What is a Zip-It Drain Cleaning Tool and Why Do You Need One?

Updated: Jun. 05, 2023

The Zip-It drain tool is a thin stick of flexible plastic with tiny barbs up and down the sides and a little handle pull at the top costs less that $10 and can save you…

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Zip It Drain Tool: Drain Unclogger Tool

This thin piece of flexible plastic with tiny barbs up and down the sides costs around $5 and can save you hundreds in service calls for clogged drains. Several companies make a similar tool and you’ll see it called a hair snare, a drain cleaning tool, a stick drain cleaner and a drain opener. Whatever you call it, everyone who has a sink and/or bathtub needs a Zip-It in their arsenal of DIY tools.

Here’s the backstory: The inventor of Zip-It is Gene Luoma, from Duluth, Minnesota. When his daughter was young, her long hair was constantly causing clogs in their bathroom drains. Gene went to the garage to look for something he could use to remove the clogs. He saw an old plastic snow sled hanging on the wall and that’s when the lightbulb over his head went on! He cut a thin strip from the sled and sliced little barbs into the plastic. Eureka! If you want the whole story from Gene himself, check out this video.

It really couldn’t be easier to use this tool. All you do is stick it into the clogged drain as far as it will go, and then slowly pull it out. So simple and no awful chemicals! There is one caveat: What you pull out of the drain will probably make you sick to your stomach, especially the first time you do it. Be prepared to see something that looks a bit like a dead rat. If you’re super-squeamish, you can just chuck the hair-rat and the Zip-It tool right in the trash. However, the Zip-It is reusable, so if you can handle cleaning it off, why not.

Zip-It is available at hardware, home improvement and discount stores, and amazon.com.