Expert Plumbing Tip: How to Remove Hair From a Drain

Ah, the old clogged drain.  Hair is the culprit, right?  

Hair clogging up the drain is one of the biggest plumbing issues homeowners face.

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 hair clumps enough that they’ll pass through the drain or pull all the hair out of the drain manually.

If your shower, tub, or bathroom drains aren’t draining effectively, then hair is the most likely culprit. The minute you notice slow draining, try one of the following methods. Chances are, you’ll clean out the hair and solve the problem fast. 

The Combination Attack

Here is a great method for getting rid of hair in your drain.  You’ll need some grease-fighting dish soap, a cup of vinegar, a cup of baking soda, some boiling water, and a cup plunger. 

First, squirt some dish soap down the drain. Chase that dish soap with the cup of baking soda. Take your time,  making 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 slows down, wait five minutes and pour some 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. 

Now, 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.

If you are still having problems and you live in Missoula Montana, you might want to consider calling the plumbing professionals at Garden City Plumbing!

Option 2: Tweez It

Plunging the drain is a less gross option, but it doesn’t always work.

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.

Option 3: Remove the Drain

When all else fails, it’s time to get serious.  You may need to remove the drain.

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

STEP 1: Remove the stopper.

STEP 2: Insert the plug wrench into the drain opening and fit it into the crossbars of the drain.

STEP 3: Grip the plug wrench with your wrench or pliers and turn counterclockwise to loosen the drain from the threading.

STEP 4: When the drain is loosened, remove the plug wrench and insert the needle-nose pliers.

STEP 5: Lock the needle-nose pliers in place when you clamp them around the “X” crossbar in the drain.

STEP 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.

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. 

HINT: Bring the old drain with you to your hardware store to find an exact replacement!

Cleaning hair out of your drains is an important way to keep them working correctly. 

If you are still having problems with your drain or you would simply prefer not to get all gross, call a professional.  If you live in Missoula, Montana we recommend you call us, your Garden City Plumbing professional!