Top 5 Best Drain Cleaners for Hair and Soap Scum in 2020

By Mr. Hayes

Mar 29, 2020

Are clogged tub and sink drains cutting your bathroom sessions short? Nobody likes showering in a pool of water and counting the seconds until the water reaches past their ankles. The good news is there’s an easy 2-part fix that’ll get you back up and running in no time. In this guide, we show you how to choose the best drain cleaner for hair and soap scum along with tips on how to unclog your drain.

If you and/or your family members have thick hair that sheds, it’s almost impossible to keep drains clear without some help. At the end of the guide, we’ll show you how to prevent future clogs and keep those drains running all year. Let’s start with a helpful chart below that includes the top 5 drain cleaners and best hair clog removal tools.

Best Hair Clog Remover ToolsDescription
#1) FlexiSnake Drain Weasel

  • #1 Hair Clog Remover Tool
  • Overview: Before using a liquid drain cleaner, this is the tool to use first. The FlexiSnake features special “micro hooks” that are made specifically for grabbing hair and soap scum.
  • How to Use: First, insert the attachment into the drain. Second, thoroughly rotate the handle to grab the hair. Third, pull out the wand with the clog attached. Fourth, dispose of the entire attachment with the hair attached.
#2) Omont Drain Clog Remover Tool

  • Overview: A second hair clog removal tool is the barbed type. This kit by Omont features 5 barbed plastic hair clog removal tools and 1 stainless steel drain cleaner with a claw grip (24″)
  • How to Use: First, straighten the plastic barbed hair clog remover tool. Second, insert it into the drain slowly until the bottom of the handle reaches the drain. Third, jiggle it back and forth before beginning to rotate it. Finally, slowly twist while retracting it to ensure you grab as much hair as possible.
Best Liquid Drain CleanersDescription
#1) Instant Power 1969 Hair and Grease Drain Opener

  • #1 Best Liquid Drain Cleaner for Hair
  • Overview: After removing the bulk of the clog with one or both of the tools above, it’s time to break out the Instant Power. The special formula works to dissolve hair clogs and melt away soap scum.
  • How to Use: First, use a hair clog remover tool such as Drain Weasel to remove most of the solid matter. Second, pour between 1/2 and a full bottle of Instant Power into the drain. Third, allow it to sit in the drain overnight without interruption. The following day, run hot water down the drain to cleanse the pipes.
#2) Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver

  • #1 Best Eco-Friendly Drain Cleaner
  • Overview: If you’re concerned about using chemicals and want to avoid toxic fumes altogether, Green Gobbler is an excellent choice. The non-caustic formula is made for dissolving hair and liquifying soap scum.
  • How to Use: First, pour one chamber (one side) of the bottle down the clogged drain. Second, allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes (overnight is better). Third, run hot water down the drain. Green Gobbler recommends dumping boiling water down the drain for tough clogs, but we typically don’t recommend this because it’s unnecessary if you use a hair clog remover tool first.
#3) Whink Hair Clog Blaster!

  • Overview: Whink Hair Clog Blaster! is easily one of the best liquid drain cleaners for hair & soap scum on the market. However, it’s important to be more careful when handling this formula. We recommend using protective kitchen gloves for all the formulas in this guide.
  • How to Use: First, after making sure the cap is tight, gently shake the bottle. Second, slowly pour 8 to 10 oz of Whink down the clogged drain. Third, allow it to sit for a minimum of 15 to 30 minutes (overnight for tough clogs). Finally, flush the drain with hot water.
#4) XIONLAB Safer Drain Clog Remover

  • #1 Best Environmentally-Friendly Drain Cleaner
  • Overview: XIONLAB’s formula is the most environmentally-friendly in this guide. With this formula, there are no toxic fumes or noxious odors to worry about. It’s also safe to use in the widest variety of drains, excluding toilets.
  • How to Use: First, ensure the cap is tight and invert the bottle a couple of times (do not shake). Second, open the bottle and slowly pour 16 oz down the affected drain. Third, allow the product to sit in the drain for at least 2 hours (overnight is best). Finally, flush the drain with hot water.
#5) Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength Full Clog Destroyer

  • Overview: One of our personal favorite brands is Liquid-Plumr, and the Clog Destroyer formula with PipeGuard does not disappoint. This formula is best for removing and preventing future clogs. To give you a better idea of how well it works, it’s powerful enough to cut through standing water.
  • How to Use: First, we highly recommend wearing gloves when handling this formula. Second, pour 16 oz down the clogged drain. Third, allow it to sit for 15 minutes minimum (longer is better). Finally, flush the drain thoroughly with hot water.

How to Use the Best Drain Cleaner for Hair and Soap Scum

Hair and soap scum are like peas and carrots. They’re also two of the most common culprits in a clogged drain. Once the hair gets caught in the drain, soap scum begins to accumulate around the hair. Then, more hair adds to the glob.

This snowball effect eventually leads to a slow-running or completely clogged drain. More often than not, you’ll begin to notice slower draining times before the problem quickly shifts to, Okay, I need to do something about this.

In the chart above, we shared overviews of each product and how to use them to unclog your drain. In this section, we take a closer look at the products in our guide to answer any questions you may have.

Step #1 – Use a Hair Clog Remover Tool

It’s best to start with a hair clog removal tool to extract the bulk of the clog. If you have a serious clog going on, you might be amazed at the beaver tail that comes out of your drain. The FlexiSnake Drain Weasel is the #1 tool for the job because it makes the process as painless as possible.

