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13 Best Drain Cleaner For Cast Iron Pipes In 2024

Sonya HarrisBob Vila
  Apr 12, 2024 12:19 PM

We independently study, test, and review 13 Best Drain Cleaner For Cast Iron Pipes products before making recommendations. We’re testing the Drano, Rooto, CS Unitec, Bio-Clean, Green Gobbler, Roebic, Zep, Scotch, Instant Power  for a for a future update to this guide.


Minerals and other contaminants can accumulate on the inside of your pipes and cause scale. There are a number of minerals that can be found in scale, but calcium is by far the most frequent.

Your plumbing pipes should be descaled if you observe a decrease in the volume of water coming out of them. Scale buildup on cast iron pipes is especially critical because of the way iron interacts with minerals.

You have the option of calling us or doing the work yourself. Here's what you'll need to know if you go with option two.

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Last update on 2024-04-12 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buying Guide

Types of Chemical Drain Cleaners

Even the manufacturers of chemical drain cleaners advise caution while using them. It is true that they can cause damage to your skin, lungs, and hair in addition to your pipes. Flashing or gassing can occur, and these can be dangerous. To avoid severe chemical reactions, do not mix these products with any other goods (such as cleaners and ammonia). Aside from that, they don't work well on solid obstacles and are bad for septic systems. Additionally, a partially dissolved clog may become trapped lower down the drain or sewage line. However, they can be a convenient and rapid answer in some cases.


Even though they're commonly ranked as "most effective," caustic lye (potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide)-based drain openers aren't anything we advocate. It is true that they are excellent in breaking down organic debris, such as hair, as well as making soap out of grease. But galvanized steel, copper, and iron pipes, as well as fixtures and fittings, are very corrosive to them. Drain cleaners based on lye (as well as acid-based solutions) can produce heat, which softens and deforms plastic pipes. They should never be used on a severely blocked drain since they could get stuck and cause significant harm.


These items, which contain sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid, are so dangerous that they cannot be sold to the general public. Bulldozing a home down is the most efficient technique to put out a fire, even though these products are effective (they even dissolve paper, grease, and hair). Personal damage is a possibility with lye-based treatments, and even the smallest error in application can transform drain cleaning into a plumbing repair.

Drain Cleaning Liquids

Drain cleaners based on sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and other cleansing, caustic, and anti-corrosion ingredients are the most prevalent form of liquid drain cleaner. The thickening agents help them to sink to the bottom of the water. Hair in the bathroom sink or shower is reasonably safe and often successful, but not so much on grease in the kitchen sink drain clogs. A few tries and a complete bottle may be required, but they're easy and convenient to find in most supermarkets.

Cleaning method


A drain snake with cable and blades is the usual cleaning tool for cast iron pipes. We're not talking about clearing a clog with this procedure; we're talking about restoring the flow capacity of old cast iron pipes.

It's a waste of time and money to snag an old cast iron pipe in order to thoroughly clean it. Although it has certain advantages, it is still better than doing nothing at all! However, if you're dealing with a kitchen drain, it won't stay long at all.

Run some hot water and soap down the drain if you're planning to use a cable before you begin. Some of the hard, surface debris will be dislodged by this method. Then use BioClean forcefully after you've finished snaking. With BioClean, you can keep your drains clean with an enzyme treatment that is completely safe.

The cost of this approach is typically between $150 and $350 for a single drain.


Hydro jetting is one of our favorite methods for removing roots and compacted muck from pipes. However, even the most advanced hydrojetting device on the market is unable to remove significant deposits of hardened iron from cast iron pipelines.

Special nozzels that spray water like razor blades are used in this procedure to clean pipes with high pressure water (4000 PSI).

Hydrojetting has certain drawbacks, including the fact that it uses a lot of water (which, given the recent droughts in California, isn't ideal) and the fact that you can't use it in your home since it can cause floods. The greatest way to clean out the outside of your home is to do it from the outside in.

For this reason, you should insist on seeing before-and-after footage from the plumber to ensure that the drain line is fully free of clogs. A one-year warranty is a minimum requirement. It's impossible for any contractor to offer a long warranty if you have a lot of roots in the ground.

Hydro jetting can cost anything from $350 to $1,450 on average.

Chemical drain cleaner

Several chemical drain cleaners are available. While some have a high sulfuric acid content, others may contain peroxide, bleach or other chemicals. It is possible for PVC to melt or be damaged by the heat generated by chemical cleaners, which are commonly used to remove stains from pipes. However, galvanized steel and cast iron pipes are susceptible to corrosion. As a result, it's important to choose your products wisely.

You can use vinegar and baking soda as a home-made chemical treatment. None of your pipes will be harmed by them. In this case, baking soda and vinegar are poured down the drain. Then, secure the drain's opening. Pressure will build up in the drain as a result of the reaction between the baking soda and vinegar. You should give it at least 15 minutes before you check to see if the obstruction has been removed. It's also a good idea to follow up with boiling water, as described below.

What is causing the blockage?

Drain blockages can be caused by a wide variety of things. Clogged drains can be caused by a wide range of items including food waste, soap scum, oils, fats, plastics, hair and paper. Other typical reasons of drain blockages include toothpaste, shaving cream, and heavy objects (such as little toys youngsters flush down the toilet). To begin your search for the best drain cleaner, identify the source of the obstruction. Even though one drain cleaner may work wonders on grease, it may not work as well on hair.

Useful old-fashioned common sense is a good beginning point for determining the cause of a blockage because you don't have x-ray vision or access to your pipes. Have a clogged shower or tub drain? I believe that hair is to blame. No, it's not emptying fast enough. That food you threw down the garbage disposal after washing the dishes is haunting you.

What kind of chemicals are used in the cleaner?

Acids are among the most efficient drain openers. They work rapidly, but they are poisonous, can cause pipe corrosion, and are dangerous to the user because of how quickly they eliminate a blockage.

Enzyme drain cleaners, on the other hand, are completely safe to use but can take a long time to do their job effectively. As the name suggests, these devices work by introducing enzyme-producing bacteria into the plumbing system to break down organic waste like soap scum and grease.

For this reason, it's also crucial to know the chemicals that are in your drain cleaner, as some pipes are manufactured from a variety of different materials (such as plastics such as PVC, copper, and metals). Make sure you read and adhere to all of the directions that are provided. Make sure you thoroughly investigate or contact the seller before you use their products.

What’s your budget?

It's always better to save money by doing your own repairs rather than having to hire a plumber. Plastic drain snakes are generally less expensive than liquid drain cleaners, though.


What are the benefits of Pipe Descaling?

In the event that standard procedures are not able to clean the sewer pipe and keep it operational, the largest benefit is not having to excavate and replace the cast iron pipe. A high-pressure hydro jetter or a typical drain machine cable could make things worse. Pipe descaling is the most efficient way of removing all scale from the interior walls of cast iron sewer pipes. Making cast iron sewer pipes last longer.

What drain cleaner is safe for cast iron pipes?

Avoid caustic drain cleaners in particular when dealing with a plugged drain.

How do you unclog a cast iron drain pipe?

Drain cleaner is what you use. Try a plunger or a drain snake if that doesn't work.

Can you use Drano on cast iron pipes?

Because of the chemicals in Drano, it should never be used on cast iron pipes.


If a clogged pipe is causing your plumbing issues, act quickly before calling in a professional for pipe repair. It's important to take extra care with older sewer pipe materials like cast iron because of their vulnerability to corrosion and other problems.

Our guide to the top 5 cast iron pipe drain cleaners can help you keep your drains free of debris while also preventing damage to your pipes.

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