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How To Clean A Hair-Clogged Drain

What To Do When Hair Clogs Your Drain

Even if you use a drain stopper, enough hair could eventually slip into your drain to slow it down. To get your drain flowing again properly, either break up the hair clumps enough that eventually, they’ll pass through the drain. Alternatively, you can pull all the hair out of the drain manually. If the problem is a little more serious than that, you may need to call professional plumbing service in Lake Oswego to address the problem.

If your shower, tub, or bathroom drains aren’t draining effectively, then hair is the most likely suspect. The minute you notice your drain slowing, try one of the following methods. Chances are, you’ll clean out the hair and solve the problem faster. And don’t worry: we laid out the tools you’ll need to keep you from actually touching the nasty stuff yourself.

Tweezers Are More Effective

Plunging the drain is certainly less gross, but unfortunately, just pulling the hair out is going to be the more effective method. You’ll need a screwdriver, rubber gloves, a flashlight, and a pair of needle-nose pliers. First, unplug the drain stopper. You might be able to pry the stopper off with ease, but chances are you’ll need a screwdriver. Take this opportunity to clean off the drain stopper before installing it back. 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. Shine the flashlight into the drain to see what mass of hair is clogging your drain. Put on your gloves and use your needle-nose pliers to reach in and grab the clump. If your pliers can’t reach or fit, you could also try making a makeshift snake out of an old clothes hanger. After removing the hair, pour some hot water down the drain before replacing the stopper. The drain should work perfectly. 

Alternatives To The Conventional Methods

You’ll need some grease-fighting dish soap, a cup of vinegar, a cup of baking soda, boiling water, and an ordinary toilet 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 will create a relatively active reaction in your drain.

After the fizzing dies down, wait a couple of minutes and pour some boiling water slowly down the drain. The fizzing baking soda and vinegar will break up the hair and the water helps it pass through the drain. Now’s the time where 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 the hair clog is particularly stubborn, just repeat this process till it finally comes loose.

Use A Zip-it Tool

A zip-it tool is a long, flexible, barbed stick made of plastic specifically designed to clear drain clogs. They’re cheap, can be bought reusable or disposable, and available in most hardware stores. To use a zip-it tool, you just have to insert the barbed length down into your drain. As you pull the zip-it back out, the barbs will catch any hair or other material in the drain back out with it. Zip-its are flexible enough to fit through most drain stoppers, but we recommend removing your stopper anyway.

For the best results, try twisting and rotating the zip-it tool back and forth as you insert and pull it out. As always, follow up on your initial cleaning with some hot water. 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 handy in your bathroom. That way, you’ll be prepared next time you need to remove hair clogs.

Removing The Whole Drain

You’ll need a flat-head screwdriver, a plug wrench, an adjustable wrench,  a pair of locking needle-nose pliers, some standard pliers, and gloves. This process is a bit more involved than the other tips we listed here, so we’ll run in through you step by step:

  1. Remove the stopper.
  2. Insert the plug wrench into the drain opening and fit it into the crossbars of your drain.
  3. Grip the plug wrench with your wrench or a pair of pliers and turn counterclockwise to loosen the drain from the threading. If you have some trouble, pour a few drops of dish soap in the threading. 
  4. When the drain is loosened, remove the plug wrench and insert the needle-nose pliers.
  5.  Lock the needle-nose pliers in place when you clamp them around the “x” crossbar in the drain.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

As gross as it is, cleaning hair out of your drains is an important way to keep them working smoothly. Luckily, it isn’t as time consuming or messy as you might think–especially if you follow our simple tips and tricks.

With the knowledge you’ve now gained, you won’t have to worry about hair clogging your drains ever again.



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