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The 5 best enzyme drain cleaners

Whether you’re looking for an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical-laden cleaners or you don't want to risk corrosion to your home's pipes, the best enzyme drain cleaners will give you a safe and effective way to keep both your plumbing and septic system operating smoothly. Though they're all optimized for breaking down organic matter (like hair, toilet paper, food particles, and other gunk) and eliminating unpleasant odors, the type of cleaner you choose will depend on your drain-clearing needs.

When shopping around, you'll want to remember that enzymatic drain cleaners typically work more slowly than chemical ones and may require multiple treatments (and lots of patience) to completely clear a clog, especially if it was caused by a complex protein like hair. If that's the case, a larger jug of concentrated liquid will be the fastest way to target and loosen up particles. These formulas are often multipurpose, too, so beyond pouring them down sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets, they are also handy for things like erasing pet smells that have been baked into rugs.

If clogged drains are an ongoing issue in your home, prevention will be your best method. Enzyme-based products in pod or stick form will make routine maintenance as easy and convenient as possible since they're formulated to release slowly over time. The most cost-effective way to prevent obstructions in your plumbing, however, will be a powder-based bio-enzymatic cleaner, which uses a combination of enzymes and bacteria to "digest" gunk. Though they will require some preparation, they typically come in generously sized containers with enough treatments for a year or more.

With all that in mind, I've curated a list of the best enzyme drain cleaners on Amazon — these are all biodegradable and can be used safely in all manners of drains.

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1. The tried-and-true one

Safe to use with all pipes and septic systems, this gallon-sized nontoxic Green Gobbler enzyme drain cleaner contains a powerful formula made of multiple strains of bacteria and enzymes that eat away at grease, toilet paper, sludge, food waste, and other organic material, making drains run faster. In addition to floor drains, this cleaner can also tackle backed-up garbage disposals, septic systems, and even commercial kitchen grease traps. Plus, a few Amazon users also reported that it's also helped them eradicate drain flies.

For maximum effectiveness, the manufacturer recommends using it on an as-needed basis— daily, weekly, or monthly treatments will all help keep drains clear.

One reviewer says: "Poured a little in the sink and let it sit for a few hours and no more slow drain. I intend to use a little every couple of weeks, I hope it keeps working like it did the first time. I've had trouble with the kitchen sink for years and haven't found anything that works. This stuff worked faster than anything I've tried so far."

2. The affordable one

For an affordable option, look no further than this 1-gallon bottle of concentrated AmazonCommercial enzyme cleaner. Like the previous option, it effectively breaks up hair, grease, oils, and other organic clogs from drains with its non-corrosive enzyme-based formula, leaving behind a pleasant mint scent. It's safe to use with all types of pipes and septic systems and, as a bonus, can be used for many other purposes, like spot-cleaning floors, getting rid of pet urine-odor on rugs, wiping down counter tops, or cleaning tile.

One reviewer says: "Worked great on old pipes. Eliminated odor and cleaned exceptionally well. We live in an old home so the pipes are old as well. We poured it down several drains and it not only helped with clearing them, it eliminated odor too. We also ran some in a cycle of the washing machine to clean it! Great smell not overpowering."

3. The preventative stick treatment

If clogs are an ongoing issue in your home, you might be interested in these Sani 360 drain cleaning sticks, which are are septic-safe and available in both scented and unscented options. Because these come in a more compact, solid form and are slower to dissolve than liquid cleaners, they have a long-lasting effect that’s ideal for monthly maintenance and preventing clogs from forming in the first place. Simply drop one stick into the problematic drain, and it will work to dissolve grease and organic material throughout the month.

Keep in mind that these sticks will not work for hair clogs, so if wet locks are your main culprit, you're better off using another enzyme cleaner on this list.

One reviewer says: “This has worked perfectly for my needs. My bathroom drain had the worst stink that made me sick in the mornings. This has completely solved the problem and the drain runs faster than it ever has!”

4. The one that's specifically formulated for toilets

Although many enzyme drain cleaners are safe to use with septic systems, these convenient Green Gobbler Septic Saver treatments are specifically designed to quickly dissolve toilet paper and other similar materials to keep sewer lines unclogged and smelling fresh. For the best results, the manufacturer recommends flushing one pre-measured pod down your toilet each month. Doing so will help prevent backups and overflows from forming in the first place.

One reviewer says: "My toilet was backed up and the water pressure was messed for over a week. I tried using liquid plumber, a plumbing snake and a plunger but nothing worked until I brought Green Gobbler. After using two septic saver packs, my toilet is running better. Definitely a customer for life now."

5. The cost-effective one

If you want to stock up, this Bio-Clean enzyme cleaner is a bulk-size, cost-effective option. Each 2-pound canister of the powder contains enough freeze-dried enzymes and bacteria for up to 100 treatments (after being mixed with the recommended concentration of water). This bio-enzymatic drain cleaner safely eats away at grease, hair, soap scum, food waste, toilet paper, and any other organic material that may be clogging your pipes or septic system — and with no added fragrance. Because of how slow-moving yet effective it is, this one is typically best for preventative maintenance.

One reviewer says: "We have an 80 year old house with very slow drains and then a problem of drain flies this summer. I used the salt, baking soda and vinegar solution for the flies, but was looking for a longterm answer to the problem. I read about Bio Clean and decided to give it a chance since cutting out cast iron pipes is very expensive. We started in the basement as directed and worked our way up the next two levels. It is amazing the difference it has made in the drains. I am glad we tried it and will continue to use it for maintaining good drainage through out the house."