Liquid-Plumr is the trademarked commercial liquid drain cleaner folks can buy at a supermarket or home improvement store.
The magic ingredient that eats away at that horrible sentient hairball that lives in your shower drain is sodium hydroxide, a caustic substance that can cause serious skin damage. For this reason they don't recommend using drain cleaner in a toilet and then plunging it. You can get some of the sodium hydroxide onto your skin or in your eye, which you do not want to happen. I know this from a similar experience where my brother poured Draino on my head when I was around a year old and then sprayed me with Pledge. It is quite painful (the amount of sodium hydroxide was much higher in the old days) and after I got out of the hospital I was deathly afraid of showers...I took baths only until I was around 12 years old.
There are several types available:
- The original is a plastic bottle of around 0.5% of the active ingredient. It pours like water and works fine, just takes a bit longer.
- There's a heavy clog version that is 2% sodium hydroxide. It costs a lot more and works faster.
- There is a thickened version that helps it get to the clog in the p-trap (or u-bend in some countries).
- Finally, there is a two-part solution that is mixed as you pour. It foams up and cleans the entire pipe out, not just where the liquid flows.
If you're wondering if it is safe for plastic pipes, just remember that it comes in a plastic bottle. Make sure you keep it out of the reach of children, especially angry older brothers.
/me misses dannye