How to Get Hair Out of a Drain: Ways to Fix and Prevent Clogs

Blocked drains can cause a lot of inconvenience and frustration, and never more so when they result in slow-draining water or unpleasant odors. One of the most common causes of blocked drains is hair, which is quick to accumulate and can form serious clogs in your pipes. 

There are several easy and effective ways to tackle these pesky blockages in your bathroom drains. These range from simple DIY remedies like vinegar and baking soda to preventative measures like brushing your hair before showering or using a hair trap. We take you through each of these methods and a handful more below.

How to Remove a Nasty Hair Clog

hair clogged drain
Hair clogged drains are a common, and frustrating problem for homeowners.

If you’ve ever experienced a hair clog in your shower or sink drain, you know how frustrating it can be. In addition to impeding water flow, these blockages can also cause unpleasant odors and even water damage if left untreated. 

With a little know-how, however, removing these clogs from your shower, sink, or bathtub drain, and preventing them from happening in the first place, is a piece of cake. In this article, we’ll show you how it’s done, exploring some simple DIY remedies to get hair out of a drain and preventative measures you can take to prevent the problem from recurring. 

Say goodbye to hair blockages for good!

Removing Stubborn Hair Clogs from Shower Drains: Key Takeaways

  • There are several effective ways to clear hair from a clogged tub drain, including a cup of baking soda and vinegar, a drain snake, a plunger, needle-nose pliers, or chemical drain cleaners.
  • You can prevent hair clogging in the first place by brushing long hair before showering, using a hair catcher, regular cleaning, or placing a fabric softener sheet over the drain to trap hair.
  • By using these simple tips and tricks, you can save yourself time, money, and frustration down the road, and keep your plumbing system running smoothly.

How to Get Hair Out of a Clogged Drain

A hair clog is a frustrating problem, but one that can easily be remedied without calling in a professional plumber. Check out the most effective solutions to clean hair from your sink or tub drain listed below.

1. Vinegar and Baking Soda

vinegar and baking soda
An old classic, baking soda and vinegar have been used for years as a natural way to remove clogs.

The baking soda and vinegar method is a natural and effective way to dissolve clogs in your drain. The combination of these two ingredients creates a fizzy chemical reaction that helps to break down the obstruction and clear the blockage. 

Simply mix equal parts of baking soda and white vinegar in a measuring cup, pour the solution down the drain, and let it sit for 30 minutes. After that, rinse the drain with boiling hot water to flush away the remaining hairs and debris. 

This method is non-toxic and environmentally friendly, making it a great alternative to chemical drain cleaners.

2. Needle-nose Pliers or a Wire Hanger

Using needle-nose pliers or a wire coat hanger as a makeshift snake is a simple and low-tech method for removing all the hair clumps from your drains. 

  1. If you’re using a wire hanger, first straighten the coat hanger out and make a hook on one end.
  2. Now use the coat hanger or the pliers to reach into the drain and pull out as much hair as possible. 
  3. Once you’ve removed as much gunk as possible, pour hot water down the drain to flush away any other debris. 

This method works best for smaller clogs located close to the surface of the drain.

3. Plumbing Snake

plumber's auger removing hair from a drain
Removing hair with an auger is pretty much a sure-fire way of removing hair build-up.

A plumbing snake or auger is a flexible cable that can help remove hair (or other harder-to-reach clogs) in your drain. 

To use a plumber’s snake, feed the auger head into the drain and turn the handle to rotate the snake. Slowly and carefully feed the snake down the drain until you feel resistance, then rotate it counterclockwise to catch the clog. 

Pull the snake out of the drain slowly, taking care not to use too much force as this can damage the pipes. Once you’ve removed the blockage, flush the drain with boiling water to clear away any remaining debris. 

This method is effective for deeper clogs and can also be used to clear other types of blockages.

4. Plunger

plunger and pair of gloves in shower tray
A plunger and some oomph can clear a hair clog.

For folks my age who grew up observing the antics of an 8-bit Italian plumber (Super Mario, for the younger reader), there are few things more synonymous with plumbing than a traditional cup plunger. 

Plungers work by creating a seal over the drain and increasing the pressure on the clog by pumping up and down. This should, hopefully, dislodge the clog and allow water to run freely again.

