What is the Best Drain Cleaner For Cast Iron Pipes? (2022 Review)

Last Updated On June 30, 2022
best drain cleaner for cast iron pipes

Cast iron pipes made up a majority of sewage lines for years, and many homes still have cast iron pipes in their plumbing system. When cast iron pipes become clogged, you need to find a drain cleaner that works especially well on cast iron. 

In this PlumbingNav review, we will cover: 

  • Why do cast iron pipes need specific drain cleaners? 
  • What are the different types of drain cleaners for cast iron pipes? 
  • How do drain cleaners for cast iron pipes work? 
  • What do you look for in the best drain cleaners for cast iron pipes? 
  • Review of the best drain cleaners for cast iron pipes

ImageProduct
digital-business-prep-table__image
Zep Drain Defense Enzymatic Drain Cleaner ZDC16, 1 lb. x 2
  • Safe for cast iron, non-corrosive
  • Great value
  • Breaks up different types of natural clogs
  • Safe for cast iron, non-corrosive
  • Great value
  • Breaks up different types of natural clogs
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Rid-X Septic Tank Treatment Enzyme, 3-month supply
  • Free from all chemicals
  • Easy to use – put in toilet and flush
  • Sealable pouch
  • Free from all chemicals
  • Easy to use – put in toilet and flush
  • Sealable pouch
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Patriot Chemical Sales All-Natural Drain Opener, 1 Gallon
  • 100% natural and safe for all pipes
  • biodegradable container 
  • Industrial strength can handle persistent clogs
  • 100% natural and safe for all pipes
  • biodegradable container 
  • Industrial strength can handle persistent clogs
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Xion Lab Safer, Greener Drain Clog Remover, 32 oz. 
  • Sinks through the water to the clog
  • 100% money-back guarantee 
  • Industrial-strength yet safe for septic system 
  • Sinks through the water to the clog
  • 100% money-back guarantee 
  • Industrial-strength yet safe for septic system 
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Black Swan Zap Drain Pipe Opener
  • Includes plastic snake to help
  • Non-flammable 
  • Appropriate for commercial use
  • Includes plastic snake to help
  • Non-flammable 
  • Appropriate for commercial use
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Updated On June 30, 2022

Our #1 Rated Pick: Zep Drain Defense Enzymatic Drain Cleaner ZDC16, 1 lb. x 2

Zep’s enzymatic powder drain cleaner breaks through water, carbon dioxide, and minerals to break up natural materials in sinks, toilets, and septic systems using cellulose, amylase, lipase, and protease enzymes. 

If you have a stubborn clog, pour the powder down the drain, avoid using the drain for 6 – 8 hours, then rinse with hot water. Do this again three days in a row then regularly every month to keep up on maintenance. 

Our Top 5 Drain Cleaners For Cast Iron Pipes?

What's In This Guide?

      Why Do Cast Iron Pipes Need Specific Drain Cleaners?

      Many municipalities used cast iron pipes thanks to their numerous benefits but eventually found alternative options. These were largely phased out around 1980. However, many homes still have cast iron, especially when it comes to the septic tank and main sewer line laterals

      Cast iron pipes usually last 60 years. However, that varies based on usage and plumbing maintenance, especially use of chemical drain cleaners. 

      Cast iron plumbing tends to experience corrosion more often than other types of pipes. This means that it’s especially important to use a drain cleaner that won’t expedite the process, considering many drain cleaners come in the form of a liquid.

      did you know best drain cleaner for cast iron pipes

      What Are The Different Types Of Drain Cleaners For Cast Iron Pipes?

      Chemical Drain Cleaner

      A chemical drain cleaner uses chemicals to eat at the clog. Chemical cleaners can use a number of different types of chemicals to attack the clog, with some more effective or damaging to the plumbing than others. Always try the safest method first when exploring how to clean a cast iron sewer pipe.

      Non-Chemical Drain Cleaner

      Non-chemical drain cleaners reduce the amount of damage to cast iron pipes by using natural enzymes and bacteria to eat at clogs made from natural materials. These work well to dissolve things like hair and food. 

      These drain cleaners may not handle the toughest clogs on main lines, but they work great as maintenance to prevent clogs from happening in the first place. 

      How Do Drain Cleaners For Cast Iron Pipes Work?

      The drain cleaner eats at the clog, breaking it up slowly until it finally deteriorates enough for water to flow through it again. For cast iron, the goal is to do this while using a cleaning product that won’t also assist in the corrosion of the pipe itself.

      Pour the cleaner down the drain and follow up by pouring hot water or boiling water down the drain. Always read the instructions on the cleaner carefully as they vary slightly from cleanser to cleanser. Most cleaners will indicate if they are adequate for cast iron pipes.

      What Do You Look For In The Best Drain Cleaners For Cast Iron Pipes?

      Guarantee/Warranty 

      The best drain cleaning products for cast iron will come with a guarantee that the product will work as expected on your type of pipes or your money back. Of course, if the drain cleaner is rated safe for PVC it will be fine to use on cast iron as well.

      Keep in mind that most warranties and guarantees will not cover the product if you don’t use it as instructed. It also won’t cover any pipes that become damaged. 

      Environmentally Friendly 

      We have a responsibility as consumers to make responsible decisions by purchasing items from companies that make a point to reduce their carbon footprint by using efficient manufacturing processes and recyclable packaging.

