How to choose the right drain cleaner to unclog a drain


While homeowners may be tempted to grab any off-the-shelf drain cleaner (or “homemade solution” such as baking soda and vinegar) to clear a clogged drain, professionals have a range of more effective options to choose from. Here’s an overview of which cleaners are right for the job.

Unclogging the drain with the right product

GlugOnce you’ve arrived at the job site and determined whether the situation is an emergency (a complete blockage) or a drain that’s still slowly draining, you can make an educated decision about what drain cleaner to choose. Knowing the severity of the clog will tell you whether you need a fast-acting solution or one that is designed for maintenance.

To open the clogged drain quickly and effectively, you should use a specific cleaner capable of dissolving each clog’s unique collected matter. Hercules offers drain-cleaning products designed to eliminate a variety of different clogs, including:

  • Kitchen and bathroom clogs: Hercules Glug® Kitchen Liquid Drain Opener is specially formulated to dissolve sink clogs that contain grease and food particles, and is safe for disposals. Hercules Glug® Bath Liquid Drain Opener works wonders on clogs common in bathrooms because it contains bleach to eradicate clogs containing hair clogs and soap scum. Another great option for kitchen and bath, Hercules Glug® Crystals Drain Opener requires hot water, and it works quickly to clear sluggish drains and dissolve grease, hair, soap, food and other organic material (not safe for use with a garbage disposal).
  • Main sewer line clog: Hercules® R-D™ Root Destroyer is a special flake-like formula that is formulated to prevent and stop root growth in external drain lines. Because this formula interacts with water, the drain line usually needs to be mechanically opened up to allow the water to flow, then apply Root Destroyer at or near the location of the root clog.
  • Commercial / Foodservice Maintenance - Hercules® PT-4™ Dissolves fats, oils and greases to improve flow, reduce odors and prevent corrosion.  It prevents blockages before they happen and quickly deodorizes all parts of the drainage system. Contact your local plumbing supplier for availability, as PT-4 is only sold in some states.
  • Flow improver: Hercules® PT-BIO1™ is an ideal maintenance solution to keep drains clean without the use of acids, caustics or harsh chemicals. It can be used to eliminate odors on surfaces or as a cleaner, degreaser and emulsifier during mechanical snaking.
  • Septic system care: If a home has a septic tank, many drain cleaners will kill beneficial bacteria in the tank. In such cases, using a product such as Hercules® Bacta-Life® will help restore the good bacteria that was lost, so the septic system can work optimally again. Hercules® Septic-Flow is ideal for septic system maintenance and efficiency improvement. To temporarily eliminate septic system back-ups and overflows, choose Hercules® Cesspool Cleaner. And, Hercules® Aid-Ox for septic systems is formulated to maintain proper drainage and treat clogged and sluggish cesspools, seepage pits, drywell and drain fields. 

Crystal and Liquid Drain Cleaners

Hercules offers drain cleaning solutions in crystal and liquid formulations depending on your situation and the water source available to you. Refer to the product guide below to help you choose the right product for your job. One of the benefits of using Hercules Glug® crystals versus other brands is that its larger crystals reach a higher maximum temperature faster, dissolving difficult clogs more quickly than the competition.

Acid Drain Openers

For safety reasons, Hercules acid drain openers can only be used by plumbing or maintenance professionals. Be sure to wear protective equipment when handling these products and refer to all safety information provided. These products are ideal for the most severe drain issues.

  • Hercules Clobber®: For the most serious emergency waste line stoppages, Hercules Clobber® is the fastest and most effective method of cleaning the drain. It rapidly disintegrates paper, rags, food and all organic matter.
  • Hercules Sizzle®: Sizzle is a powerful scale remover that effectively removes scale, salts, mineralized deposits, slime and corrosion to help clean the drain and prevent future clogs.

Before using these acidic drain cleaners on metallic drain lines, Oatey recommends that the integrity of lines are confirmed to be in good condition in order to help prevent any pipe/joint damages during the cleaning process.

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