TOH Editor Scott Omelianuk marking a cabinet to illustrate his editorial letter On the TOH Top 100: Genie? Genius is More Like It
Photo: Ian Spanier
November/December 2013

If you're a regular reader of "Letter From This Old House", you know the picture at right usually matches up with my note pretty well. This issue it doesn't. I figured I'd spare you, since this story starts with me standing in ankle-deep water in the shower.

You're welcome.

It had been that way each morning for a week, ever since I dropped my razor and watched it hit the tub and break, with half its handle slipping down the drain to lodge somewhere in the trap, impossible to reach.

Why didn't I deal with the clog sooner? That's hard to say, but I think you'd find part of the answer in the same place that you'd learn why I've left that last foot of living room baseboard unpainted for a month, why the second of the three bulbs in the chandelier has never been replaced, and why I still haven't caulked between the counter and backsplash since I installed them, in 2009. Maybe you have some of those same lingering bothers in your own home. I understand: You've got more pressing maintenance to do, the problem's inconvenient but not unlivable, there's an NCIS marathon on cable...

In the case of my slow drain, some of the delay was also due to the fact that I didn't know exactly how to fix it. Liquid-Plumr wasn't going to dissolve plastic. A snake wasn't likely to bust through it.

the drain genie
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
The Drain Genie, by Great Innovations Hook this clog remover to a wet vac, and busted razors, AWOL army figures, lone earrings, and other plumbing obstructions don't stand a chance. About $10;
And so my shower included a footbath—until one day at work, when special projects editor Eric Hagerman had his team call in scores of products to review for our annual TOH Top 100. Mixed in with that pile, the best of which you'll find starting on, I saw something called The Drain Genie, an attachment for your Shop-Vac that promises to "clear clogs in seconds."

Seemed improbable to me, sucking up clogs. But, I thought, what, besides pruny feet, have I got to lose? And so I pinched the product to use over the weekend.

That Saturday, as soon as I flipped the switch on the vacuum, I knew I had—along with the razor handle, a couple of chips of soap, and a hair ball (clearly not mine)—the 101st product for the Top 100. Let's call it the Top 100 Editor's Pick, a bonus item that you've just got to try. It may well be the second-best 10 bucks you'll ever spend.*

*P.S. The first-best 10 bucks is, of course, a gift subscription to TOH for a friend or family member. Actually, it's only eight bucks if you buy two, but you get my point: Where else can spending so little save someone unspent hundreds in plumber's bills? Get 'em at
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