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Liquid-Plumr vs. Drano: Which Drain Cleaner Is Better?

In this comparison of Liquid-Plumr vs. Drano, I explain the key differences between these two popular drain cleaning brands.

You’ll learn how they compare in terms of effectiveness (based on my real testing), ingredients, product options, price, and more.

So, if you’re dealing with a backed-up drain and need a solution fast, keep reading.

Use the links below to navigate this comparison:

Which Drain Cleaner Works the Best?

Which drain cleaner works the best? Is Drano better than Liquid-Plumr (or vice versa)?

To find out, I put Drano Dual-Force Foamer and Liquid-Plumr Clog Destroyer Plus Pipeguard to the test.

Liquid Plumr versus Drano_which works best

Over six months, both sinks in my master bathroom became clogged.

For the first clog, I used Drano Dual-Force Foamer exactly as instruction on the bottle. I poured the entire solution (17 fluid ounces) slowly into the drain, waited one hour, and flushed it with hot water for five minutes.

Testing Liquid-Plumr and Drano
Testing Liquid-Plumr and Drano

And, for the second, I used Liquid-Plumr Clog Destroyer Plus Pipeguard. This product comes in a much bigger bottle (80 fluid ounces), but you only need to use 16. I poured it slowly down the drain, waited fifteen minutes (as instructed), and flushed the drain with hot water.

Here are the results. Both Drano and Liquid-Plumr completely cleared the clogs and restored normal function to the drain; however, Drano did the job on the first try, and Liquid-Plumr took two rounds.

There are some important things to consider here. First, the drains and plumbing were the same, and both caused several inches of water backup, but there is no way to replicate the exact clog in both sinks. In other words, I couldn’t tell if the clog I cleared with Drano was more or less severe than the one I cleared with Liquid-Plumr.

Also, both brands offer several different drain cleaners (more on that in a minute), so it’s unclear whether the results would have been different if I used other formulas.

The key takeaway is that Drano and Liquid-Plumr both work, and they both work really well. In my experiment, Drano removed the clog more efficiently. But, ultimately, both got the job done.

So, if you’re wondering which drain cleaner is “better,” rest assured knowing both are effective.

What Others Are Saying

I’m not the only one who has tested Drano and Liquid-Plumr. Researchers and prominent publications have been trying to find the best drain cleaners for years.

Let’s look at how Liquid-Plumr and Drano performed in these tests.

  • In Bob Vila’s roundup of the best drain cleaners for hair, Drano Max Gel came in at number three as “best bang for the buck” due to its ability to dissolve hair and soap scum in minutes. Liquid-Plumr, however, didn’t rank.
  • In Good Housekeeping’s list of the best drain cleaners, Liquid-Plumr ranked as the best drain cleaner for hair clogs. Drano Max Gel ranked as the number one best overall drain cleaner.
  • The Architect’s Guide ranked Drano Max Gel as their second-best drain cleaner. Whereas Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength just made the cut at number 10. However, it was highly praised for its fast action in slow-running and even fully clogged drains. Keep in mind this list is based on product reviews rather than independent testing.
  • The Spruce also awarded Drano Max Gel as their best overall drain cleaner, praising its heavy-duty capabilities. LiquidPlumr wasn’t mentioned in this roundup.  
  • Best of Machinery researched customer reviews to produce its list of the best 10. Drano Max Gel was awarded sixth place while Liquid-Plumr Gel was awarded eighth.

Ingredients and How They Work

There are two main types of drain cleaners: chemical and enzyme.

Chemical cleaners, as the name suggests, use strong chemicals to break down and dissolve the clog so you can easily wash it away.

Enzyme cleaners use bacteria to eat away at the clog, breaking them down into tiny particles so it can be washed away. These are a bit safer and eco-friendly since they don’t contain harsh chemicals, but they’re not always as powerful and effective as chemical cleaners.

Both Liquid-Plumr and Drano are chemical cleaners, so they work in a similar manner; however, the exact ingredients differ.

In the lists below, you’ll notice that Liquid-Plumr and Drano both contain water, Sodium Hypochlorite, and Sodium Hydroxide, but the rest of the formulas are unique.

First, let’s look at what’s inside the Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength All-Purpose Clog Destroyer Gel (ingredients on SmartLabel.com).

  • Water: Water is used as the base of most cleaning products.
  • Sodium Hypochlorite: It removes germs and breaks down tough clogs.
  • Sodium Chloride: A rock salt that thickens and stabilizes formulas.
  • Sodium Hydroxide: It’s a pH adjuster, and it also removes fatty, oily, and acidic soils.
  • Cetyl Betaine: It’s a cleaning surfactant, but it also thickens and stabilizes formulas.
  • Sodium Xylene Sulfonate: It stabilizes other ingredients in the formula.
  • Sodium Orthosilicate: Protects the metal parts in drains, as well as preventing dirt from redepositing.
  • Potassium Iodide: Stabilizes sodium hypochlorite.
  • Pigment Green 7: Adds color and acts as a tracer.

