How to Unclog Hair in a Shower Drain

It’s often said that nothing in life is certain except for death and taxes. Whoever said that must not have showered enough, because a clogged shower drain is about as much of a certainty as either.

When it comes to clogged shower drains, the number one culprit is hair. No matter how hard you try, hair is going to get into the shower drain. As humans, we naturally shed a little of our hair every day, and when you rinse your hair in the shower, some loose hair inevitably finds its way into the drain.

Unfortunately, drains don’t get along with hair very well, so you may find yourself stuck having to unclog hair from a shower drain every so often. Thankfully, the process of removing the hair takes little skill. We’ll explain how to unclog hair in a shower drain and explore some ways to prevent these clogs in the following sections:

  • Why Hair Sticks in Shower Drains So Easily
  • Techniques and Tools That Can Remove Hair from a Shower Drain
  • How to Prevent Hair from Getting in Your Shower Drain

Why Hair Sticks in Shower Drains So Easily

Plenty of different obstructions can cause clogs. Everything from dirt and sand all the way to the residue from your bar of soap can clog a drain. While all these items have the potential to cause a clog, none of them stop up a drain like hair.

Hair clogs drain easily for a variety of reasons, but the two most obvious are its abundance and its length. Most of what gets washed down on a daily basis is small. Items like dirt particles and small bits of soap scum. These items tend to have a hard time gripping the inside of the drain, and even when they do, it takes a long time for the buildup to become a serious issue.

But when it comes to hair, it’s a different story. Hair of any length sticks around in shower drains thanks to its very structure. Hair naturally has multiple gripping points that can cause it to attach to the wall of a drain pipe even when water is flowing. The longer your hair, the more likely it is to get stuck in a drain.

Finally, hair causes drain clogs because other things stick to it. Soap scum and dirt that would normally flow down a drain with ease can get stuck in the hair that’s already in your drain. When that happens, it’s just a matter of time before a clog forms.

Techniques and Tools That Can Remove Hair from a Shower Drain

Fortunately, the same properties that enable hair to form drain clogs also make it easy to remove from a drain. Here are some of the most reliable ways to get hair out of your drain when a clog becomes too severe to ignore:

  • Drain snake: One of the most reliable ways to remove a clog is with a drain snake. A drain snake is a long flexible tool, often made of metal, that can reach many metres into a drain pipe and pull out any stuck material. There are also zip-it tools and other small, auger-like devices that can reach shallower depths and work in a similar fashion.
  • Tweezers: If your drain has a catch right under the stopper, then hair might be caught in that shallow area before the drain starts. In this case, use a screwdriver to remove the tub stopper. You may be able to grab the hair clog with tweezers and then dispose of it in the trash.
  • Baking soda and vinegar: If you don’t own a drain snake and don’t want to purchase one, you can use a classic science trick to try and unclog your drain. Pour a bit of dish soap into your drain followed by a cup of distilled white vinegar and then a cup of baking soda. Once you’ve poured all of that into the drain, wait five minutes, and then pour a cup or more of boiling water down the drain. After that, to ensure that everything is clear, use a cup plunger (or a flange plunger with the flange pushed inside the bell) to plunge the drain and push the clog all the way through.
  • Drain cleaner: Finally, drain cleaner can work to dissolve clogs. You don’t want to overuse drain cleaner as the corrosive compounds in the cleaner can compromise your drains over time. Still, if the clog is persistent and too deep, drain cleaner is a viable DIY option. Another thing to keep in mind: if you use drain cleaner and then attempt to snake the drain, wear gloves to avoid getting any drain cleaner on your skin.

How to Prevent Hair from Getting in Your Shower Drain

If you want to avoid clogs altogether, you can try to prevent hair from getting into your shower drain. The best way to do this is with a mesh drain cover or another hair-catching device. These devices keep the hair from going into the drain. Just remember to empty them after you shower so that hair doesn’t build up in the catcher.

Have an Especially Stubborn Clog? Call Mr. Rooter

Most clogs can be handled on your own, but some present too big of a challenge for most homeowners. If you’ve tried the methods described in this article and still can’t get rid of your stubborn clog, it’s time to call a pro.

At Mr. Rooter® Plumbing, we know how to fix a clogged shower drain and offer clogged drain service that will get your shower drain back in working order. Call us to schedule a service.