For any household with a garbage disposal, having the right drain cleaner becomes necessary. Garbage disposals are prone to clogs and can be especially sensitive if not cleaned regularly.
To keep your sink free of blockage and running smoothly, it’s essential to select an effective drain cleaner that is safe for your pipes and won’t damage them over time.
In this article, we’ll review 6 of the best drain cleaners for garbage disposals available this year and provide you with our top picks. Read on to learn more!
A Glance at Our Top Picks (2023 Update)
| Best Overall ||Drano Max Gel|| ||CHECK PRICE|
| Best Value ||CLR Clear Pipes & Drains|| ||CHECK PRICE|
| Premium Choice ||Bio-Clean|| ||CHECK PRICE|
|Green Gobbler|| ||CHECK PRICE|
|Earthworm Drain Cleaner and Deodorizer|| ||CHECK PRICE|
The 6 Best Drain Cleaners for Garbage Disposals
1. Drano Max Gel – Best Overall
Our number one pick goes to the Drano Max Gel. If your garbage disposal is clogged, Drano Max Gel can easily cut through the grease and gunk causing it. This drain cleaner is powerful enough to break down standing water, soap scum, hair, paper towels, and more.
Drano Max Gel works quickly, so you don’t have to wait hours for your drains to clear. This is some truly powerful stuff. But with that power comes toxic chemicals that require you to be very careful when using the cleaner. So always make sure to follow the instructions carefully to avoid any accidental poisoning or burning.
As powerful as it is, Drano Max Gel is surprisingly affordable, making it a great option for anyone looking to clear out their garbage disposal at a low cost.
- Cuts through grease and gunk
- Works quickly
- Contains toxic chemicals that require careful use
2. CLR Clear Pipes & Drains – Best Value
If you’re looking for a cleaner that can also take care of odors and break up clogs on the cheap, then CLR Clear Pipes & Drains is the way to go.
This drain cleaner uses sodium hydroxide and other natural ingredients to dissolve tough clogs, as well as deodorize your drains without additional scent additives.
It’s also safe for all types of pipes and can be used in sinks, tubs, showers, and more. Plus, the CLR Clear Pipes & Drains is surprisingly affordable and comes in a generous 32-ounce bottle, so you’ll get plenty of use out of it.
- Safe for all types of pipes
- Cleans and deodorizes
- May require multiple applications
3. Bio-Clean – Premium Choice
Bio-Clean is an all-natural and effective solution for cleaning up your drainage systems. It’s formulated using 100% biodegradable ingredients to give you a safe, non-caustic way of breaking down stubborn clogs without damaging pipes or surfaces.
This powerful cleaner is designed specifically to clear grease, fats, oil, and other organic build-ups in drain lines, septic tanks, and grease traps. With its fast-acting formula, you can quickly and easily get your drains unclogged with no caustic chemicals or harsh scrubbing required. Plus, the 2-can pack is perfect for larger systems and multiple drains that need to be cleaned.
If you’re looking for an effective yet eco-friendly way to keep your drains running smoothly, Bio-Clean is sure to meet your needs! It’s a bit pricey, but if you want the best in drain cleaning, this is one of the top three this year.
- All-natural, biodegradable ingredients
- Powerful and fast-acting formula
- 100% guaranteed
- Pricey compared to other drain cleaners
4. Green Gobbler
Next on the list is Green Gobbler, a 100% natural drain cleaner that relies on enzymes and bacteria to clear away clogs without any harsh chemicals. This eco-friendly option is safe for all types of pipes, including PVC, metal, rubber, and plastic.
Green Gobbler works by breaking down organic materials like grease, soap scum, hair, and food particles that can accumulate in your drain. It’s also safe for septic systems, meaning it won’t affect the bacteria levels in your tank.
Plus, its non-toxic formula is much safer to use than chemical options and doesn’t release any dangerous fumes into the air.
The only downside is that it might take a bit longer for Green Gobbler to work than chemical-based cleaners. But the tradeoff of natural and safe ingredients makes up for it.
- 100% natural
- Safe for all types of pipes
- Non-toxic formula
- Might take longer to work than chemical-based cleaners
5. Earthworm Drain Cleaner and Deodorizer
Earthworm Drain Cleaner is a natural and family-safe solution for clogs in your garbage disposal. It is made with 100% safe and natural ingredients, including citric acid, to break down grease and other organic materials that can accumulate in the drain pipes. Unlike chemical cleaners, Earthworm Drain Cleaner and Deodorizer won’t damage plumbing or create noxious fumes. It is also eco-friendly and biodegradable, making it a safe option for homes with children and pets.
