The 8 Best Shower Drain Cleaners of 2022

Our top pick is the Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver

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The 8 Best Shower Drain Cleaners of 2022

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

While it can be a challenge to clear a clogged shower drain, there are many ways to tackle the problem, from handy home remedies to store-bought liquids and crystals. We researched numerous options—including strong formulas and manual mechanisms—to find the best shower drain cleaners, evaluating each on speed, safety, and unclogging method.

Please note that Richard Epstein, licensed master plumber and The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board member, stresses that drain cleaners can be very damaging to your plumbing over time. He recommends not using them and instead calling a professional who can fix the clogged drain with an electric snake. In addition, Katie Berry, cleaning expert and The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board member, warns against combining products or using different cleaners one after the other, as they may contain ingredients that are not compatible and extremely harmful. It's also best to use a cleaner in a well-ventilated area. Lastly, Berry recommends "notifying a plumber about any remedies you've used, so they know what they're working with."

Our favorite shower drain cleaner, the Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver, is safe for PVC, copper, steel, and iron pipes, as well as septic systems. It's also fume-free and biodegradable. 

Below, find the best shower drain cleaners on the market.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver

Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver

Green Gobbler

What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Safe for septic systems

  • Comes with 30-day money-back guarantee

What We Don't Like
  • Can damage refinished surfaces

  • May take overnight to work on tough clogs

Our top pick, the Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver, offers an effective remedy for shower drain clogs without the fumes. Safe for septic systems, this option is an enzymatic drain cleaner with a non-corrosive ingredient list. It's a biodegradable, odorless choice and works on even the toughest backups. (Though, it may take overnight to work through tougher clogs.)

Designed to cut through organic matter, this choice liquifies everything from hair and paper, to grease and soap scum. It’s also helpful in clearing sink and toilet clogs. Additionally, this choice tops our list because it comes with a handy pre-measured, dual-chamber system, so you won’t need to guess at amounts or measure yourself. Pour in one chamber for shower or sink drains, or pour in both for toilet clogs. Then simply follow package instructions to clear the obstruction.

Type: Liquid | Amount: 31 fluid ounces | Dimensions: 9.2 x 4 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 2 pounds | Time Needed: Varies according to clog; instructions say between 15 minutes and overnight

Best Budget: Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength Drain Cleaner Clog Destroyer plus PipeGuard

Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength Drain Cleaner Clog Destroyer plus PipeGuard

Liquid-Plumr

What We Like
  • Great for basic clogs

  • Highly effective gel formula

  • Also works in garbage disposals

What We Don't Like
  • May not always clear the toughest clogs

A highly affordable option, Liquid Plumr’s Pro-Strength Drain Cleaner Clog Destroyer Plus Pipeguard clears slow drains and clogs in as few as 15 minutes. This drain cleaner is recommended for monthly use to prevent buildup and future clogs from forming in the first place (in addition to removing current blockages). And since it’s available at most discount department stores, you’re likely to find it at a great price.

This option can work through standing water to dissolve many types of clogs. It also works as an odor remover. Best of all, it features the company’s proprietary Pipeguard, so it’s safe for all types of pipes, as well as septic systems.

Type: Gel | Amount: 80 fluid ounces | Dimensions: 10.80 x 4.02 x 7.07 inches | Weight: 6.1 pounds | Time Needed: 15 minutes

Best Drain Snake: Forlivese Plumbing Snake Drain Auger

Forlivese Plumbing Snake Drain Auger

Forlivese

What We Like
  • Durable design

  • Anti-slip handle

  • Works on indoor and outdoor pipes

What We Don't Like
  • Can break during use 

  • Have to see mess that was clogging your pipe

If you want to avoid using chemical cleaners and are particularly handy, give this drain snake a try. Safe on metal, PVC, and PPB pipes, the Forlivese Plumbing Snake Drain Auger reaches a deep 25 feet into your drain to work through clogs consisting of hair, paper, food, and more. It's easy to assemble because it uses a full-color, six-step instruction manual that lays everything out. (Though, if you don't have any experience with tools or do not feel comfortable using them, call a professional instead.)

Using a simple four-step process, this snake can clear tough blockages where plungers and chemicals have failed. Its spring can bend over 90 degrees to follow your piping without snapping, so it will find its way to clogs no matter the location. Effective on all your home’s drains, including floor drains and the toilet, you likely won’t need another tool for clearing clogs. If you've never used a drain snake before, note that you should wear the included rubber gloves and be ready for quite a mess to come out of your pipes.

Type: Snake | Amount: 1 | Dimensions: ‎4.72 x 5.12 x 7.87 inches | Weight: 2.59 pounds | Time Needed: Not applicable

Best Plunger: Plumb Craft Universal Powerful Mini Home Plunger

Plumb Craft Universal Powerful Mini Home Plunger

Plumb Craft

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Company has made plumbing tools for over 50 years

  • Ergonomically designed and textured handle

What We Don't Like
  • Seal doesn't always provide enough suction

  • Questionable durability

With its combination of a super-strong rubber seal and unique bellows style, this drain plunger uses powerful pressure to clear any clogged drain. Its basic design makes it simple enough for anyone to use without too much effort, though you may question its durability in the face of a tough clog. However, it’s ideal for unclogging any sink, shower, or laundry tub drain in your home. 

