Last updated: August 24, 2021

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Welcome to our big pipe cleaner test 2021. Here we present all the pipe cleaners we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best pipe cleaner for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a pipe cleaner.




Summary

  • There are different types and forms of drain cleaners. Some drain cleaners are more suitable for the bathroom, others can be used very well in the kitchen.
  • Basically, a distinction is made between liquid cleaners and granules. However, you can still choose between organic and inorganic products. Liquid pipe cleaners will help you especially with very severe blockages.
  • With inorganic pipe cleaners there is always the risk of pipe damage. Too much product or too long an exposure time could, in the worst case, lead to a burst pipe. These cleaners are also harmful to the environment.

The Best Pipe Cleaner: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a pipe cleaner

Which pipe cleaners are suitable for the kitchen?

With any blockage, it is important to first ask yourself what is causing the blockage. Different drain cleaners work differently on different blockages.

A blocked sink in the kitchen often tests your patience. Not every clog can be cleared easily. At worst, a blocked drain can turn into a burst pipe. (Image source: pixabay.com / Kaboompics)

In the kitchen in particular, the drain is usually blocked by grease, small food residues and other dirt particles, whereas other cleaning agents are recommended for the sink, bathtub or toilet.

Which drain cleaners can I use on which materials in the pipes?

The pipes in the kitchen sink are mostly made of metal or plastic. There are products that are not suitable for plastic pipes.

You should always be careful with cleaners that have a very strong corrosive effect or work with high pressure. These agents are only suitable for metal pipes.

Many inorganic drain cleaners contain dangerous caustic soda or caustic potash, i.e. they are particularly strong alkalis that are harmful to health. Ingestion of these agents can cause serious injuries and rarely even fatalities.

An excessive amount of these cleaners can aggravate a severe final blockage or damage the pipes from the inside.

What is the difference between organic and inorganic pipe cleaners and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

When it comes to dissolving the stuck dirt deposits, the effects of chemical pipe cleaners are very strong. They can damage the pipe and are harmful to the wastewater.

The question is: on what basis does an organic drain cleaner work and how effective is it?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an organic drain cleaner?

Advantages
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Harmless to pipes
Disadvantages
  • Long contact time
  • Need to be used more often

What alternatives are there for unclogging?

Not every blockage necessarily has to be cleared with a pipe cleaner. There are also various home remedies or devices that you can use.

There are many ways that can help you with a blocked drain. It often makes sense to use manual solutions first. Especially because a chemical pipe cleaner can be harmful to the pipe. (Image source: pixabay.com / Fran1)

Moreover, with chemical cleaners there is always the risk that the pipe will be damaged from the inside.

In the following section, we will give you a brief overview of the alternatives to pipe cleaners.

Home remedy

Vinegar and baking soda are often a very effective solution. Nevertheless, these remedies are unfortunately only effective against light blockages. However, they can neutralise odours in the pipes very well.

Here you can watch a video showing you exactly how to clean a blocked sink with your home remedy.

Dismantle the siphon

With the sink, blockages are often located in the trap or siphon. You can simply unscrew the trap and flush it out.

The best thing to do is to put a large bucket under the siphon and wrap an old rag around the threaded part of the siphon. You can also use vinegar to clean the pipe thoroughly.

To give you a better idea of what to do, we have prepared a video with instructions on how to dismantle and clean the siphon.

Spindle/spiral

You can also use this to remove a blockage behind the trap. It is advisable to wear old clothes. This solution is very effective but also sometimes very unpleasant because the spindle can bend and splash.

Plunger/ suction cup

The use of a plunger is a method that has proven itself with time and experience. If the sink no longer drains and the pipe is not too deeply clogged, you can use it.

It also makes sense to rinse the sink several times with hot water and washing-up liquid so that the blockage from the siphon is completely removed.

Decision: What types of pipe cleaners are there and which is the right one for you?

There are different pipe cleaners in different forms. The three types of pipe cleaners you can buy for home use are:

  • Liquid cleaner
  • Granules

Furthermore, you can also choose between organic and inorganic drain cleaners. These are usually liquid and cost more than chemical cleaners.

What distinguishes a liquid cleaner and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Liquid drain cleaners form very strong caustic lyes on contact with water, which dissolve greasy components and proteins.

If the blockage is deep in the pipe, you should use liquid pipe cleaners. These agents can best reach a deep blockage.