Moreover, Earthworm comes in a 64 fl oz container that’s easy to pour into the garbage disposal. You can even use it as a drain deodorizer when you need an extra boost of freshness in your home.
- Natural and family-safe ingredients
- Eco-friendly and biodegradable
- Can be used as a drain deodorizer
- May not work effectively on tough clogs
6. Thrift Marketing Insta-Flo
With a fast-acting formula that busts open most clogs in 60 seconds or less, Insta-Flo is a smart choice for keeping your garbage disposal running smoothly. It’s non-corrosive and won’t damage pipes or septic systems, so you can use it with confidence.
The concentrated formula ensures maximum effectiveness in even the most stubborn clogs. Even better, you get 1 pound of this powerful formula for an excellent price.
Overall, Insta-Flo from Thrift Marketing is an excellent buy for unclogging your garbage disposal quickly, effectively, and safely. It’s long-lasting and offers great value for your money.
- Concentrated formula for maximum effectiveness
- Fast-acting and non-corrosive
- Long-lasting solution
- Requires a lot for best results
Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Drain Cleaner for Garbage Disposals
When shopping for the best drain cleaner for garbage disposal, there are a few factors to consider. First, always choose a product that is designed specifically for plumbing and septic systems. This will ensure it doesn’t damage your pipes or septic tank.
Also, look at how the product is marketed. If you need a fast-acting solution for a stubborn clog, opt for an option that promises quick results. If you want to save money in the long run, go with a product that comes in a large container or concentrated formula.
Finally, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly and family-safe option, go with natural ingredients like citric acid or biodegradable formulas.
By considering these factors, you can easily find the right drain cleaner for your garbage disposal and keep it running smoothly.
The above reviews of the best drain cleaners for garbage disposals this year provide a great overview of quality products that are sure to meet your needs.
For the best bang for your buck, our pick goes to Drano Max Gel. It’s affordable, fast-acting, and safe for septic systems. But if you need to break down clogs on the cheap, CLR’s Clear Pipes & Drains does a fine job of clearing out most clogs at a budget-friendly price.
If you prefer a more natural option, Bio-Clean is sure to serve you well. Just be prepared to invest a bit more in this product.
Whichever option you choose, make sure to read the instructions carefully and use the product as directed for the best results. That way, you’ll ensure that your garbage disposal remains unclogged and functions optimally.
Featured Image Credit: mariakray, Shutterstock
- 1 A Glance at Our Top Picks (2023 Update)
- 2 The 6 Best Drain Cleaners for Garbage Disposals
- 2.1 1. Drano Max Gel – Best Overall
- 2.3 3. Bio-Clean – Premium Choice
- 2.4 4. Green Gobbler
- 2.5 5. Earthworm Drain Cleaner and Deodorizer
- 2.6 6. Thrift Marketing Insta-Flo
- 3 Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Drain Cleaner for Garbage Disposals
- 4 Conclusion
Our top pick is Drano Max Gel Clog Remover, which is also a favorite among cleaning experts. Its powerful gel formula is safe for most drains and pipes and capable of quickly clearing up the toughest clogs in bathtubs, sinks, garbage disposals, and septic systems.What drain cleaner do plumbers recommend? ›
Drano is the Q-tip of drain cleaners — the brand you probably think of first for tackling clogs. It turns 100 years old in 2023, so our experts certainly know it well. We were very impressed by the clearing power of this gel formulation, which is safe for all plumbing and septic systems.What drain cleaners are safe for garbage disposals? ›
- Instant Power33.8 oz. Disposal and Drain Cleaner Lemon. ...
- Natural Armor128 oz. Drain Clog Remover. ...
- Instant Power2 l RV and Marine Holding Tank Treatment. Model# 1860. ...
- Drano16 oz. Snake Plus Tool and Gel Clog Remover Kit (6-Pack) ...
- EcoNowOxy-Tabs Drain and Pipe Build-Up Remover and Cleaner - 5 Applications. ...
- Natural Armor64 oz.
