Liquid Plummer or Drano?
June 2, 2009 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Liquid Plummer or Drano?

I'm never satisfied with either. But really, which one is better? I have a clog in the bathtub probably from hair. I tried digging as much as I could out and it is still not draining.
I would appreciate personal experiences that would help me decide with item to purchase.
This must be something I can purchase at the grocery store tonight.
posted by redandblue to Shopping (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've found both to be equivalent, and though their websites don't list active ingredients, best I recall they are equivalent.

I would suggest using a slightly higher-end version than the basic Liquid Plumr or Drano: Both make a "gel" formulation which is a bit thicker and will cling better as it goes down. Alternatively, they both also make a foaming clog remover which uses the same idea as the gels, to coat the pipes better and act longer. The advice on the websites does say that foam is better for slow drains, gel better for serious clogs (takes overnight to drain) or complete clogs.

I've used both brands and find they both work pretty well. My personal experience has been either brand is fine, and the gel works great on those really serious clogs.
posted by davidnc at 9:03 AM on June 2, 2009

Drano sucks. Badly. I've yet to ever clear anything with Drano.

My recommendation is to find "Liquid Lightning." Best stuff I've ever used.
posted by jdgdotnet at 9:03 AM on June 2, 2009

neither. The only thing those products listed above do well is advertise. try to get acid stuff that plumbers use. but follow directions exactly. or better yet, find a friend who is a plumber. bribe with food or beverage.
posted by Amby72 at 9:04 AM on June 2, 2009

I prefer Dran-o Max Gel. Maximum strength and the gel helps stick while it dissolves away stuff. Be careful I am sure it could do some damage to skin/clothes.

Go on the site and their is even a money back guarantee if you don't like it. (Bottom Left Corner)
posted by xdeliriumx at 9:04 AM on June 2, 2009

Yeah, I've also never been satisfied with either. Instead of the grocery store, maybe you could go to Home Depot and get a plumber's snake?
posted by box at 9:05 AM on June 2, 2009

which one is better?

I'm never satisfied with either.

Think you answered your own question? What's better is what works. Try other products until you are satisfied.

As an aside... my bathtub stopped being clogged by hair when I stopped brushing my hair during conditioning. When I started doing it again, drain started clogging.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:05 AM on June 2, 2009

Have you tried baking soda and then vinegar? It will cause a slight chemical reaction that I have used to unclog small hair in sink situations. You probably already have both at home so give it a try before you try the stronger stuff. I know a lot of plumbers don't recommend using drano or liquid plumber type of stuff since if it doesn't work its quite toxic and can cause skin burns when a real plumber is needed to snake it after you pour the bottle of Drano down the drain.
posted by boomcha76 at 9:07 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

never pour that stuff down your drains. It's called the plumbers helper because it helps them make $$$$$. Try using a shop vac to suck the hair out. if that fails call a plumber
posted by patnok at 9:09 AM on June 2, 2009

Absolutely try this thing.

Worked great for me!
posted by orme at 9:15 AM on June 2, 2009

I solved our bathtub hair clog with a plunger. I do not want to elaborate in case you are eating.
posted by odinsdream at 9:17 AM on June 2, 2009

Elaborating on boomcha76 - pour a box of baking soda (as best you can) down the drain, followed by a gallon of vinegar. You can alternate the two, if the baking soda isn't going far down the drain. Follow by a teakettle or two of boiling water. Much safer for older pipes, and your own skin.
posted by sarajane at 9:19 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]

What if the water is still in the tub? Doesn't this cause the baking soda to go all over the bathtub?
posted by redandblue at 9:21 AM on June 2, 2009

Use a plunger. I've never had any luck with dumping chemicals down the drain to clear out clogs. Note that if this is a bathtub, not a standing shower, it probably has an overflow outlet pipe that you will need to clog with a wet rag before plunging. Otherwise the air bubble won't make it down to the clog. If there's a metal plate above the drain, remove that to expose the overflow outlet and plug it up. Further instructions here.
posted by autojack at 9:33 AM on June 2, 2009

If you know that you're dealing with a hair clog, then squirting some Nair or equivalent will break it down faster than drain cleaner will. This doesn't work well if you've got a lot of standing water in your tub, though.
posted by Citrus at 9:43 AM on June 2, 2009

Another vote for a plunger. We've often had blocked drains; chemicals do little, but the plunger always works eventually (can take a while so keep at it).
posted by malevolent at 9:51 AM on June 2, 2009

Buy a mechanical snake and you will be the hero to friends and neighbors for many years to come.
posted by ChrisHartley at 9:55 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

2thing orme's suggestion of the cool little tool; we picked one up at Home Depot for less than $3 and they work great.

Another way to look at this whole problem is to realize that something is keeping the hair clogged in your drain. More than likely, it's soap scum. Boil up a full teakettle of water, then pour it down the drain. That will usually dissolve the soap scum.
posted by DrGail at 10:59 AM on June 2, 2009

Thank you Everyone for your responses.

I will try the plunger and hot water idea and report back.

* side note- I can't use a snake, the hole is really small. This is an old house with old pipes*
posted by redandblue at 11:24 AM on June 2, 2009

The stuff you want is the highest concentration of lye that you can find. Go to a hardware store (not a Target or grocery store) and buy the most vile looking, poorly marketed straight-up-lye jug you can find. It will be both cheaper and more effective than the two options you mentioned.

Warning: Be careful with it, it is pretty hazardous stuff. Wear gloves, rinse well afterward, don't touch your eyes or face while working with it.

If this stuff won't clear the drain after a couple hours of soaking (and mechanical work with a plunger), you _will_ need a plumber.

Good luck!
posted by milqman at 12:14 PM on June 2, 2009

If you use lye or any of these other products, and end up calling a plumber, please make the plumber aware of exactly what you've used.
posted by Majorita at 12:45 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've had the best luck with some enzyme stuff from a True Value hardware store. (And they have a small, plastic snake (about 2' long) that's great for digging hair out of the sink.)
posted by dws at 1:12 PM on June 2, 2009

I get great results with boiling water, vinegar, and baking soda.
posted by reddot at 1:19 PM on June 2, 2009

You can also take a bucket and scoop the water into your toilet. It's a lot easier to manage the plunging procedure without the standing water.
posted by anthropoid at 4:02 PM on June 2, 2009

I'm a landlord. Trust me, a toilet snake beats any liquid or chemical product, hands down. It's a lot more work, of course, which is why those jugs of goo are still popular. They really don't work, any of them, for serious clogs.

though their websites don't list active ingredients, best I recall they are equivalent.

Basically lye in a colorful water solution.

Also, lye will sting your plumber or you when you inevitably have to go in with equipment anyway.

WARNING: If your drains are PVC, don't use boiling water. Eventually, your pipe joins will, uh, melt -- or your pipe will do interesting things like sag.

For maintenance of slow drains, I recommend enzyme products. But you do need to use them regularly.
posted by dhartung at 9:28 PM on June 2, 2009

Hi Dhartung,
I wish I would have known about the pipes before I attempted my science projects. I'm hoping PVC was after 1950s when this house was built.

The plunger and hot water helped A LOT. It didn't cost a thing and fixed my problem. Thank you, EVERYONE for your help on this :-)
posted by redandblue at 1:36 PM on June 3, 2009

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