Cleaning Hair Out of a Drain

We've all been there. Your drain is stopped up with enough hair to slow it down or stop it totally. To get your drain flowing again properly, something needs to be put down there to either break up hair clumps enough that they'll pass through the drain or pull all the hair out of the drain manually.

So what are you going to do? The minute you notice slow draining, try one of the following methods.

Alternate baking soda and vinegar and plunging

Here's one method that won't tear up your pipes like Draino. You'll need some grease-fighting dish soap, a cup of vinegar, a cup of baking soda, the means to boil water, and 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. When the water's boiling, pour it slowly down the drain. The fizzing baking soda and vinegar help break up the hair and the water helps it pass through the drain. Now 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.

Remove the drain stopper and use tweezers

Plunging the drain is certainly less gross, but unfortunately pulling the hair out will probably be more effective. You'll need a screwdriver, rubber gloves, a flashlight, and 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 your screwdriver. Take this opportunity to clean off the drain stopper in your sink. Just make sure any hair in the stopper doesn't fall into another 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. After removing the hair, run some hot water down the drain before replacing the stopper to make sure everything's working properly.

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 will catch any hair in the drain 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 this way and that 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.

If it still is clogged

The next step is to take apart the drain and rebuild it. We don't recommend you do this on your own. You could really damage your pipes and cause leaks. So if it gets to this point, give us a call. We'll be there to take care of it.

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