Now, let’s look at Drano Kitchen Gel (ingredients on WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com).

  • Water: A liquid base for the formula.
  • Sodium Hypochlorite: This is the primary ingredient in laundry detergent. It helps remove mold and mildew drains. It also breaks down clogs.
  • Sodium Hydroxide: It helps the formula clean better by adjusting the pH and stabilizing the product. It also helps dissolve organic matter in drain clogs.
  • Capric Acid: A cleaning agent that removes dirt and deposits. It loosens grime from the drain so that they can be rinsed away.
  • Lauric Acid: An emulsifier that binds ingredients together and prevents the formula from separating.
  • Amine Oxide: A cleaning agent that loosens dirt scum and clogs from the drain.
  • Polystyrene Polymer: A film former that attaches to the pipe’s walls and prevents dirt from sticking. It helps with rinsing away dirt and preventing soap scum from adhering to the surfaces.
  • Sodium Silicate: A corrosion inhibitor to prevent faucets and drains from corroding.

Product Options

Liquid-Plumr and Drano offer several drain cleaning products formulated to fit different situations, including hair clogs, kitchen clogs, preventing clogs, and much more.

Let’s look at both brand’s products in detail.

Liquid-Plumr Products:

Liquid Plumr Drain Cleaner

Liquid-Plumr Clog Destroyer Plus PipeGuard (Amazon): A thick gel with triple the power cuts through standing water to dissolve tough clogs. It can even prevent new ones from forming, as well as remove nasty odors.

Liquid-Plumr Clog Destroyer Plus Urgent Clear (Amazon): Removes tough clogs in seven minutes. Hair, gunk, grease, soap scum, and other stubborn clogs are no match for this drain cleaner.

Liquid-Plumr Clog Destroyer Plus Hair Clog Eliminator (Amazon): This formula can destroy thick hairballs within 15 minutes.

Liquid-Plumr Kitchen Clog Destroyer Gel (LiquidPlumr.com): This gel cuts through standing water and grease clogs in kitchen drains. Plus, the lemon scent helps with deodorizing.

Liquid-Plumr Clog Destroyer Plus Double Impact Snake (LiquidPlumr.com): This comes with a 23-inch snake to dislodge clogs. The thick gel will then flush away the remaining dirt and gunk.

Liquid-Plumr Clog Destroyer Plus Foaming Clog Fighter (LiquidPlumr.com): Perfect for slow running drains. Two potent liquids come together to create a thick foam that cleans pipes, clears clogs, and maintains your garbage disposal.

Liquid-Plumr Industrial Strength Gel (Amazon): For big jobs, this industrial-strength drain cleaner will crush clogs and clear them away.

Liquid-Plumr Disposal and Drain Cleaner (LiquidPlumr.com): Drop one of these foaming tablets into your drain or garbage disposal and let the clogs clear. It will also leave behind a fresh citrus scent.

Drano Products:

Drano Drain Cleaner

Drano Max Gel (Amazon): This thick formula cuts through standing water before clinging to tough clogs to remove them quickly. It’s perfect for hair, soap scum, and other gunky clogs.

Drano Kitchen Granules (Amazon): These granules heat water to bust grease clogs in kitchen sinks.

Drano Dual Force Foamer (Amazon): The two formulas combine to create a powerful foam that removes clogs. The foam fills the pipes to clear the walls from gunk and clogs, getting into nooks and crannies where liquid can’t. Afterward, run hot water to flush away the remains.

Drano Liquid Drain Cleaner (Amazon): This cleaner works after 15 to 30 minutes to minimize or dissolve drains. Use hot water afterward to flush away the remaining residue.

Drano Snake Plus (Amazon): Use the drain snake first to loosen the clog. Then use the gel cleaner to blast the clog away.

Drano Max Build-Up Remover (Amazon): This unique formula, created with natural enzymes and bacteria, prevents clogs from forming. Use this monthly to prevent clogs from forming.

Drano Advanced Septic Treatment (Amazon): Formulated with enzymes, this treatment breaks down solid waste, oil, grease, protein, paper, and more.

Drano Hair Buster Gel (Amazon): This gel cuts through standing water and blasts through hair clogs. It dissolves the hair to wash away the clog.

Drano Kitchen Gel (Drano.com): Formulated especially for greasy kitchen clogs, this gel cuts through standing water and attacks clogs. Say goodbye to bad smells, germs, and bacteria.


Drano and Liquid-Plumr are relatively inexpensive, so price shouldn’t be a factor when deciding which brand to buy.

With both brands, you can expect to pay between $10 and $40 per bottle, and most bottles can handle between one and three clogs.

The best way to get the most value is to buy in bulk. Both brands offer larger bottles (80 fluid ounces) and multi-bottle packs.

The chart below shows the current prices on Amazon of the best-selling Liquid-Plumr and Drano products.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

FAQs About Liquid-Plumr and Drano

Below are the most frequently asked questions about Liquid-Plumr and Drano.

