If there’s one type of clog almost everybody deals with at some point, it’s a hair clog. Even if you use a drain stopper, hair can still accumulate in your lines over time, creating nasty clumps that slow your drains down drastically. The good news is that you don’t have to stop shaving or take any other drastic measures to avoid this problem. If you are dealing with a hair clog in your tub, shower, or bathroom sink drain, there are a few simple steps you can take to get rid of that gross blockage and help your drain flow freely once again. Keep reading for our top five ways to get hair out of your drains, and remember that Smith’s Plumbing Services is your go-to solution for all essential plumbing needs.
5 Steps to Take If You’re Dealing with a Hair Clog
1. Use Baking Soda & Vinegar on the Hair Clog Before Plunging It Out
Baking soda and vinegar can be an extremely effective way of dispatching many clogs, and hair clogs are no exception. For best results, start by squirting a little dish soap into your drain, followed by a cup of vinegar and a cup of baking soda. Wait five minutes or so, for the chemical reaction of the vinegar and baking soda to take effect, then chase that with a cup or more of boiling water. This should effectively clear out most of the hair clog, however, you should still use a cup plunger on your drain to get rid of any hair that is left behind. Make sure you are using a cup or "flat" plunger specifically, and if the clog is still present, repeat this process as necessary.
2. Pull the Hair Out of the Drain with Tweezers or Needle-Nose Pliers
Unlike thicker clogs, the stringy nature of hair can sometimes may it difficult to plunge out. If you have tried to remove a hairy obstruction by plunging it out of your drain but just can’t quite get rid of it, you may need to try pulling it out with a pair of tweezers instead. First, you’ll need to take off your drain stopper if you have one. In some cases, you may need to do this manually, though you may also need a screwdriver, depending on the nature of your drain (while you’re at it, you might as well clean any accumulated hair off the stopper, too.) After that, take a flashlight and shine it into your drain so you can get a better look at the blockage in question. From there, you should be able to use your needle-nose pliers to pull out that unpleasant accumulation of hair. You may want to wear gloves as you go about this process, as pulling hair out can get pretty nasty, and you should also run some hot water down your drain after you finish, just to flush any nascent hairs out.
3. Purchase a Drain Snake
If melting your hair clog with baking soda and vinegar, plunging it out, and using tweezers to remove it still hasn’t done the trick, you may be able to break that clog apart with a snaking device. What kind of snake you ask? Any number of options may due depending on the severity of your clog. For less severe cases, straightening out a wire hanger and sticking that down your drain to break up a clog can actually do the trick. Other times, you may want to buy a zip-it tool. These plastic drain cleaners are cheap, disposable, easy-to-use, and widely available online. There are also a number of other drain snake devices you can purchase at your local hardware store or online, all designed to deal with varying sizes of clogs. Snaking your drain should effectively break up any clogs and help scrape the walls of your line clean, but you may also want to follow up with the baking soda and vinegar technique outlined above or at least flush your drain out with hot water, just to be sure the clog is completely gone.
4. Remove Your Whole Drain
The last home remedy for getting rid of a hair clog is also the most intensive. If a clog still persists after you’ve tried all the methods mentioned above, you can remove your drain entirely and try to clean it out that way. In the case of your sink drain, unscrew the p-trap (the p-shaped drain pipe underneath the sink designed to vent sewer gasses), placing a bucket below for any water that comes dripping out. To take the drain out of your shower/tub, meanwhile, you will need a plug wrench, which is a tool specifically designed to fit into your drain’s crossbars so you can easily pry it out. Again, use rubber gloves anytime you are taking out a drain, as it is a fairly unsanitary job. If all of this is sounding too complicated to you, or you are not comfortable doing this much plumbing work on your own, you can also…
5. Call for Professional Drain Cleaning
While dealing with a hair clog can be tough, if all else fails, you can call our professional plumbers at Smith’s Plumbing Services for drain cleaning. With our drain cleaning tools and technology, we can get rid of clogs made from hair, soap scum, grease, food, toilet paper, and a range of other hard-to-remove items. Keep in mind, whatever you do, avoid using liquid drain cleaners. These products not only tend to be ineffective, oftentimes sitting on top of a clog rather than eating through it, but also contain toxic chemicals that will eat away at your pipes. Instead, try one of our DIY drain cleaning methods, or call Smith’s anytime for service—we are even available 24/7 for emergencies!
Ways to Prevent Hair from Clogging Drains in the Future
Congratulations, you've successfully removed the hair clog from your drain! The important thing now is to make sure you prevent a future problem so that you don't have to do this again any time soon.
Keeping hair out of your drains is surprisingly simple, but it does take a little bit of preparation. Here are some effective tips you can try to drastically reduce the amount of hair that ends up in your drains.
Brush Your Hair Before You Get in the Shower
Did you know that the average person sheds between 50 and 100 hairs per day? After a couple days between shampoos, that adds up to a lot of hair falling into your drain. The best way to keep hair out of your shower drains is to keep as much loose hair out of your shower in the first place by brushing before you shampoo. It's much easier to pick a clump of hair out of your brush than it is to have to pick a plug of hair out of the drain!
Purchase a Shower Drain Hair Trap
Long hair is the number one culprit behind shower drain clogs, but that doesn't mean there's nothing you can do about it. The solution is easy and cheap: you can purchase an inexpensive shower drain hair catcher that fits right over the drain and collects any hair before it has a chance to enter the drain line. After your shower, simply grab the hair from the trap and toss it in the trash. There are many brands and styles to choose from, just make sure to choose a design that works for the type of drain you have (flat shower floor drain or pop-up tub drain).
Maintain Your Drains
Hair clogs are more likely to form when your drains are coated in soap scum and other grime. Keeping your drains clean is a good way to be proactive about avoiding clogs. Ever so often, pour some white vinegar and baking soda into your drains. When the bubbling stops, rinse your drains with hot water.