Direct contact with drain cleaners can irritate your eyes, burn your skin, and cause shortness of breath. Mixing drain cleaners, even accidentally, with other cleaning products can result in deadly gasses. Drain cleaner should never be used in standing water in toilets or clogged showers.Is vinegar and baking soda safe for garbage disposal? ›
Baking soda, vinegar, boiling water, and ice are better for your garbage disposal or look for natural cleaning products that won't harm your disposal system. Lemons and limes are great for cleaning your garbage disposal.Will baking soda and vinegar unclog a garbage disposal? ›
The vigorous reaction that occurs when vinegar mixes with baking soda can be enough to clear minor to moderate clogs in a garbage disposal. Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal, add a cup of vinegar, plug the drain and wait for 10 minutes. Then rinse the disposal with hot water.What is the most powerful liquid drain cleaner? ›
For a great all-around drain cleaner, you can't go wrong with Drano Max Gel Clog Remover (view at Amazon). Its thick formula cuts through standing water, allowing it to quickly dissolve even the toughest clogs.Why do plumbers say not to use Drano? ›
Because of its corrosive nature, Drano can cause toilet bowls to crack, PVC pipes to melt or break and the glue that holds pipes together can be eaten away. If any of these things happen, you're going to be left with an inoperable plumbing system and costly repairs.How do professionals clean drains? ›
For simple unclogging work, you can expect a professional plumber to clean your drains using a motorized drain auger (sometimes called a drain snake), which can take care of almost any size of obstruction within a drainpipe. Often, drain cleaning will start with a drain auger to remove basic drain trouble.Will liquid plumber damage garbage disposal? ›
Can I use this Liquid-Plumr® product in my garbage disposal? Yes. This product is safe to use in your garbage disposal. When using this product in a drain that contains a garbage disposal, simply follow normal directions for use and flush the product with the disposal running.
Drano has several formulas for different issues and types of drains, and the following products are safe to use in garbage disposals, according to SC Johnson, Drano's manufacturer: Drano Max Gel Clog Remover, Drano Dual-Force Foamer Clog Remover, Drano Max Build-Up Remover, and Drano Liquid Drain Cleaner.Does green gobbler work on garbage disposal? ›
A: To remove the drain clog, you can use the Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver. This product is safe to use in the garbage disposal to remove the clog in the drain https://greengobbler.com/liquid-drain-clog-dissolver .Do plumbers use drain cleaner? ›
Drain cleaners are a popular solution when homeowners notice a clogged drain. But it's also one of the most commonly misused products out there. Any plumber will advise against its use.Can drain cleaner make a clog worse? ›
Even if you use a drain cleaner as directed, there's no guarantee that it will clear your drain. Sometimes the chemicals in the cleaner can make the clog worse since they can react with the materials in the clog, or get stuck on top of the clog, making it harder to break up.What happens if you use too much drain cleaner? ›
Too much drain cleaner can cause your pipes to corrode and in the case of mixing various products, sometimes even cause chemical reactions that produce heat or toxic gases that can be dangerous to you and the environment.Can you leave baking soda and vinegar in drain overnight? ›
If it's still clogged, pour one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar down the drain, followed by two cups of boiling water. Let it work overnight to clear the drain.How often can you put baking soda and vinegar down the drain? ›
Follow the water with 1 cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. You'll probably see some bubbles as the chemical reaction works its magic and opens your drain. Perform a drain cleaning on a weekly basis to keep the problem from happening at all.Should you put ice cubes down a garbage disposal? ›
Simply run a few ice cubes through the garbage disposal. The action of grinding up the ice cleans the blades and helps to dislodge any bits of food that have gotten stuck in the components. Additionally, cleaning with ice (water) means that there's no product or residue left to scrub away.Does baking soda and vinegar damage pipes? ›
While the baking soda and vinegar solution is effective in breaking down a clog, it will also cause your drain to become more damaged. The baking soda's abrasive nature will wear down your drain over time. This is why you should avoid using baking soda and vinegar solution for cleaning out your drain.Does Coke clean a clogged drain? ›
While the phosphoric acid found in cola can help alleviate some minor clogs, carbonated beverages are certainly not the ideal drain cleaner. Better DIY methods include a baking soda/vinegar mixture, a plunger, or a plumber's snake.
