The water in my husband's bathroom basin was draining very slowly. I had tried plunging it, and managed to clear a lot of gunk from around the drain. It got better for awhile, but then needed plunging more and more often. I tried Earth Enzymes, an environmentally friendly enzymatic drain opener, but it seemed to have no effect. Much as I hate to use harsh chemicals, it seemed time to get one of those heavy-duty drain cleaners.
Recommend this product?
I went to Ace and looked at the many Liquid Plumber and Draino products. The Ace guy asked what the clog was made of. I said I suspected beard stubble with shaving cream, soap and toothpaste that had built up because my husband used as little water as possible (water conservation is not good for plumbing). He recommended that I first use a hair-clog product, and if that doesn't work I can upgrade to one of the harsher solvents.
I picked up Enforcer's 10-Minute Hair Clog Remover. It has a special hair-dissolving formula. According to the label it won't harm pipes (metal or plastic) and is fast-acting. And MADE IN THE U.S.A. The bottle had 64 ounces (enough for 10 treatments). It was more than I wanted, but there wasn't a smaller bottle.
I was a little skeptical. Although I believed hair was part of the clog, I also suspected that soap was another and I wasn't sure how Hair Clog Remover would work on soap buildup. IT WORKED GREAT.
1) The directions said to remove standing water and all visible hair from drain. (No problem, my drain wasn't fully clogged yet so there wasn't any standing water).
2) Pour 6 oz. of product slowly into drain. (I didn't want to use a real measuring cup, so I got a disposable cup, poured 3/4 cup of water into it and marked the level with a sharpie. I poured out the water and used the cup to measure the drain cleaner.)
3) Avoid contact with faucets, drain stopper, trim and countertops. (It was easy to avoid the faucet and counter, but impossible to avoid the drain stopper. I poured the product into the drain. I then ran some water to rinse it away from the drain stopper--so that it wouldn't harm the rubber edging or metal finish.)
4) After 10 minutes flush with running water. (I ran a lot of water, making sure to rinse the basin well. There was a BIG improvement.)
To be safe (and because I had so much extra), I put another dose in the basin. Our shower had been draining a bit slower too, so I put a dose in there. Both the shower and basin now drained really fast. The water in the basin used to back up after a few seconds and then take several seconds to a minute to drain after the faucet was shut off (depending on how much water was in the basin). Now it drains faster than the water coming out of the faucet full blast. Wow!
A week later I used a plunger on the basin. I probably didn't need to, but I felt this would make EXTRA sure that any buildup was completely gone from the pipes (plus I had bought a new plunger before I got the hair clog remover). The directions say to not use a plunger while you are using the product or after, but I assume they mean to not use it while there is still some possibility of product being around. The stuff is caustic so you don't want it to splash on anything. A week earlier I had made sure I flushed the area really well and then waited a week to be extra sure that the product had been thoroughly rinsed from the pipes before using the plunger.
What I Think
I think this is great! It was easy to use and didn't have a strong smell. The directions say to wear gloves and safety goggles, but I was careful and didn't feel the need. I like the fact that it's not as harsh as some of the really heavy duty drain openers I could have bought.
And IT WORKED FAST. I don't like leaving strong chemicals around unattended. I have cats with strange tastes and I don't trust them. I've sometimes found them licking the bathroom basin. I don't mind waiting ten minutes--especially when it produces such fantastic results!
Some Tips on Clearing Drains:
Before using any chemical drain cleaners, I would try a plunger. You may pull up some nasty-looking stuff, but that's life. Get over it.
Bathroom basins have that extra little drainage hole opposite the faucet. If you use a plunger in a bathroom basin, be aware that the extra drainage hole will make it hard for you to affect any clog deeper in the pipes. Plunge anyway. If there is any gunk right by the drain, the plunger will loosen it and it will probably come out through that extra drainage hole. Once you've cleared this gunk away, if you want to go deeper into the pipes then cover the extra drainage hole with something to prevent air from passing through. (The Ace guy recommended a hand towel. Whatever you use, be sure it's big enough that it won't get sucked into your drain and add to your clog).
See if you can determine the probable cause of your clog--BEFORE you buy a drain opener. The Hair-Clog Remover was great for a clog made of hair and soap scum. However, I would hesitate to use it in the kitchen sink because a clog there is likely to be mostly grease and bits of food. I don't know how this product would work on that. The Ace guy pointed out that some clogs are caused by children putting unexpected things down drains. For those, you may have to call a plumber.
One way to prevent hair from clogging drains is to stop it before it goes down the drain. When I see hair in the basin, it's tempting to rinse it away, but it's better to pick up any hairs and toss them in the wastebasket. After I wash my hair I notice that there is a lot of hair caught in the shower trap. I pick it up and toss it before it can get into the pipes. I know I'm not getting all the hairs, but I feel it definitely helps. I've also stopped pouring the melted soap from the soap dish down the drain (as I think that's been contributing to pipe buildup).
Not for use in toilets.
Do not use plunger during or after use.
Contains Potassium Hydroxide and Sodium Hypochlorite.
Don't get into eyes, on skin, or in mucous membranes. Plus the usual: Don't swallow, keep away from kids, avoid breathing in vapor, use in ventilated area, etc.
Other Products by Enforcer
According to their website, Enforcer also makes other drain-opening products: Maximum Strength Drain Opener, Heavy Duty Drain Opener and Crystal Clog Remover. Haven't tried any of these and hope I won't ever need to.
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