Consumer Reports tests toxic-free drain cleaner

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Consumer Reports tests chemical free drain cleaner
Clogged drains are big business. We spend $288 million a year on drain cleaners and plenty more on plumbers.

If you've ever had a clogged drain, you know the frustration. But do you always have to call a plumber? Consumer reports has partnered exclusively with 7 On Your Side to test out a new toxic free drain cleaner.

Clogged drains are big business. We spend $288 million a year on drain cleaners and plenty more on plumbers. Consumer reports tested a $20 device that promises to work without caustic chemicals or a costly plumber visit.

Professional plumbers get lots of frantic calls about clogged drains.

"By the time we get calls from consumers with drain problems, they're already at the point of total frustration," Matt Pillius from Hudson Plumbing Services said. "They've done all the things they thought they could do on their own."

Lots of products promise to clear your pipes without having to call a plumber. But even though they contain harsh chemicals, consumer reports past tests have shown most aren't that effective. Even after half an hour, very little of the pipe opened up.

Now Consumer Reports has just tested a mechanical device that attaches to your faucet and uses pressurized water to clean your pipes. It's called Drain FX.

In its commercial, it claims it's effective at clearing all kinds of clogs.

Testers clogged pipes with things like fat, and human hair. Drain FX worked pretty well. It cleared everything completely, except it only partially removed the clump of hair.

"The faucet has to have a removable aerator, which most do, but if your drain has small openings, you may have to take it apart to get the tube down the drain," Consumer Reports' Rich Handel said.

As a comparison, Consumer Reports also tried a $3 traditional plunger. It worked, but took longer and required more effort.

Besides the $20 version for sinks, Drain FX has a plus version for bathtubs and showers. It comes with a 15-foot hose extension and a special valve.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)