All you need to do is place the plunger over your drain and press it down so that the seal locks in place. Then plunge downward and release several times to dislodge your clog, repeating as necessary. When you’re finished, just clean it off and stash it away under the sink or wherever you like—its small size lets you store it nearly anywhere that's convenient for you.

Type: Plunger | Amount: 1 | Dimensions: 11.5 x 5.25 x 5.25 inches | Weight: 2.39 pounds | Time Needed: Not applicable

Best Stopper: OXO Good Grips Silicone Shower & Tub Drain Protector

OXO Good Grips Silicone Shower & Tub Drain Protector

OXO

What We Like
  • Easy to clean 

  • Superb clog prevention

  • Great for catching curly, long hair

What We Don't Like
  • Makes water drain slowly

  • Doesn't catch short, straight hair well

The OXO Good Grips Silicone Shower and Tub Drain Protector prevents hair from slipping into your drain as you shower so that it doesn't lead to future clogs. Designed to allow water flow, without letting hair or other blockage-generating debris through, it keeps clogs and slow drains at bay. It's effective for both standard flat and pop-up drains and has a weighted top to keep it from slipping around. 

Durably constructed of steel and silicone, this quality stopper is likely to last you a while. It’s simple and attractive, so you won’t need to hide it when guests stay overnight. And thankfully, mildew and mold will stay noticeably missing as its silicone coating wipes clean. 

Type: Stopper | Amount: 1 | Dimensions: 2 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches | Weight: 2.72 ounces | Time Needed: Not applicable

Best for Standing Water: Drano Max Gel Clog Remover

4.9
Drano Max Gel Clog Remover

Walmart

What We Like
  • Affordable 

  • Works quickly in most cases

  • Easy to pour without spilling

What We Don't Like
  • Cannot be used on toilets 

  • Strong odor

With a household name known for speedily clearing drains, Drano Max Gel Clog Remover dissolves drain clogs in as few as seven minutes. If you have standing water, this thick bleach gel gets through it and attacks clogs compiled of hair, paper, soap scum, or other organic materials. Safe for all drains, garbage disposals, and septic systems, you can even leave this gel in your drain overnight for tough obstructions.   

To use Drano Max Gel, just pour your first two cups into the clogged drain, then wait 15 minutes (or as long as 30 minutes, if you suspect the clog is larger or tougher than average). Then use hot water to flush the drain and assess how well it worked. Repeat if necessary. This gel is super tough on clogs, but it also comes with an odor, so you'll want to open a window or turn on a fan while using it, as you should with a majority of cleaners.

Type: Gel | Amount: 80 fluid ounces | Dimensions: 10.8 x 7 x 3.4 inches | Weight: 4 pounds | Time Needed: On average, 15-30 minutes

Best Eco-Friendly: Bio-Clean Drain Septic Bacteria

Bio-Clean Drain Septic Bacteria

Amazon

What We Like
  • Safe for septic systems

  • Monthly treatment promotes clear-flowing drains

  • Fume-free

What We Don't Like
  • Can take one or two days to see optimal results

Bio-Clean is a natural, septic system-friendly solution to slow and blocked drains. It consists of friendly bacteria that consume the organic materials found in most clogs. Bio-Clean is useful for all the drains in your home because the enzymes in this powder treatment travel through your piping and septic system, eating and clearing the way as they go. A great value overall (even though it may initially cost more than other treatments), each 2-pound canister provides up to 100 drain treatments.

This solution can be used on currently clogged drains or as a monthly treatment to keep drains clear. In both cases, it’s very easy to use. You just take a measured scoop of the Bio-Clean powder treatment, pour it into an average glass of water, and stir it up. Once mixed in, pour the solution into your drain (any drain will do for monthly maintenance) and let it work. The enzymes start working within 30 minutes and will start to clear the blockage immediately—although it could take a day or two to see optimal results. 

Type: Powder | Amount: 2 pounds | Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 6 inches | Weight: 2 pounds | Time Needed: Begins to work in 30 minutes; can take 1-2 days for full results

Best Hair Catcher: ShowerShroom Ultra Revolutionary Shower Hair Catcher Drain Protector

ShowerShroom Ultra Revolutionary Shower Hair Catcher Drain Protector

ShowerShroom

What We Like
  • Catches human and pet hair without disrupting water flow

  • Straightforward cleanup

  • Easy to install

What We Don't Like
  • Can move around

  • Must manually empty

The ShowerShroom is designed specifically for shower drains, and prevents clogs by catching hair before it gets tangled up in your pipes. But this hair-grabbing stopper doesn’t cover the drain like most stoppers; it fits directly into the drain itself, trapping the hair that slips by in its outer edges. When you're done showering, it wipes clean easily and is immediately ready for its next use. However, you do have to manually dispose of—and come in contact with— the caught hair periodically (much like emptying a vacuum dust bin).

