Hair is one of the most common causes of clogs in bathroom drains. Even if you are diligent about using a drain stopper, hair can still slip into the drain. This can accumulate inside the drain, combining with soap scum and other debris to form a clog that slows down the flow of water. To get your drain working correctly, you’ll either need to break up the clog to allow the hair to pass through the drain or manually pull all of the accumulated hair out of your drains.
If your tub, shower, or other bathroom drains are not effectively draining, hair is the most likely cause. So, here we’ll explore the simplest methods of solving slow draining water in your bathroom.
Plunging with Baking Soda and Vinegar:
If you have a slow running drain, you don’t need to resort to harsh chemicals, as you’re likely to have the ingredients for an effective solution already in your kitchen cabinets. All you’ll need is a cup of baking soda, a cup of vinegar, some boiling hot water, dish soap, and a plunger.
The first step is to squirt a little dish soap into the drain and then pour the baking soda in. Try to make sure the baking soda goes into the drain rather than sprinkling it into the tub. Immediately afterward, pour the cup of vinegar into the drain. You’ll notice fizzing straight away, but don’t worry, this is a chemical reaction that creates an effective cleaning solution.
Once the fizzing stops, wait five to ten minutes and then pour boiling hot water slowly into the drain. The dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar combination will help to break up the hair, but you’ll need the hot water to flush it out of the drain. To ensure the clog is completely dissipated, give the drain a clear with your plunger. Run a little water down the drain and use your plunger as you would with a typical clog.
If the hair clog is particularly bad, you may need to repeat this process to fully resolve the problem.
This is a little more hands on, but it can provide a more effective solution to plunging your drain. You will need a set of needlenose pliers or large tweezers, rubber gloves, a screwdriver, and a flashlight.
Firstly, you need to remove the drain stopper. In some cases, you may be able to lift the stopper immediately, but if not, you can use the screwdriver. This is also an ideal time to clean off the stopper. You can do this in your sink, but ensure that you pull off any hair stuck on the stopper and put it into the trash, rather than allowing it to go down the drain.
Once the stopper is removed, you will be able to see a clear opening to the drain. If you shine your flashlight down the drain, you’re likely to see a clump of hair. Wearing your rubber gloves, use the tweezers or needlenose pliers to reach into the drain and grab the clump of hair. If you can’t reach with your pliers, you can even create a longer tool using a metal hanger.
Once you remove the hair, run some water down the drain before you replace the stopper, to ensure the water is draining properly. You can then put the stopper back in, and you’re good to go.
Try Using a Zip It Tool:
This is a long and flexible stick of barbed plastic that is specifically designed to help clear drains. Zip it tools are available in most hardware or home improvement stores. They are reusable or disposable, but in either case, they are quite inexpensive.
To use the tool, simply insert the barbed end down into the drain. Pull the zip back out slowly, and the barbs should catch any hairs and pull them out of the drain. Zip it tools are typically flexible enough to fit through drain stoppers, but it is a good idea to remove your stopper to prevent damage.
For the best results, twist or contort your tool left and right as you insert and remove it from the drain. You can follow the initial clean by rinsing with hot water or using a baking soda, vinegar mixture, as we discussed above.
Zip it tools are highly effective, so it is a good idea to have a few on hand for any hair clog related issues.
Remove Your Whole Drain:
If you’re still struggling with hair clog issues, it is likely that the accumulation of hair is further down into the drain. In this case, you may need to remove your whole drain. This is a little more involved, but you’ll only need a plug wrench, adjustable wrench, flat head screwdriver, standard pliers, locking needlenose pliers, and rubber gloves.
Firstly, remove the stopper. You can then insert your plug wrench into the opening and fit into the drain crossbars. Use your wrench or pliers to grip the plug wrench and turn it counterclockwise to remove the drain from its threading. Once you feel the drain is loosened, remove your plug wrench and insert your needle nose pliers. Lock your pliers into place after you clamp them around the drain crossbar.
Use your wrench to slowly turn your needle nose pliers counterclockwise until you can pull the entire drain out. You can then wash the drain in a bucket or sink. Before you replace it, remove any trapped hair in the drain mechanism. If the old drain looks worn, you could even use this as an opportunity to upgrade to a new version. Just take it to your local hardware store to purchase a replacement.
Although it is a little gross, cleaning your hair out of drains will help keep them working effectively. Of course, if you run into problems, you can rely on your local plumbing professional to help. An experienced plumber
can help you to eliminate clogs and ensure that your bathroom has properly draining sinks, tubs, and showers.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.