to work. In sinks, baths or showers you can simply run the hot tap for about 10-15 minutes to achieve that. In toilets you can flush several times to achieve that, and in outside drains it is best to use a hose. If you don't have a hose then put down several buckets of water.

Resources used to help write this article

Reporting a blocked drain - Gov.UK

Plumbing & Drainage Companies List - UK Directory

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