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The best drain cleaners

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  • Soapy, standing water in a bathtub. Greasy water filling a kitchen sink. Neither of these presents a pretty picture and when left unattended, it can not only ruin your day but also damage your home.
  • We found the best drain cleaners for every type of clog, from hair to grease.

Plumbing problems rank near the top of my least-favorite home maintenance issues. I hate the mess, I hate the smells, and I hate the expense. While I understand how plumbing works, I don’t have the tools and skills to make repairs easily. That’s where drain cleaner can make all the difference.

When you do have a slow-moving drain or a clog, take a moment to consider the probable cause. Using the right type of drain cleaner and the one that will cause the least harm to your plumbing system will give you the best results. Many drain cleaners contain harsh chemicals like lye and acids that generate heat when they come in contact with the organic matter in the drain. The heat can soften PVC pipes and damage older metal solder on copper pipes if not used correctly.

Start by using the least harmful method of opening the drain. Often times, just adding a cup of baking soda to the drain followed by slowly pouring in a cup of heated distilled white vinegar will open the drain (don’t pour too fast or you risk creating a volcanic eruption!). Next, try mechanical methods like a plunger or pressurized drain opener. Finally, when you’ve exhausted other methods, move to chemical drain cleaners.

Always read the directions and follow them to the letter. Take safety precautions with your eyes and skin and provide good ventilation. Protect the surrounding areas from splashes and spills. Chemical drain openers can mar finishes in a way that cannot be repaired.

After years of working in kitchens and maintaining a home, I’ve dealt with plenty of kitchen and bathroom clogs. Because it clearly isn’t my favorite task, I tested dozens of drain cleaning and clog removal products and care tips, to find the ones that work. I’m always looking for the safest, most effective, easiest to use, and the best value in products for myself and others.

Here are the best drain cleaners:

  • Best for hair clogs: Whink Hair Clog Blaster
  • Best for grease clogs: Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver
  • Best non-chemical: CLR Power Plumber
  • Best preventative: CLR Build-Up Remover
  • Best hair clog preventer: TubShroom Strainer and Hair Catcher

The best for hair clogs

Whink Hair Clog Blaster will quickly dissolve hair clogs and get drains flowing smoothly.

The biggest problem in bathroom sinks, showers, and tub drains is hair clogs. The hair becomes coated with soaps and shampoos and forms a lump that simply won’t move along. If non-chemical methods aren’t working, try Whink Hair Clog Blaster.

Manufactured by RPM International, Whink delivers the same quality as the company’s other products, like Rust-Oleum and DAP. Whink is a liquid drain opener that contains sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite, sodium metasilicate, and modified amine oxide that will cut right through the clog. Clearly, safety precautions must be taken to prevent eye and skin damage; this is a powerful cleaner since the product is formulated to dissolve hair.

It can be used even if there is standing water in the tub or sink. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands and do your best to pour it slowly and directly down the drain to prevent damaging other surfaces. You will need to use about one cup (8 ounces) of the product. Wait at least 30 minutes and then flush the drain with hot water.

Used correctly, Whink Hair Clog Blaster is safe for all plumbing and septic systems. If it doesn’t work the first time, repeat the application and allow it to sit in the drain for several hours or overnight before flushing. As mentioned, always read the directions.

Pros: Cuts through hair clogs in sinks and tubs easily, less expensive than other drain openers

Cons: Dangerous chemicals, should not be used for grease clogs, limited distribution but available online or in home improvement stores

The best for grease clogs

Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver uses non-caustic, biodegradable ingredients to dissolve drain blockages and is most effective on clogs caused by kitchen grease.

Oil and grease should never be poured down the drain, yet many of us do it, whether it’s forgetfulness or laziness. But before you call the plumber, I suggest you give Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver a try. It works for me.

While Green Gobbler does work on hair and soap buildup, it works best on grease and oil, liquifying them so they can be flushed away with boiling water. The proprietary enzyme-based ingredients are also safer to use than drain openers containing caustic sodium hydroxide and emit no strong chemical odors.

There’s no guessing about how much to pour down the drain. The two-chambered bottle holds two precise doses. Just pour in one of the pre-measured amounts and wait at least 30 minutes or up to overnight, then flush away the clog with hot water.

Pros: Dissolves grease and other clogs using enzymes, less caustic than other drain cleaners, each bottle contains two pre-measured treatments, 30-day hassle-free return

Cons: Does not work well on severely clogged drains

The best non-chemical remover

CLR Power Plumber blasts through hair and grease clogs with no chemicals and no messy plungers.

If you don’t like keeping chemicals in your home and are looking for a less environmentally damaging way to keep drains flowing, CLR Power Plumber may be the product for you.