To deep clean your disposal, use cups of ice, white vinegar and rock salt. Fill your garbage disposal with ice cubes. Adding a cup of vinegar and salt to give it that extra cleaning oomph will dislodge all the gunky residue. Run the disposal with warm water so the ice is ground into a slushy mixture.What is the best thing for unblocking drains? ›
Try pouring hot water down the drain, then follow it with one cup of bicarbonate of soda and a cup of vinegar. Leave it for ten minutes, then chase it with more hot water. A combination of the hot water and the natural cleaner mixture can break blockages up.What will dissolve hair in a drain? ›
Use Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda and vinegar is a very powerful combination that can help clear nasty hair clogs. Besides helping dissolve hair in your drain, baking soda also has disinfectant qualities that can fight fungi and bacteria.
Hydrogen peroxide works by eating any organic matter that is clogging up the drains. It dissolves organic matter, turning it into smaller pieces that are easier to flush out. This makes it effective at dissolving food gunk or balls of hair that often clog drains.Why do plumbers hate CPVC? ›
"Over a period of time, it gets brittle and cracks and breaks and the glue joints continue to deteriorate through the pipe and go bad," Rainaldi said. Plumbers said Florida's heat and chlorine in the water is also bad for CPVC pipes. So how common is this problem? "With CPVC, this is a very common thing.Is it better to snake a drain or use Drano? ›
If using a plunger or drain snake does not clear your clog, this is a sign that it is time to call a professional plumber. Considering the risks that come with using Drano, hiring a plumber to clear the clog for you will still be the safer and cheaper option in the long run.Can I leave Drano Max gel overnight? ›
For preventive drain cleaning, you can use Drano® Max Build-Up Remover in drains, toilets and even septic systems. Apply Drano® Max Build-Up Remover overnight or before you go to work, then wait 6 to 8 hours before running warm (not hot) water down treated drains or flushing treated toilets.What dissolves sludge in drains? ›
While water is heating up, pour baking soda down the drain. Baking soda has the ability to neutralize fatty acids so it will work to eat away the grime while you are waiting for the water to boil. 3. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, remove it from the pot from the stove and pour the hot water down the drain.Which month would be best for cleaning drains? ›
The best time to clean drain pipes is in the autumn, winter or early spring.Can WD 40 clean drains? ›
If inserting a plumber's snake seems like a risky option, and your problem is more than what a plunger can solve, adding a cleaning agent like WD-40 is always a good idea. The good part about using WD-40 is that it gets right under the build-up and muck, and breaks it down, which helps clear the drain.
Fats and Grease From Cooking Meat
Fatty foods like butter, vegetable oil, meat trimmings, and the grease from bacon and other cooked products are a huge no-no when it comes to your garbage disposal and drains. These fatty foods can cause problems from top to bottom starting with the blades of your disposal.
- Begin by pouring baking soda into the garbage disposal.
- Next, pour vinegar down the garbage disposal.
- Then, wait 20 minutes for the fizz to break down the clog.
- Last, wash away the mixture and food waste down the pipe with hot water.
Only use cold water when grinding your garbage disposal. Hot water may cause fats to congeal. When congealed, fats and oils can stick to the blades of your disposal and cause the system to work harder than necessary, impacting the motor.Does Green Gobbler hurt pipes? ›
From toilets to tubs to sinks, Green Gobbler is safe for all pipes and septic systems. It's free of odors and fumes, making it a great alternative to traditional bleach-based drain openers. Green Gobbler doesn't use any bleach or sodium hydroxide.How long does it take for Green Gobbler to work? ›
Simply pour one Pac into the clogged drain. Add a small amount of hot water to activate product. Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Flush your drain with hot water.How do you unclog a garbage disposal without vinegar? ›
Step 1: Pour two cups of ice into the disposal. Step 2: Add a cup of salt. Step 3: Run cold water, then turn on the garbage disposal, and let it run until all of the ice is ground up. Step 4: Turn off the disposal, and let the water run for 10 more seconds.Does Dawn dish soap clean drains? ›
Baking soda, vinegar and Dawn dish soap along with boiling water can safely unclog a drain. Baking soda, vinegar and Dawn dish soap along with boiling water can safely unclog a drain.Do any drain cleaners work? ›
Avoid Liquid Drain Cleaners and Contact a Plumber
In the end, chemical drain cleaners do not work with your drains—they work against them.
