HomeBathroomClogged Drain With Hair: 11 Ways to Clean It 

Clogged Drain With Hair: 11 Ways to Clean It 

To quote Jerry Seinfield, we humans have a very weird thing about hair. When it’s on someone’s head, we stroke it, kiss it and have a very high regard for it. But the moment it leaves one’s body, it instantly becomes gross and disgusting. We find it icky, we can’t bear to touch it, and it turns especially hideous when we need to remove it from our drains. 

How does one clean a drain clogged with hair? Here are 11 ways to tackle a clog when the hair is not merely clustered on its surface, but has actually started preventing proper water flow. 

Note that you can also use a lot of these methods on a bathtub with standing water, in case the hair clog has already quite built up. 

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar is an old school method for unclogging drains, and it can help when your blockage is caused by hair. 

All you need to do is mix baking soda and white vinegar in equal amounts.

Since the mixture will start fizzing immediately, you can either mix the ingredients in a cup and pour it down the drain in a matter of seconds, or first pour some baking soda down your drain, and then chase it with the vinegar. The procedure will work best if you first remove the drain stopper.

Let it fizz away for an hour, then wash it away with hot water. 

Try Baking Soda and Salt

You can also try mixing baking soda and salt. Use half a cup of each, and pour it down the drain. 

Let it sit in there for 15-ish minutes, then pour some hot water after it. 

Use a Drain Cleaner 

You can buy a commercial drain unblocker and use it to dissolve the hair in your drain, especially if the clog is severe. 

Make sure to use the product as directed, and first check that it won’t damage your kinds of pipes. Don’t let it sit longer than recommended, and wash it away with plenty of water. 

If you’ve accidentally spilled some around the drain, scrub it away before someone accidentally steps in it.

Note that you can also try using bleach to unclog your drain. This is not the safest practice, and you again need to make sure that your pipes can take it, but it should be effective in getting rid of any clogs caused by hair. 

Pour Hot Water Down the Drain

Pouring hot water down the drain can also sometimes shift a hair clump that is preventing water from draining properly. 

Aim not to bring the water quite to the boil, and pour it as fast as you can. If the clog is not really stuck to the sides or a part of a larger obstruction, it is likely to move. 

This method won’t work on completely clogged drains, but if you have only noticed water is trickling away slower than usual, it can be a quick fix. 

Use a Wet and Dry Vacuum

If you have a wet and dry vacuum, you can use it to suction your hair blockage out of the drain. 

You should use the highest liquids setting, remove the stopper from your drain, and let the vacuum do all the work. If the clog is movable, this tactic should get rid of it. 

Try a Plunger

Depending on the nature of your blockage, a plunger may or may not help. Hair is thin and flimsy, so the plunger may not be able to move it. 

To try, just fill the shower or sink with a bit of water, letting the plunger submerge. Stick the plunger to the drain, and get to work. You will need to use vigorous motions and a fair bit of elbow grease. 

Use a Wire Hanger

If the hair clog is located in the actual pipes but quite near the drain opening, you can use a wire hanger to dig it out.

It’s a rather unpleasant and semi-gross task, so make sure you are wearing rubber gloves. 

Start by removing the stopper from the drain you wish to clean. It will come out quite dirty and gunky, so first tackle that. Make sure you are using a different sink for the job (i.e. don’t pour water down the one you are cleaning). 

You can use a bathroom cleaning product or some rubbing alcohol to get the stubborn bits off. 

Then grab your wire hanger, remove the metal part that looks like a hook if you need to, and start fishing. You may need to bend the hook with a pair of tweezers or pliers, to get it to fit down the drain.

Push your hook down the drain until you feel the blockage, then pull it out. Dispose of the mess in a bag and keep repeating the process until you have removed everything you can. Make sure not to flush any of it down the toilet!

If you don’t want to sacrifice a wire hanger, you can fashion yourself a hook out of any thicker wire you have in the house. Just make sure it doesn’t damage the edges of your pipes. 

Pull It Out With Tweezers 

Similar to the wire hanger method, tweezers can help you unclog your drain if it’s full of hair. 

Remove the stopper and use your phone or a flashlight to try and locate the clog. Wearing gloves, use a pair of tweezers (the longer the better) to grab the hair clumps and pull them out. Don’t flush the hair down the toilet after you pull it out, but dispose of it in the trash. 

As before, make sure the stopper is cleaned as well, and rinse the drain with hot water after you have finished pulling the hair out. 

Use a Plumbing Snake 

If all else fails, you can try using a plumbing snake to get rid of the hair in your drain. You can get one at your local hardware store, or you can buy it online. 

Read the instructions of the snake you have purchased to make sure you are using it correctly. Some come with winches, while others are essentially just a very long piece of wire. 

Use the snake to scrub any debris off the sides of your pipes, and try to break apart any clogs that you encounter. It may take a long time to identify exactly where the blockage is, so be patient and take your time.

You can also follow the snake up with some baking soda and vinegar, just to make sure everything you have broken apart has been dissolved and flushed away properly. 

Remove Your Whole Drain 

Depending on the drain you are trying to clean, you may be able to remove the entire thing and clean it that way. You can certainly apply this method for your p-trap, and you may also be able to take your shower or tub drain out, if you have a plug wrench. 

However, if you are not very handy and aren’t sure how you would set about this task, your best bet is to apply method number 11: 

Call a Plumber 

While you may not want to admit that a hair clog in the drain has defeated you, sometimes you will have no choice but to call a plumber. 

The thing about hair is that it gets mixed with and wrapped around all the other debris that gets thrown down the drain: hair products, soap residue, dust. When combined and left to sit for a while, the resulting mess can completely block your drain. 

Get a plumber in to check what’s causing the clog and have them remove it for you. It may cost you money (as opposed to time and effort), but you will also be sure the job has been done right and that the pipes have not been damaged. 

How to Prevent Hair From Clogging Your Drains

In order to eliminate the disgusting task of having to remove hair from your drains, you can adopt a few simple yet effective habits to prevent hair clogging said drains in the first place:

  • Brush your hair before taking a shower: this is especially advisable if you have longer hair. Brushing will minimize the amount of loose strands that go down the drain. 
  • Use a hair catcher: using a hair catcher or a small strainer to catch the loose hair going down your shower can significantly help prevent hair clogs. You don’t have to use it with every shower, but place it in the tub before washing hair, or before you give your pet a bath.
  • Pour hot water down your drain every week: this will help dissolve some of the soap and shampoo grime, so clots will have a harder time forming. 
  • Use the vinegar + baking soda mixture once a month: it will dissolve any residual clots, break up the loose hair and keep your pipes fresh.

Wrapping It Up 

Hopefully you are now well armed to remove any amount of hair from your clogged drain. Let me leave you with Jerry: 


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