How to Clean Hair from Shower Drain

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Hair is one of the main causes of shower drain clogs, and many people make the mistake of using strong chemical cleaners, which can potentially damage pipes, to remove hair from their shower drain. Other, gentler methods of drain cleaning can remove clogs of hair, dirt, and grease without posing risk to your pipes. Many of these affordable methods use common household items and do not require an extra trip to the store for supplies or a call to the plumber.

How to Clean Hair from Shower Drain
(Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Wire hanger
  • Large paperclip
  • Rubber household gloves
  • Plunger
  • Water
  • 1 cup White vinegar
  • 1 cup Baking soda
  • 9 qt. pail
Step 1

Straighten the body of a wire coat hanger and modify the hook, if necessary, so that it fits down your drain. Then elongate a large paperclip. You should now have two straight tools that can fit into the shower drain opening.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media
Step 2

Put on rubber household gloves and remove the drain strainer, if possible, for easier access to the drain opening. Pick up any loose hair from the top of the shower drain strainer and opening with your fingers. Discard the hair.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media
Step 3

Run water until about four inches fill the tub and the clogged drain begins to empty slowly. Take a plunger and plunge the shower drain to bring the hair closer to the top of the drain. Let the water empty down the drain. Clean any reachable hair from the top of the shower drain with fingers.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media
Step 4

Take the hanger and insert the hook end into the shower drain and pipe. Move the hook around to catch any hair in the drain opening. Pull out the hair and throw it in the garbage.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media
Step 5

Insert the hanger into the drain a second time and try to push it carefully down the pipe as far as it can reach without letting go of it. Move the hanger around in circular motions to catch hair. Remove the hanger and clean off any caught hair.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media
Step 6

Place the paperclip into the drain opening and get rid of any hair on the top of the shower drain that the hanger hook missed. A paper clip can catch hair that is tightly tangled on the drain strainer and opening better than a hanger. The shower drain should now be clear of hair. If the shower drain remains clogged, proceed to the next step.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media
Step 7

Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain. Let sit for two minutes.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media
Step 8

Empty 1 cup of vinegar down the drain. Wait for twenty minutes.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media
Step 9

Boil 9 quarts of water while the baking soda and vinegar solution are settling. Transfer the water to a pail.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media
Step 10

Pour the water down the shower drain slowly. Wait for the water to go down the drain.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media
Step 11

Insert the hanger and work it around the drain opening to catch any debris and remove hair from the shower drain.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media
Step 12

Heat another 9 quarts of water on the stove until boiled and transfer to a pail.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media
Step 13

Add the boiled water to the shower drain slowly. The water should go down the drain faster than the first application of hot water.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media
Step 14

Turn on the shower to check for a drain clog. The water should now run freely down the drain.

Sara Jones Dockery/Demand Media

Tips & Warnings

  • Rent a plumber's snake tool from a hardware store to remove stubborn hair clogs that are located deep in the pipes.
  • Use a hair catcher device to cover the shower drain and prevent hair clogs.
  • Remove loose hair from the tub and shower drain top after every shower to prevent hair from entering the shower drain opening.
  • Do not use corrosive drain cleaners. Only use gentle drain cleaners recommended by plumbers and limit the use of chemical cleaners to prevent potential pipe damage.
  • Never add bleach or ammonia to a chemical drain cleaner because of potential hazardous fumes or risk of fire.

References

  • Handyman.com
  • "Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide for Caring for Everything in Your Home;" Martha Stewart; Martha Stewart; 2006
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