When using a toilet plunger, make sure there’s enough water to submerge the rubber cup and then cover the drain with the plunger to create a good seal. Pump the plunger up and down several times to create suction.

If the clog is particularly stubborn, you may need to repeat the process a few times. Once you’ve cleared the clog, flush the drain with boiling water to remove any remaining hair or debris. 

5. Liquid Drain Cleaners to Dissolve the Accumulated Hair

chemical drain cleaner
For ease of convenience, drain cleaners are the way to go, but be warned – they can damage your pipes!

Liquid drain cleaners are a popular and convenient way to dissolve clogs in your drain, with sodium hydroxide or lye being particularly adept at dissolving hair. You should be able to find these at your local hardware store.

When using a drain cleaner, always follow the instructions carefully and wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the harsh chemicals

Typically, you’ll pour the cleaner down the drain and let it sit for a designated amount of time, then flush the drain with hot water. 

While liquid drain cleaners are effective at cleaning hair out of drains, they are also more caustic than other methods and may damage pipes if used improperly or excessively.

6. Remove Your Whole Shower Drain (aka the “Hand Method”)

drain has been removed to clean hair out of pipe in shower
Disassembling the drain and pulling out the hair with your hands.

If all else fails, you may need to remove your whole drain to access the hair clog. To do this, first locate the screws or bolts that are holding the drain cover in place. Use a screwdriver or pliers to remove the screws, then lift off the removable cover. 

Use your tools to remove the drain and then you can reach inside with your hands to remove any clogs. Make sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges. 

Once you’ve removed the clog, reassemble the drain and test to make sure the water flows freely. 

How to Prevent Hair From Clogging Drains

Brush Your Hair Before Taking a Shower

women brushing hair (1)
Brushing your hair prior to showering can help reduce clogs.

An easy yet effective way to reduce the risk of clogs in your drains is to brush your hair before getting into the shower. This will help to remove any loose or shedding hairs, thus preventing them from entering your pipes and potentially creating a blockage.

As even small bits of hair can collect and build up, clogging your drains, we recommend gents use a drain stopper to prevent beard trimmings from entering the bathroom sink drain opening. Once you’ve got yourself presentable, use a brush and pan to collect the trimmings and dispose of them in the trash can.

Purchase a Shower Drain Hair Trap

A shower drain hair trap or catcher is a small device that fits over your shower drain to catch hair before it enters the pipes. Most hair catchers are easy to install and can be found at most home improvement stores or online. 

Regularly removing the hair from the trap will help to prevent clogs and keep your pipes flowing smoothly. 

Clean Your Drains Regularly 

women pouring baking soda down shower drain
Regular cleaning can help stop blockages forming.

Removing any long hair or soap scum from around the drain plus doing a hot water rinse with a touch of dish soap or baking soda is an easy and effective way to stop hair from blocking your drain. 

Once a week, simply run hot water down the drain for a few minutes to help flush away any hair or debris that may be accumulating in the pipes. 

The hot water will help to dissolve soap scum and other substances that can contribute to clogs, as well as loosen any hair that may be trapped. For the best results, use water that is as hot as possible and run it for at least 3–5 minutes. 

Use a Fabric Softener Sheet

Using a fabric softener sheet is a clever and unconventional way to prevent your locks from obstructing your drain. 

Simply place a sheet of fabric softener over the drain cover and press down to create a seal. When you take a shower, the water will pass through the sheet, but it will act as a filter to solid objects, helping to prevent hair from entering the pipes. 

Wrapping Up: How to Get Hair Out of a Drain for Good!

Don’t let those yucky hair clogs in your bathroom drain get you down – with these simple tips and tricks, you can fix and prevent them with ease. 

From DIY remedies like a cup of vinegar and baking soda to preventative measures like brushing your locks before showering and using a shower drain hair trap, these methods can help to keep your drains draining properly and your plumbing system running smoothly.

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About the author

An accomplished plumber with more than 15 years of experience in the industry, David "Fitz" Fitzgerald began as an apprentice and steadily worked his way up to become a fully licensed and certified master plumber.

With extensive training in all aspects of plumbing. David is well-versed in the installation, repair, and maintenance of plumbing systems, including pipes, fixtures, and appliances, and is able to troubleshoot and solve even the most complex plumbing issues.

He loves to share his wealth of knowledge and looks forward to engaging with the community here on No Hassle Plumbing.

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