If your shower, tub, or bathroom drains aren’t draining effectively, then hair is the most likely culprit. Even if you use a drain stopper, enough hair will eventually slip down your drain to slow things down. Fortunately, a hair-clogged drain can be fixed using a variety of methods.
To get your drain flowing again, either break up hair clumps enough that they’ll pass through the drain or pull the hair out of the drain manually. As unpleasant as it might be to remove hair from a drain, we’ll show you the most effective methods along with the tools that you’ll need to keep from actually touching the nasty stuff yourself.
How to Remove Hair from A Drain: 4 Methods
1. Alternate baking soda and vinegar and plunging
To remove hair from a drain using the baking soda method, you’ll need:
- Grease-fighting dish soap
- A cup of vinegar
- A cup of baking soda
- Boiling water
- A cup plunger
First, squirt some dish soap down the drain. Chase that dish soap with the cup of baking soda. Make sure the baking soda actually gets down the drain. Pour the cup of vinegar down immediately afterward. This should create a chemical reaction that causes fizzing in your drain.
After the fizzing dies down, wait five minutes and boil some water. Pour the boiling water slowly down the drain. The fizzing baking soda and vinegar help break up the hair and the water helps it pass through the drain.
Next, you should start plunging. Run some water down the drain and plunge using your cup plunger as if you were trying to remove a typical clog. If your hair clog is particularly stubborn, you may have to repeat this process a few times.
2. Remove the drain stopper and use tweezers
Plunging the drain is certainly less gross, but pulling hair out might be more effective. To reach the hair in the drain you’ll need:
- A screwdriver
- Rubber gloves
- A flashlight
- Needle-nose pliers
First, remove the drain stopper. You might be able to pry your stopper off right away, but chances are you’ll need to unscrew it. Take this opportunity to clean off the drain stopper in your sink. Just make sure any hair in the stopper doesn’t fall into the drain!
After removing the stopper, you should have a clear opening to the drain below. Shine the flashlight into the drain and you’ll probably see a gross clump of hair. Put on your gloves and use your needle-nose pliers to reach in and grab the hair. If your pliers can’t reach or fit, you could also try making a makeshift snake out of a hanger or use a long screwdriver. After removing the hair, run some hot water down the drain before replacing the stopper to make sure everything’s working properly.
3. Use a Zip-it tool
A zip-it tool is a long, flexible, and barbed stick of plastic designed to clear drains. They’re quite inexpensive, reusable or disposable, and available at most hardware stores. To use a zip-it tool, you simply insert the barbed length down into your drain. As you pull the zip-it back out, the barbs catch any hair in the drain and carry it back out with it. Zip-its are flexible enough to fit through most drain stoppers, but we recommend removing the stopper anyway.
For best results, try twisting or contorting the zip-it tool as you insert and pull it out. As always, follow up your initial cleaning with a hot water rinse. In fact, you may want to follow the baking soda and vinegar steps above after using a zip-it tool. Consider buying a few zip-it tools to keep on hand in your bathroom. That way, you’ll be prepared next time you need to remove hair clumps.
4. Remove the bathtub drain
Removing the drain and cleaning it is a good solution when considering how to remove hair from a bathtub drain. For this, you’ll need:
- A flat-head screwdriver
- A plug wrench
- An adjustable wrench
- A locking needle-nose pliers
- Standard pliers
- Remove the stopper.
- Insert the plug wrench into the drain opening and fit it into the crossbars of the drain.
- Grip the plug wrench with your wrench or pliers and turn counterclockwise to loosen the drain from the threading.
- When the drain is loosened, remove the plug wrench and insert the needle-nose pliers.
- Lock the needle-nose pliers in place when you clamp them around the “X” crossbar in the drain.
- Grip the needle-nose pliers with your conventional pliers or wrench as low as possible. Use the pliers or wrench to slowly turn the locked needle-nose pliers counterclockwise.
- When the drain is loose enough, turn the needle-nose pliers by hand until you can pull the entire drain out.
When you’ve removed the entire drain, wash it thoroughly in a sink or bucket. Remove any hair trapped anywhere in the drain mechanism before you replace it. This is also a great opportunity to replace an old drain with a newer version. Bring the old drain with you to your hardware store to find an exact replacement. You could also perform the baking soda method to dissolve hair in the drain that you can’t reach.
How to Keep Hair From Going Down the Drain
Gross as it is, knowing how to get hair out of a shower drain, sink or tub is an important way to keep them working correctly. Luckily, it isn’t as time consuming, messy, or gross as you might think–especially if you follow the steps above and perform regular maintenance.
Your best defense against hair and other clogs is the experts at Mike Diamond. It’s easy to schedule your drain cleaning appointment and you can trust our team to remove your clog quickly and ensure your plumbing continues to perform without issue.