Most of the time, this cleaner will also help with the bad smell in the pipe. It is advisable to rinse the pipe with detergent and hot water or clean it with vinegar.

Advantages
  • Against odour
  • Against bacteria, grease and hair
  • Suitable for deep blockage
Disadvantages
  • Harmful to the pipe
  • Harmful to the environment

The main disadvantage of inorganic liquid cleaners is the risk of damaging the pipe (in some cases, too much of this product can cause it to break) and the harmfulness of this product to the environment.

What are the characteristics of granules and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Granules are particularly suitable for drains that are only partially blocked. Compared to liquid cleaners, granules work faster.

It can also happen that the liquid cleaner simply runs off at a spot that is not yet completely blocked, without completely removing the blockage. For this, the granulate is a perfect solution.

Advantages
  • Fast action
  • Effective on poorly draining water
  • Against bacteria, grease and hair
Disadvantages
  • Harmful to the pipe
  • Not effective on completely blocked drains
  • Not against odours

If overdosed, granules can damage the pipe. Granules are not suitable for plastic pipes because the mixture becomes very hot during application.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate pipe cleaners

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible pipe cleaners.

In summary, these are:

  • Pipe material
  • Reaction time
  • Effectiveness against odour and bacteria
  • Efficiency against grease and hair

Pipe material

When choosing a pipe cleaner, you should always first find out what your pipe is made of. Most of the time they are made of metal or plastic, more rarely of ceramic.

Although you should always be careful not to pour too much cleaner into the pipe, especially with plastic pipes you must use the appropriate cleaner.

Unfortunately, people often forget to check the pipe materials beforehand. Nowadays, the pipes are mostly made of plastic, although the pool itself is of high quality. (Picture source: pixabay.com / Semevent)

Some pipe cleaners are very corrosive and can damage the pipe, or in the worst case, cause it to break. For plastic pipes, manual solutions are preferable.

Contact time

There is a relatively wide range of exposure times between different pipe cleaners.

In general, inorganic pipe cleaners work faster. In the case of biological cleaners, the agent must act overnight to achieve the desired effect.

Manual methods are very effective. Pressure cleaners, spindles, wire brushes, etc. work immediately on a blocked drain.

Often the labels of inorganic products claim that they only need a few minutes to work. However, you can read in many consumer reviews that they often let these agents work for much longer.

Effectiveness against odour and bacteria

Almost all liquid pipe cleaners and granules work well against bacteria. Unfortunately, not every product can help with a smelly drain.

Some granules in particular will not affect the odour. Manual solutions will not eliminate odour or bacteria. Likewise, pressure-based pipe cleaners will unfortunately not help.

Effectiveness against grease and hair

If the water from the kitchen sink drains only slowly or not at all, the cause is usually grease, food residues and other dirt deposits. In the case of the washbasin, hair is the most common cause of blockage.

Most liquid cleaners and granules are very effective on both hair and grease. A pressure washer is also a good solution.

Unfortunately, manual solutions will not help much with grease. Pipe cleaner alternatives such as a suction cup or spiral will not degrease the pipe well.

Facts worth knowing about pipe cleaners

How do I apply a pipe cleaner?

Different pipe cleaners have different dosages, effects and exposure times. Above all, it is important that you look for the right dosage when using the pipe cleaner.

The duration of action will also differ between the products. It is important that you never exceed the recommended exposure time. Otherwise, the pipe cleaner can damage your pipe.

Here you will find the general instructions for liquid pipe cleaner and for granulate:

Liquid cleaner Granules
1. Pour the agent down the drain Remove water above the drain opening
2. Leave to act Ensure sufficient ventilation
3. Rinse with warm water Pour in granules
4. Rinse with warm water
5. Leave to act
6. Rinse again thoroughly with warm water

Is a pipe cleaner harmful to the environment?

Since the effect of most non-organic pipe cleaners is based on the formation of a caustic lye, we can only answer this question with "yes".

Often the products you can buy in drugstores or markets are not environmentally friendly. In recent years, various organic products have also come onto the market, most of which work on an enzymatic basis.

Besides earth and air, water is one of the most important components of nature. Water is the habitat of many organisms. (Image source: unsplash.com / Nick Sarro)

With the exception of these biological pipe cleaners, all the liquid cleaners and granules are harmful to the environment. One could argue that since the lye runs out of the pipe into the sewage system, it is highly diluted and therefore no longer harmful to the environment.

Picture source: 123rf.com / Popov A.

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