Suitable for any standard 1.5 to 4-inch drain, this stopper actually replaces the original shower drain cover. It's crafted of stainless steel, so it should last you a nice long while, too. If you're looking to dodge chemical cleaners and be proactive when it comes to your drain's care, it's a superb clog prevention method.

Type: Stopper | Amount: 1 | Dimensions: 1.25 x 4.85 x 4.85 inches | Weight: 2.82 ounces | Time Needed: Not applicable

Final Verdict

For a pipe-safe, fume-free, biodegradable option, opt for the Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver. It eats away all the organic matter in your drains. If you’re seeking a budget-friendly way to clear current clogs while preventing future ones, try out Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength Full Clog Destroyer Plus PipeGuard.

What to Look for in a Shower Drain Cleaner

Type

The type of clog in your pipe, as well as your preferred method of clearing it, will inform which type of shower drain cleaner you should choose. Enzyme-based drain cleaners are designed to eat away at clogs consisting of hair, paper, or other organic sources. While they are more eco-friendly than other types, they can also take over eight hours to work effectively.

Other store-bought drain cleaners use various chemicals, like bleach, to clear clogs. While these are typically faster-acting, they also might damage your pipes. In addition, Katie Berry, cleaning expert and The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board member, warns that these type of cleaners can be harmful and hazardous to use. You should never mix cleaners or use different cleaners one after the other, as they may contain ingredients that are not compatible. It's also best to open up a window when using your drain cleaner and ventilate the area well.

Stoppers, plungers, and snakes are more hands-on options that are also more eco-friendly. They're usually more preventative or pipe-preserving when used correctly. For deeper or chunkier clogs, you’ll need a tool like a snake. Most plungers, liquids, and crystals won't clear tougher clogs. However, Richard Epstein, licensed master plumber and The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board member, does recommend calling in a professional over using your own drain cleaner, so you don't damage your plumbing. If you don't have experience using a drain snake or other heavy-duty tool, it also is best to call in a professional.

Additional Safety Precautions 

Some products contain hazardous chemicals that should be handled with great care. Be sure to read labels thoroughly before using any store-bought drain cleaning product. As noted above, always keep the area well-ventilated and stay back from the drain as chemicals are poured in to avoid splashing or fumes. Additionally, most drain snakes sold for home use require that safety goggles be worn. 

To preserve your pipes, familiarize yourself with your plumbing and research what types of products won’t damage it. Most chemical drain cleaners require that a chemical reaction occurs for clogs to clear, which is typically not great for pipes of any kind, especially when used over time. Since store-bought chemical drain cleaners can be very damaging to your plumbing over time, Epstein advises you to call a professional to clear your pipes with an electric snake.

Time Needed

Depending upon the ingredients in the product, and the size and type of your clog, it can take between a few minutes to over 24 hours for a drain to clear. Again, read labels thoroughly and be mindful of how much time each step of the process should take, and if or when to add more water or complete further steps.

FAQ
  • What clogs a shower drain?

    Most shower drain clogs are caused by hair or a blend of hair and heavier hair products. This may also be combined with dirt and soap scum to create tough drain clogs. Occasionally, other items may be at the root of it, but for the most part, hair is the culprit.

  • What’s an effective home remedy for clearing a shower drain?

    Start by using a plunger or a hooked wire hanger on the drain to see if you can draw anything out or loosen it up. If you have metal pipes (not PVC), you could try pouring a small pot of boiling water into the drain, a little bit at a time. If that doesn’t help, you could also try mixing equal parts (a half cup of each) of white vinegar and baking soda and pouring that mixture in while it’s bubbling.

    Let it sit for approximately 10 or 15 minutes, then slowly pour some more boiling water in. You can also try pouring in a half-cup of liquid dish soap, letting it sit for about 10 or 15 minutes, then pouring hot water in. (For non-metal pipes, you can use hot water—like the hottest temperature you could shower in—but not boiling.)

  • When should you call a plumber to clear a shower drain?

    If your drain is clogged, it's always a good time to call a plumber. Epstein notes that “it's normal for shower drains to run slow or clog over time." Cleaning with a snake is, in his opinion, the best and only way to clean a drain effectively and thoroughly. He also believes you should call a professional from the start, so you don't cause any damage to your plumbing.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by KJ Callihan. She has written shopping, activity, and dining guides for The Spruce as well as AAA Northeast magazine, CNET, Best of the Web, Finfrock Marketing, Oh My Veggies, Outward On, and more. For this guide, she researched the details of numerous products, ingredient lists, and user reviews to arrive at her final choices. She also interviewed Richard Epstein, licensed master plumber and The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board member, and Gary Feldhahn, plumbing supervisor at Home Depot, for their expertise on the subject.

This article was edited by Erin Johnson, a commerce editor at The Spruce. Erin focuses on appliances, cleaning, and organization at The Spruce and has also written for Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple, and Southern Living. Erin has long hair and is all too familiar with clogged shower drains. She has used three of the products on this list and highly recommends the ShowerShroom for preventing clogs, and Drano Max Gel or a snake for tackling tough clogs.