At some point, almost everyone has rushed out to buy a plunger to open a drain. It often works but then you’re left with a dripping, messy plunger to clean and store. Plus, the rubber head on plungers eventually disintegrate and crack. The Power Plumber works on the same principle as a plunger of using forced air to move a clog but with no mess.

Just 7 inches tall, the can is filled with compressed gas that is scented with a lemon deodorizer. The gas contains no CFCs. Simply fill the sink with several inches of water, point the nozzle down into the drain and when the gas comes in contact with the water, it expands rapidly. The wave of gas and water act as a battering ram to push the blockage through the pipe. No chemicals needed.

The Power Plumber works on both bathtub and sink drains, including double sinks and garbage disposals. Just follow the directions carefully to create a tight seal. Each can contains 15 uses — that’s a lot of cleaning for a 4.5-ounce little can.

Pros: Clears clogs with no chemicals, 15 applications per can, small and easy to store

Cons: Not always available in mass-market stores

The best preventative drain cleaner

Just a quick pour of CLR Build-Up Remover once a month in kitchen and bathroom drains will take the drama out of clogged drains.

I think we’ve established that I don’t like to deal with plumbing problems. So I follow all the rules of drain care and do my best to prevent issues like clogs and odors by using CLR Build-Up Remover monthly.

I pour just 3 ounces (about one-third of a cup) into a drain right before bedtime, so it has time to work and clean away soap scum, toothpaste, kitchen grease, and other gunk that coats pipes and can cause clogs. If I notice that a drain is running slowly, I pour a one-fourth cup right before bed, for five days in a row to get things moving quickly. You could also do the treatment in the morning before leaving for work — it just needs to be done when water isn’t being used, to be most effective.

The product is safe to use on septic systems and will not harm pipes. CLR Build-Up Remover has actually met the U.S. EPA’s Safe Choice Program guidelines to be classified as an environmentally safe product.

Pros: Helps prevent drain clogs, removes odors, will not harm pipes, environmentally safe

Cons: Does not remove severe clogs

The best hair clog preventer

If there are long-haired humans or pets in your home, use the TubShroom Strainer and Hair Catcher to prevent hair from draining clogs.

I was a child of the 1970s and had long, flowing hair. My father complained constantly about all of the hair that kept clogging up the bathroom drains. There may have been “magical mushrooms” in the 70s but none were as good at preventing clogs like the TubShroom Strainer and Hair Catcher. This little rubber gadget will change your life — even with shorter hair these days, I am always amazed at how much the TubShroom catches.

Unlike typical drain filters, the TubShroom slips down into the drain opening so that the hair is caught, out-of-sight. The unique shape and holes create a whirlpool effect that winds long hair around the spool so it doesn’t go down the drain. The TubShroom fits any standard 1.5-inch to 1.75-inch bathtub drain and comes in a variety of colors from white to orange to match any decor.

When you notice a slowing of water as the tub drains, pull out the TubShroom and dispose of the hair. Use a microfiber cloth or tissue to wipe away the hair and rinse it under the faucet to remove any residue. Afterward, just pop it back in to protect your drain.

Pros: Prevents hair clogs in the drain, easy to install and clean, available in multiple colors and sizes

Cons: Can slow water drainage if not cleaned regularly

How to prevent drain clogs

I do my best to pay attention to the flow since attending to small clogs and preventing them is so much better than a huge disaster.

Most of us take plumbing systems for granted until there is a problem. Drain care should really be something we attend to every day. While we can’t control the rate a pipe joint disintegrates, we can help prevent clogs with just a few “rules”:

  • Grease is a drain’s enemy. Bacon grease, cooking oil, and other fats should never be poured down a drain. They solidify with other food particles and cause clogs.
  • Strain the drain. Keeping a strainer in the sink, tub, and shower stall will catch much of the hair and debris that cause clogs.
  • Flush it out. No one should waste water, but when you use the garbage disposal, brush your teeth, or pour something down the kitchen sink, be sure to follow up with some hot water. Simply pouring hot water down your drains every week will help dissolve grease, toothpaste, and soaps that are building up.

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The Best Toilet Brushes for the Bathroom

From sleek and modern to disposable and combination sets, these toilet brushes help make cleaning a little less of a chore.

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Finding the best toilet brush can make cleaning a little easier. The best brushes also help make your bathroom a more functional and hygienic place. Though you can spend a few bucks on cheaper brushes, others are worth a slightly larger investment, and some even make for a more frugal option with replaceable brush heads. Regardless of what you’re looking for, it helps to review a few shopping considerations, brush types, and features to find a toilet brush that meets your needs based on price, design, and more.