      Best Cast Iron Pipes Drain Cleaners Reviewed

      Now let’s explore our favorite products, so you can decide on the perfect choice for your situation.

      Our #1 Rated Pick: Zep Drain Defense Enzymatic Drain Cleaner ZDC16, 1 lb. x 2

      Zep’s enzymatic powder drain cleaner breaks through water, carbon dioxide, and minerals to break up natural materials in sinks, toilets, and septic systems using cellulose, amylase, lipase, and protease enzymes. 

      If you have a stubborn clog, pour the powder down the drain, avoid using the drain for 6 – 8 hours, then rinse with hot water. Do this again three days in a row then regularly every month to keep up on maintenance. 

      Pros

      • Safe for cast iron, non-corrosive
      • Great value
      • Breaks up different types of natural clogs

      Cons

      • Must follow instructions exactly 
      • Only breaks down natural materials, mild clogs
      • Can’t use the drain for 6 hours

      Our #2 Rated Pick: Rid-X Septic Tank Treatment Enzyme, 3-month supply

      This septic tank drain cleaner made by the trusted Rid-X brand won’t break the bank, and you can use this three-month supply. Enzymes will eat at clogs made from paper, protein, oils, and grease while contributing to the natural items in your septic tank that help it function properly. 

      One pouch works on septic tanks up to 1500 gallons.

      Pros

      • Free from all chemicals
      • Easy to use – put in toilet and flush
      • Sealable pouch

      Cons

      • Can cause eye and skin irritation
      • Made for maintenance – not stubborn clogs
      • Only for use with septic tank

      Our #3 Rated Pick: Patriot Chemical Sales All-Natural Drain Opener, 1 Gallon

      Despite the name, this Patriot Chemical Sales liquid cleanser uses 100% D-Limonene that does not contain chemicals and is safe for use in a washing machine, grease trap, septic tank, and pipes of all materials, including PVC pipe and cast iron pipe. 

      It has multiple different uses, too, and a pleasant citrus smell. It also comes in a biodegradable container. 

      Pros

      • 100% natural and safe for all pipes
      • biodegradable container 
      • Industrial strength can handle persistent clogs

      Cons

      • All sales are final
      • Expensive 
      • Not effective for especially stubborn clog

      Our #4 Rated Pick: Xion Lab Safer, Greener Drain Clog Remover, 32 oz. 

      This heavy gel liquid cleaner works on hair, grease, soap scum, and oil. It’s safe for the bathroom sink, kitchen sink, shower, and septic tank. Don’t worry about using the smaller 32 oz. bottle for a single-use application since this product comes in a biodegradable bottle. 

      This small, family-owned business also contributes a portion of its profits to non-profit organizations as part of its dedication to both the environment and the community. 

      Pros

      • Sinks through the water to the clog
      • 100% money-back guarantee 
      • Industrial-strength yet safe for septic system 

      Cons

      • Not suited for paper, plastic, or food particles
      • Smaller 32 oz. bottle not suited for large, commercial tasks
      • Takes 6 – 8 hours to work

      Our #5 Rated Pick: Black Swan Zap Drain Pipe Opener

      Black Swan makes this sulfuric acid drain cleaner that works on mild to stubborn clogs in the bathroom, bathtub, kitchen sink, and toilet. It can eat through food, hair, paper, sanitary napkins, fats, and grease. This product also comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. 

      Pros

      • Includes plastic snake to help
      • Non-flammable 
      • Appropriate for commercial use

      Cons

      • Uses harsh chemicals 
      • Small 32 oz non-biodegradable container 
      • Toxic and requires safety gear to use

      Final Thoughts On Drain Cleaners For Cast Iron Pipes

      If you have plumbing problems thanks to a clogged pipe, you need to handle the problem before you need professional pipe repair. However, old sewer pipe materials such as cast iron pipes require specialized care thanks to their susceptibility to corrosion and other damage. 

      Our review of the top 5 drain cleaners for cast iron pipes can ensure you have clean drains and don’t damage your pipes. These will work on many of the clogs you’ll encounter, but for tougher clogs you might need to buy a plumbing snake.

      Need more power to clear the blockage? No problem. See this post for options:

      FAQs For Drain Cleaners For Cast Iron Pipes

      What drain cleaner is safe for cast iron pipes?

      Use a drain cleaner without harsh chemicals for a clogged drain, avoiding caustic cleaners in particular. 

      How do you unclog a cast iron drain pipe?

      You use a drain cleaner. If that doesn’t work, try a plunger or a drain snake. 

      Can you use Drano on cast iron pipes?

      You should not use Drano on cast iron pipes since it contains chemicals. 

      Can cast iron sewer lines be cleaned?

      Yes. Use a natural drain cleaner. If that doesn’t work, call a plumber.

      Meet Your Plumbing Navigator

      Plumbing Navigator: plumbing advice

      About Plumbing Navigator

      We’re passionate about all things plumbing, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your project a success!

      Learn More Plumbing Tips

      Want to tackle more plumbing projects? Check out these helpful guides!

      How To Get Rid Of Tree Roots In Sewer Line
      How To Clean Cast Iron Pipes
      ultimate guide to water heater timers
      Is Plumbing Pipe Recyclable

      Got Plumbing Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about "all things plumbing," helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

      Recently Published Guides