Liquid drain cleaners cause both internal and external damage to your home's plumbing system. The caustic chemicals in drain cleaners also eat away at the finishes of your sinks and toilets. For example, drain cleaners can settle onto the porcelain of your toilet's bowl and cause cracks.Is it OK to use boiling water to unclog a drain? ›
Can boiling water unclog a drain? If your drain is clogged with ice cubes — then yes, boiling water can unclog a drain. But if your drain is clogged with the things that normally clog drains — grease, oil, dirt, hair, etc. — then no, boiling water isn't likely to help.
Enzyme and bacteria-based cleaners are safe alternatives to commercial drain cleaners. Rather than using caustic chemicals to clear clogs, these revolutionary cleaners use concentrated enzymes and bacteria to naturally eat away at many things that cause clogs in your drains.What chemicals do plumbers use to unclog drains? ›
Hydrochloric acid, also known as muriatic acid, is the most common acid used by plumbers to unclog drains. Although this component can be found even in your own stomach, as part of the digestive acids, its pure concentrated form can only be purchased from certain stores if you carry a plumber's license.Why you should avoid chemical drain cleaners? ›
- #6 – They Can Damage Your Septic System. ...
- #5 – They Can Damage Your Pipes. ...
- #4 – They Don't Work On Every Clog. ...
- #3 – They Can Ruin Your Wardrobe. ...
- #2 – They Can Cause Serious Burns. ...
- #1 – Even Breathing These Fumes Is Dangerous.
Put boiling water or vinegar down the drain – While it is probably ok to run some hot water down your drain if you notice the start of a clog, avoid pouring boiling water or vinegar down your drain.Does ZEP damage pipes? ›
When these drain cleaners are used enough in old pipes they can cause the pipes themselves to degrade. Used in plastic pipes, chemical drain cleaners cause damage by creating heat. This heat can warp or melt the pipe, leading to leaks.Can you put drain cleaner in a drain with a garbage disposal? ›
Can You Put Drain Cleaner in a Garbage Disposal? You can use drain cleaner in a garbage disposal. Liquid-Plumr has many drain cleaning products that are safe to use to unclog a garbage disposal. Our drain cleaners can help tackle your toughest garbage clogs and clean your disposal.What is the black gunk in my garbage disposal? ›
That black substance that keeps seeping into your sink or toilet is usually bacteria that's clinging to waste in your drain lines. This bacteria tends to grow and spread over time, particularly because the matter that goes down these drains is organic in nature, providing a food source for the bacteria to live on.How do you clean a garbage disposal drain? ›
Use Baking Soda and Vinegar
To use, sprinkle half a cup of baking soda into the drain opening. Mix it with white vinegar and allow the baking soda and vinegar to sit for 10 minutes. Power on the disposal and allow hot water to wash away the vinegar and baking soda mixture.
In just 15 minutes, our pick for the best drain cleaner, Drano Max Gel, will clear up clogs in sinks, tubs, PVC, septic tanks, and garbage disposals. It's safe for piping and septic systems, with a thick gel that sinks into standing water to the source of the clog.
If your drain is clogged with ice cubes — then yes, boiling water can unclog a drain. But if your drain is clogged with the things that normally clog drains — grease, oil, dirt, hair, etc. — then no, boiling water isn't likely to help.
Once a month or so, throw a handful of baking soda in your sink drain and chase it with a kettle full of hot water. Baking soda is a powerful odor absorber and cleaning agent, which may help prevent drain buildup.What kills mold in garbage disposal? ›
Mold or Mildew
This is most often caused by placing food in the drain and not running the disposal or not running the disposal long enough to properly dispose of waste. Using a mixture of vinegar, warm water, and baking soda can eliminate the mold.
Plumbers will be the most effective when it comes to resolving your garbage disposal issue. Most likely a plumber installed your garbage disposal, and they have the knowledge to solve most issues, even electrical ones.How often should a garbage disposal be deep cleaned? ›
You should clean your garbage disposal once a week, or at least once every two weeks. "Make it part of your biweekly cleaning routine, at the very least," says Sokolowski. "And always run cold water when using the garbage disposal because cold water solidifies food and makes it easier to grind," she adds.Can you use dishwasher pods to clean garbage disposal? ›
Then run the dishwasher on the heavy-duty cycle with hot water to release the tablets' oxygenated bubbles and dislodge food residue and mineral deposits. The tablets can also be used in the garbage disposal.