The beauty of the Drain Weasel is its patented micro-hooks that latch onto the clog. Picture it this way, you’re basically fishing with the hair removal tool, but instead of a fish, you’re reeling in a clump of hair and soap scum. Once you look at this way, you’ll be more careful with your movements to ensure you latch onto the clog.

Once the micro-hooks connect to the clog, it’s important to retract the handle slowly because you want to get the entire glob in one shot. If you rush the job, you’re more likely to grab only part of the clump, which can make the problem worse if the remainder of the clog gets pushed further down the drain out of the Weasel’s reach.

Since each Weasel attachment is 18″ in length, you really want to get the entire clog in one shot, so what you pull out looks like a raccoon tail. The video below demonstrates how to use the Drain Weasel to effectively remove a clog.

How to use the FlexiSnake Drain Weasel

To jump right to the action skip to the 2:25 mark.

Tips for Best Results

  • Begin to crank the FlexiSnake before it’s fully inserted at about the halfway point. Then, insert it a few inches at a time while cranking it every few inches.
  • We recommend leaving the FlexiSnake in the drain longer than the gentleman in the video and pushing it deeper into the clog. If you have a serious clog, you want to grab as much of the hair as possible because the attachments are not reusable.
  • Once the water begins to flow freely down the drain, there’s no reason to waste another attachment. It’s time to move onto a liquid drain cleaner once you clear the bulk of the hair.
  • Lastly, we recommend using form-fitting protective gloves to avoid pinching your fingers or any other minor injuries. Click Here for a good pair at Amazon.

Step #2 – Follow Up with a Liquid Drain Cleaner

For minor hair and soap scum clogs, a liquid drain cleaner might be all you need. For major clogs that you think are due to large clumps of hair, it’s better not to skip step #1. The goal is to get rid of the clog and prevent it from returning, which we go over in steps 2 and 3.

Okay, so you’ve already removed the bulk of the clog with one of the hair clog remover tools in our guide. Now, it’s time to treat the remaining soap scum and hair with a good liquid drain cleaner that melts hair and soap scum. Another advantage of using a tool first is that you don’t waste any liquid cleaner on the part of the clog that’s the easiest to remove.

If your drain is running fine after using one of the tools, continue to run hot water down it for at least 30 seconds to clear any debris that the tool may have left behind. Wait a few minutes to allow all the water to run down through the drain.

Once the water fully drains, follow the directions on the liquid drainer bottle label to a T. When handling both chemical and eco-friendly drain cleaners, it’s important to avoid contact with skin by wearing protective kitchen gloves such as this pair by Playtex with drip-catch cuffs:

Since most directions for drain cleaners are very similar, let’s watch an Instant Power instructional video to give you a clear understanding of how to use liquid drain cleaner in your bathroom sink and tub drains. Please read the tips section after the video because there are several precautions he skipped in the video below.

Tips for Best Results & Safety

  • First, use the kitchen gloves such as the Playtex brand pictured above.
  • NEVER put the open bottle near the edge of your sink or anywhere where it can tip over.
  • If you have PVC drain pipes, use hot water instead of boiling water to avoid damaging your pipes.
  • For minor clogs, Instant Power used overnight may be all you need as shown in the video below.
  • For serious tub clogs, it’s best to use a hair clog removal tool followed up with an Instant Power overnight soak.

In the final section, let’s go over how to avoid clogs now that you have a clear drain.

How to Prevent Future Clogs

The best way to prevent future clogs is to install a good drain protector that’s designed for your sink or bathtub. Since most people experience clogs due to hair going down the bathtub drain, there’s a nifty device called a TubShroom that’s currently the best hair catcher on the market.

The TubShroom is universal and very easy to install. Simply remove your existing drain cover, then drop in the TubShroom, or if you don’t currently have a drain cover, simply insert the TubShroom.

Once you install the TubShroom, there is a need to pull it over every couple of showers to remove the hair, but this is a small price to pay to avoid future clogged drains.

The image below is the TubShroom for showers and bathtubs:

The SinkShroom below is made for bathroom sinks:

How to Use and Install a Drain Protector

The video below demonstrates how easy it is to install the TubShroom hair catcher.

As pet parents, one thing we love about the TubShroom is that it’s also great for catching dog hair. The kit includes everything you need to insert the TubShroom, including two adapters to ensure it fits virtually any type of drain. Another perk is the included universal drain plug that may come in handy.

How to Use Liquid Drain Cleaner to Prevent Clogs

The best preventative drain cleaner in this guide is Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength Full Clog Destroyer. The special PipeGuard ingredient protects your pipes while the active ingredients remove the clog. For this reason, Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength is a good choice for monthly maintenance to ensure that your clogging issues don’t return.

In reality, the TubShroom is most likely all you need, but if you really, really don’t want your clog to come back, it’s not a bad idea to treat the drain monthly or every couple of months with a few ozs of Liquid-Plumr.

Bottom Line

Now that you know how to choose & how to use the best drain cleaner for hair and soap scum, it’s time to get to work. If your clog is bad enough that the products in this guide fail you, it’s time to move onto our guide to choosing the best drain snake for home use. There’s a good chance your clog is deeper down the line, which requires a snake of 25′ or longer.

In most cases, the hair clog remover tools and liquid drain cleaners in this guide are all you need. Lastly, be sure to consider our tips on how to prevent future clogs to avoid having to ever read this article again, unless of course, you want to share it with your friends and loved ones.

Jump Back to Our Top 5 Chart

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