  1. BEST OVERALL:simplehuman Toilet Brush With Caddy
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:mDesign Slim Compact Plastic Toilet Bowl Brush
  3. BEST BRUSH/PLUNGER SET:ToiletTree Products Toilet Brush and Plunger Combo
  4. BEST ELECTRIC:WiMiUS 360 Degrees Electric Spin Scrubber
  5. BEST DISPOSABLE:JWCE Toilet Bowl Brush, Bathroom Under Rim
  6. MOST HYGIENIC:So-Mine Hygienic by Sanimaid Toilet Brush
  7. ALSO CONSIDER:ToiletTree Products Deluxe Toilet Brush With Lid

What to Consider When Buying a Toilet Brush

Whether cost is most important to you, or if you prefer sustainability or design, you can find the best toilet brush for your bathroom by considering the following.

Scrubbing Head

The shape of the scrubbing head matters just as much as the quality of the bristles. Many standard toilet brush designs can’t get into all the nooks and crannies of a toilet bowl, requiring multiple tools to get it fully clean. Having a brush that’s sturdy and well designed is the best bet for a cleaning tool investment.

However, for electric and disposable brushes, the bristles differ. Electric brushes don’t require as much force and maneuver easily, allowing you to get into places you normally wouldn’t with a traditional brush. Disposable brushes often have a generic design and a softer head for one-time use. Looking at various scrubbing head options will help you select the best toilet brush for your needs.

Handle

Handle designs can vary. You want a toilet brush handle to be comfortable while scrubbing, but another handle consideration is whether a brush has a good grip. A gripper can prevent the brush from slipping from your grasp and splashing you with toilet water while cleaning.

The height of the handle is important too, since a shorter handle could lead to the unnecessary spreading of germs, while a longer one generally adds a degree of comfort and ease of use. Check for brushes that have a minimum handle height of 10 inches.

Reusable vs. Disposable

Reusable brushes are the more sustainable picks, taking up residence in your bathroom and requiring regular sanitation as you use them. Most people prefer a reusable brush that’ll last long enough for them to feel that they’ve gotten their money’s worth out of the product.

However, disposable brushes are useful for a few reasons. They’re preferred for situations where you need an option to throw the brush away once the job is done, or for easy disposal before moving house.

Manual vs. Electric

Both manual and electric toilet brush options are available, which one is best depends on individual user preference. For one thing, manual toilet brushes tend to cost less, while electric toilet brushes require more of an investment.

Electric toilet brushes are cordless and require less effort to thoroughly clean a toilet bowl, since the motor does most of the work. Electric brushes make cleaning a little easier for people who have mobility challenges or back problems.

Both manual and electric brushes will get the job done, and both typically come with the option of swapping out a brush head as needed, saving money on replacements.

Odor Control

Odor control is important to some people when cleaning a toilet. A clean toilet generally helps reduce odors in a bathroom, but some users want a fresher smell to make the toilet and bathroom feel extra clean.

When considering odor-control toilet brushes with built-in cleaners, note that many of the cleaning chemicals used in these products contain toxic synthetic fragrances that can pose a hazard to kids and pets. Using homemade cleaning products with your toilet brush can help you get the scent you want. After cleaning, you can add a few drops of essential oil to the bowl. Excellent odor control and antibacterial picks include eucalyptus and tea tree oil, but for more of a fresh and bright fragrance, go with orange or lemon.

Our Top Picks

Our top picks have taken shopping considerations into account to help buyers select an effective toilet brush with the right features. The following picks include design-savvy choices, innovative brush heads, and budget-friendly options.

BEST OVERALL: simplehuman Toilet Brush With Caddy

The design of the simplehuman Toilet Brush With Caddy makes cleaning simpler, and its slender profile is open at the back for proper air ventilation. It allows you to replace the heads when needed, which helps justify the price tag on this toilet brush with a sleek design.

A great option if you’re short on bathroom space, this toilet brush features stiff bristles to get stains out and has a magnetic strip around the collar of the caddy to ensure the toilet brush stays secure when carrying. That means no more toilet brushes falling out or dripping on the floor. It also comes in a choice of colors (black or white) to match bathroom decor.

One con to this design is that the brush might not reach the main drain hole at the bottom of the bowl.

BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: mDesign Slim Compact Plastic Toilet Bowl Brush

Discreet and attractive, the mDesign Slim Compact Toilet Brush and Holder set has a simple, compact design that fits in just about any space. Although it’s priced low, the brush and brush head aren’t replaceable, so when it’s time for a new brush, users will need to replace the entire unit.

While the design of this set isn’t quite as sleek as simplehuman’s, the price is right. Budget-friendly sets like this one typically have no vents in the caddy to help the brush dry out between uses, meaning that it’s not quite as hygienic as other brushes unless cleaned and disinfected regularly.