Knowing the answers to these key questions will help you decide which product is right for you.

What type of drains do Liquid-Plumr and Drano work on?

Liquid-Plumr products are safe for all household plumbing except rubber pipes. You should also avoid using Liquid-Plumr products on toilets and dishwashers, but the products are safe for septic systems.

Drano products won’t damage metal or plastic pipes. Drano Clog Removers can be used in kitchen and bathroom sinks, showers, and bathtubs, but they can’t be used in toilets. There is one exception; you may use the Drano Max Build-Up Remover for toilets. Drano products are safe in septic systems.

What type of clogs do Liquid-Plumr and Drano work on?

It depends on the exact product you choose, but both brands offer drain cleaners that work on soap scum, hair, grease, dirt, and general gunk.

Can you pour Liquid-Plumr and Drano through standing water?

It depends on the product you choose. Most Liquid-Plumr products cut through standing water, but check the exact instructions on the packaging. Drano recommends using Drano® Max Gel Clog Remover for standing water.

Will Liquid-Plumr and Drano damage the pipes?

Both brands are designed for metal and plastic pipes without causing damage. Do not use these products with rubber pipes.

Will Liquid-Plumr and Drano damage the septic system?

No. All products across both brands are safe if you have a septic system. The ingredients degrade quickly so they won’t impact the bacteria in your tank.

Is it safe to mix Liquid-Plumr and Drano with other products?

No, it’s not safe. The chemicals in these products can react with other substances and create hazardous gases. Always use cleaning products on their own and as directed.

What should you do if you accidentally spilled Liquid-Plumr or Drano on your skin?

Drain cleaners aren’t safe for skin contact, so if you accidentally get the product on your skin, wash immediately with water. If you experience any irritation or are concerned about your symptoms, call your doctor.

Will Liquid-Plumr and Drano damage your sink, toilet, or tub, if you don’t pour it directly into the drain?

Both products are formulated to be safe on all kinds of materials, including porcelain, stainless steel, marble, and many more.

How long do Liquid-Plumr and Drano take to work?

It depends on the specific product, but with Liquid-Plumr, it takes around 15 minutes before you can flush the drain with water. For Drano, it takes 15 minutes for routine clogs and 30 minutes for severe clogs.

In what situations should you not use Liquid-Plumr or Drano?

For Liquid-Plumr, you shouldn’t use the product for unclogging toilets or dishwashers. Avoid using a plunger along with Drano and Liquid-Plumr. The force from plunging can cause the drain cleaner to splash out of the bowl.  Do not use Liquid-Plumr for your garbage disposal unless you’ve chosen a product specifically designed for that purpose. Liquid-Plumr can also not remove foreign objects from the drains. So if there is silverware or something else causing a clog — you will need to call a plumber.

Do not use Drano on toilet clogs unless you’re using the Max Build-Up Remover. Check the manufacturer’s advice before using it in garbage disposals since some products are safe for this purpose while others are not. Never use Drano for dishwashers. Like Liquid-Plumr, Drano cannot remove foreign objects from the drains.

What are some alternatives to Liquid-Plumr or Drano?

Besides Drano and LiquidPlumr, below are some other popular and highly-effective drain cleaners:

What companies own Liquid-Plumr and Drano?

Both brands are a part of major corporations. Clorox, the leading bleach manufacturer, owns Liquid-Plumr, and S. C. Johnson & Son, the family-owned consumer goods giant, owns Drano.

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Liquid-Plumr or Drano?

If your drain is clogged and you’re looking for a quick fix, you’re in luck.

Drano and Liquid-Plumr are both trusted brands that offer a wide variety of drain cleaners to tackle all types of clogs. Both are simple to use, affordable, and, most importantly, highly effective.

Both are chemical drain cleaners and, although their formulas differ, they tackle clogged drains in the same manner. The potent ingredients, such as Sodium Hypochlorite, break down and dissolve clogs so you can flush them away.

So, which brand should you buy?

Based on my testing, I recommend Drano. I only needed to use 17 fluid ounces, and it worked on the first try. Liquid-Plumr worked great too, but it took two rounds of 16 fluid ounces.

That said, every clog is different, so what worked for me may not work for you. There are also situations where liquid drain cleaner won’t work at all, regardless of brand. Based on my test, other companies’ tests, and the dozens of positive reviews of both brands on Amazon (view Drano reviews, view Liquid-Plumr reviews), it’s safe to say that you can’t go wrong with either.

Since drain cleaners are relatively cheap, choose one and give it a try. If it doesn’t work, try the other. If both don’t work, you might have a more severe clog that requires either a drain snake or an actual plumber.

You can pick up Drano and Liquid-Plumr and most supermarkets, home improvement stores, and online at the links below.


Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He began his career in marketing, managing campaigns for dozens of Fortune 500 brands. In 2018, Andrew founded Prudent Reviews and has since reviewed 600+ products. When he’s not testing the latest cookware, kitchen knives, and appliances, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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