Liquid Plumr vs. Drano : Which One is Better?

Drains are arguably the dirtiest places in our homes. When not cleaned for a long time, they can spread foul odors and breed dangerous bacteria. But what is better – liquid plumr vs drano?

Even if you buy a new home, there will be a time when you will need to clean your drains. It takes around 6 months for a sink to require drain cleaning.

There are multiple methods for cleaning your drains:

  • Using homemade remedies
  • Using mechanical methods such as plumber’s snake or an auger
  • Using chemical cleaners

When it comes to chemical drain openers, two of the most popular products are Liquid Plumr and Drano.

This post compares the two drain cleaning products so you decide which one works best for your plumbing issues. Keep on reading to find out how does Liquid Plumr work and how does Drano work.

Liquid Plumr vs Drano


When prevention methods and homemade cleaners have failed, it’s time to consider powerful products such as Liquid Plumr and Drano.

Liquid Plumr is a chemical drain opener produced by Clorox. It contains 0.5-2% sodium hydroxide and 5-10% sodium hypochlorite, plus a surfactant.

There are multiple products sold under the brand name Liquid Plumr:

  • Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength Urgent Clear Clog Remover
  • Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength Foaming Clog Fighter
  • Liquid-Plumr Industrial Strength Urgent Clear Clog Remover
  • Liquid-Plumr Hair Clog Eliminator

Drano is also an American drain cleaner, manufactured by S.C. Johnson & Son. This product has an almost one century old history and is almost synonymous with drain cleaning. It was invented by Harry Drackett in 1923 (the Crystal Drano version).

Drano used to hold 90% of the market for drain cleaners until Liquid Plumr heavily promoted its products in the 70s. As a result, Drano’s competitor managed to cut half of the market share and establish a reputable brand.

The crystal form of the product contains the following substances:

  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Sodium chloride
  • Aluminum shards

Other Drano products have been developed throughout time, such as:

  • Drano Aerosol Plunger (retired due to fire hazard)
  • Liquid Drano
  • Drano Foamer
  • Drano Kit

How does Liquid Plumr work?


According to the product’s description, Liquid Plumr has a triple action formula that provides the following benefits:

  • Being able to pour through standing water
  • Unblocking full clogs
  • Protecting pipes
  • Fighting odors
  • Creating a repellent barrier that protects pipes with regular monthly use

Liquid Plumr contains two key active ingredients: sodium hydroxide or lye and sodium hypochlorite or bleach. Mixing the drain cleaner with water causes bleach to react to lye and water. As a result, the cleaner becomes corrosive and releases heat. The mixture travels through pipes and breaks down blockages.

Liquid Plumr needs approximately 15 minutes to unclog a drain.

Liquid Plumr advantages


Here are some good reasons to use Liquid Plumr to keep your drains clean and sanitized:

  • Fast

Clogged drains are clean again in less than 15 minutes.

  • Degrades quickly

Liquid Plumr is not one of those harsh solutions that can damage your plumbing. Its active ingredients degrade quickly and do not harm bacteria in septic systems.

  • Being available in multiple versions

Liquid Plumr Foaming Pipe Snake contains hydrogen peroxide and thickens into a foam. This foam is able to reach the least accessible clogs, such as those at the edge of pipes.

Liquid Plumr Power Jet Instant Clog Remover pulses a blast of carbon dioxide to remove clogs from pipes.

Liquid Plumr limitations

In spite of its benefits, Liquid Plumr comes with some drawbacks as well:

  • Damages rubber pipes

Don’t use Liquid Plumr with rubber pipes as the product is too powerful for rubber.

  • No mixing with ammonia

Don’t mix Liquid Plumr or any other product containing bleach with ammonia. The result is a reaction that releases a poisonous gas.

  • Not very effective with toilet clogs

Liquid Plumr is not effective in dissolving waste matter that clogs toilet pipes. It does not yield the best result when it comes to toilet clogs.

How does Drano work

Drano is marketed as a reliable, affordable solution for clogged drains, that does not cause septic tank problems. But how does Drano work?

One of Drano’s main active ingredients is sodium hydroxide or lye, which decomposes organic matter. Unlike other products, Drano also contains aluminum shards which contributes to creating a powerful chemical reaction and heat.

The product generates heat at near-boiling temperatures due to lye reacting with water.  Heat speeds up the decomposition process.

Lye further reacts with softened grease, creating soap that hot water dissolves. Eventually it reacts with aluminum and it forms hydrogen bubbles. These bubbles help loosen clog particles. Using Drano starts several chemical reactions in a row, which makes it very powerful.

Drano advantages

Drano has been used for almost a century and not without a reason:

  • Is easy to use

Drano can be used without any special skills or training. You just need to read the product’s instructions and proceed.

  • Is affordable

The price of a bottle of Drano is less than the money you would have to pay for plumbing equipment.

  • Solves the problem fast

Drano needs 15 minutes or less to clean your drain, including clogs.

  • Can dissolve the most stubborn clogs

Shower drains clogged with hair and kitchen sinks clogged with food and grease – Drano can tackle all of these issues.

Drano limitations


Can damage plumbing systems

Some plumbers advise against using Drano because of the strong chemical reactions it causes. The continuous reactions could soften and break PVC pipes according to some sources. [1]

Can act unpredictably

Drano can burn your skin if it accidentally splashes up. If amounts of Drano remain in your plumbing system, you can have an unexpected chemical reaction. You can use another chemical product forgetting about the previous use of Drano and inadvertently create toxic fumes.

Can damage the environment

Using drain cleaners such as Drano may not be a green solution. Dangerous toxins can form when such products come in contact with surface water.

It does not unclog toilets

Because drain cleaners are heavier than water, they sit at the bottom of the toilet bowl. They are unable to travel up over the siphon curve and reach the clog.

Liquid Plumr vs Drano – which is best?

Liquid Plumr and Drano are competitors. Each brand has a team of advertisement experts, responsible for persuading consumers that their product is the best.

Completing a split test at home on drains that are similarly clogged will result in effective cleaning with both products. Several guides and experts have tested the two products with the following results:

  • The Bob Vila home advice website listed Drano Max Gel as the third best bank for the buck. It did not rank Liquid-Plumr.
  • Good Housekeeping rated Liquid Plumr has the best drain cleaner for hair clogs. Drano Max Gel, however, was presented as the best overall drain cleaner.
  • The Spruce considers Drano Max Gel the bets overall drain cleaner, and did not mention the competitor in their roundup.
  • A research of customer reviews by Best of Machinery awarded the sixth place to Drano Max Gel and the eight to Liquid Plumr.

Drano has been reviewed more favorably by most users, with Liquid Plumr looked more effective for certain types of clogs.

The two products are very similar when it comes to multiple aspects:

  • Their prices are comparable;
  • Are advertised as safe for household plumbing except rubber pipes;
  • None is suitable for cleaning toilet clogs, except for Drano Max Build-Up Remover for toilets;
  • Both products are safe in septic systems;
  • Both drain cleaners cut through standing water;
  • None of the two products should be mixed with other cleaning products – toxic fumes can result;
  • Drain cleaners such as Liquid Plumr and Drano are not safe for skin contact;
  • The cleaning time is 15 minutes for both products;
  • Both products come from trusted brands and tackle clogged drains in a similar manner.

It is safe to say that you won’t go wrong with any of these products. Some home testers claim they needed one round of Drano and two rounds of Liquid Plumr for similar clogs. If you read how does Drano work, you will notice this product produces more chemical reactions than its competitor.

Every clog is different. One product can have better performance in a situation and the other can produce better results under different circumstances.

Given the affordable price of both products, you can test both without wasting losing anything.