BEST WITH PLUNGER: ToiletTree Products Toilet Brush and Plunger Combo

The ToiletTree Toilet Brush and Plunger Combo is convenient for those wanting their brush and plunger to be hidden in the bathroom. The back is completely open to allow your brush and plunger to dry out properly, but the front remains enclosed for a uniform look.

This combination set is great for smaller spaces lacking the room for a separate plunger and brush. Plus, the combination set is discreet enough to sit in plain sight without bathroom visitors having to stare down a plunger and brush. ToiletTree offers replacement brush heads, which saves money and the hassle of having to replace the entire set. Buyers also will love the clean, stainless steel look of this combo.

BEST ELECTRIC: Upgraded Spin Scrubber, WiMiUS 360 Degrees

The WiMiUS 360 Degrees Electric Spin Scrubber comes with four brush replacement heads and is cordless for added convenience. It takes just over three hours to charge fully, which provides 60 to 90 minutes of use (plenty of time to clean more than one toilet). The brush pole extends, which provides some distance between the user and the toilet while brushing.

This longer brush also can help people with back issues or other mobility challenges such as arthritis when they clean a toilet. As a multipurpose brush with a high rotating speed, the WiMiUS electric brush requires little pressure from the user when cleaning. This brush is a great option to maintain a sparkling toilet with regular, but low-effort, cleaning.

BEST DISPOSABLE: JWCE Toilet Bowl Brush, Bathroom Under Rim

Unlike many other disposable toilet brushes that contain harsh cleaners with synthetic fragrances that can stain toilet bowls, the JWCE Toilet Bowl Brush works with a user’s favorite toilet bowl cleaner. It includes a scratch-free brush for safe cleaning.

This disposable brush doesn’t have interchangeable or removable heads, meaning that when it’s time for a new brush, users must dispose of the entire set and purchase a new one. However, for those bathrooms or occasions when a disposable brush works, this is a cost-effective option. The JWCE brush also comes in two-packs, which means you’ll have a back-up brush ready when it’s time to dispose of the current one, or if the need for an additional toilet brush arises.

MOST HYGIENIC: So-Mine Hygienic by Sanimaid Toilet Brush

This innovative toilet brush doesn’t use bristles to clean a toilet—instead, it has a silicone head that functions similarly to a squeegee to get rid of stains and clean the bowl.

The caddy has an open design that allows the head of the device to air dry completely between uses, and the silicone head is easy to clean and reuse. The head won’t accumulate as much water as a traditional toilet brush, which means fewer areas where germs can accumulate.

Using this type of brush requires a learning curve, since it works differently from traditional toilet brushes, but it has a hygienic, dripless, and ergonomic design.

ALSO CONSIDER: ToiletTree Products Deluxe Toilet Brush With Lid

For a stainless steel option with a lid, the ToiletTree Products Deluxe Toilet Brush doesn’t require any caddy touching, which can minimize the spread of germs. It also features a modern design to complement various bathroom styles. With a vented lid for germs, this unit is slim enough for smaller bathrooms and resistant to rust.

The caddy does not have a draining space in the bottom for accumulated toilet water, which requires some extra cleaning and sanitizing. Also, the brush head isn’t removable, which means having to replace the entire brush and handle it when the time comes. However, the mid-point price and sleek stainless steel look certainly make this brush worth considering.

FAQs About Your New Toilet Brush

What’s the right way to use a toilet brush, and how often should you clean it? Finding the best toilet brush is great, but without taking proper care of it and using it appropriately, it won’t help you get a truly clean bowl.

Q. How do you use a toilet brush?

A toilet brush is designed to clean the inside of your toilet only. Pour a cleaner into the toilet (whether homemade or store-bought), then use your toilet brush to scrub the bowl. Pay extra attention to the rim at the top (under the toilet seat) and the hole at the bottom. When done, flush the toilet, then finish cleaning the outside, and don’t forget to wash your hands afterward.

Q. How do you clean a toilet brush?

You should clean your toilet brush about once a week, or after every use. These things get dirty! You can clean it simply by pouring bleach over it as you hold the brush end over the toilet, or by rinsing with boiling water. You also can soak the brush in a bleach or vinegar solution for deep disinfecting. A toilet brush caddy should have proper ventilation to allow the brush to dry completely between uses to avoid bacteria buildup.

Q. How often should you change your toilet brush?

You’ll know when it’s time to change your toilet brush based on the bristle quality (or, for bristle-free designs, the head quality). The stiffness of some brushes will hold up better than others. If your toilet brush is fraying or not properly doing its job anymore, it’s time for a new one. High-quality brushes should last longer than others. A good general rule is to change a toilet brush (or brush head) after about six months. If you or a family member have had the stomach flu, you also should consider changing the brush to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Check out these reviews of the best toilet brush and pick one that will keep your toilet in tip-top shape and make cleaning easy. ]]>