Your shower drain is one of the hardest-working parts of your home. Each day, it efficiently clears away water and excess product from your shower. But, there’s one thing it often struggles with hair. Whether it’s short or long hair, the drain often becomes the final resting place for hair that falls out during washing, leading to nasty hair blockages and a clogged shower drain.
Understanding the Problem: What Causes a Clogged Shower Drain?
A clogged drain is typically caused by the accumulation of hair and debris that goes down your drain. Each person loses about 100 strands of hair daily, so when these strands combine with soap and other residues, they can form stubborn clogs inside the drain pipe. This hair clog can prevent water from effectively draining out, causing water to back up and stand in your shower or bathtub drain.
Why Hair Clog is a Common Issue in Shower Drains
Hair clogs are a common issue in shower drains because hair can easily tangle and clump together. It sticks to soap, grease, and other substances to form a stubborn clog that blocks the drain. If you have a bathroom sink drain in the same bathroom, hair from brushing your hair over the sink can also contribute to the problem. Not to mention, the severity of your clog can intensify if both short and long hair types are contributing to the blockage.
Methods to Get Hair Out of Your Shower Drain
Hair in your shower drain can lead to a troublesome clog, and dealing with a hair clog can feel like a daunting task. However, there are several tried-and-true methods to get hair out of your shower drain effectively:
1. Use a Wire Hanger or Coat Hanger: To use a wire coat hanger, straighten it out and create a small hook at one end. Remove the drain cover and insert the hook into the drain. Use the hook to catch onto the hair and debris, then carefully pull it out. Be careful not to push the clog further down. This method is handy, especially when you have clumps of hair near the top of the drain.
2. Try a Plunger: If the hair clog is stubborn, a plunger might do the trick. Place the plunger over your shower drain and give it a few good pumps. This might be enough to dislodge the clog and push it down the pipe.
3. Apply Baking Soda and Vinegar: For a more natural method, try using baking soda and vinegar. Pour a cup of baking soda into your drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Allow the mixture to fizz and work its magic for about 15-20 minutes, then rinse with boiling water. This can help dissolve the hair in your drain and clear out the blockage.
4. Utilize a Drain Snake: A drain snake, or plumbing snake, can be a very effective tool for removing hair from the shower drain. Feed the snake into the drain until you reach the clog, then twist it to catch onto the hair. Slowly pull it out, bringing the hair with it.
5. Use Chemical Drain Cleaners: These are typically a last resort. While they can effectively dissolve hair in your drain, they are harsh and can potentially damage your pipes over time. If you decide to use a chemical drain cleaner, always follow the instructions on the label.
6. Dish Soap and Boiling Water: For a milder alternative to chemical drain cleaners, pour some dish soap into your drain, followed by boiling water. The dish soap can help lubricate the clog and the boiling water can help dissolve the hair and push the clog down the drain.
Dissolving Hair in Your Shower Drain: Focusing on Chemical Solutions
When hair accumulates, it intertwines with soap scum and other debris, leading to stubborn clogs. Enter chemical drain cleaners – these powerful solutions are specifically formulated to target and break down organic obstructions, especially hair. These cleaners often contain potent active ingredients such as sodium hydroxide or sulfuric acid, which work by breaking down the protein structures in hair, effectively dissolving it and making it easier to flush away. While they offer a quick and efficient method for tackling hair blockages, it’s crucial to use them judiciously. Over-reliance can lead to pipe damage and environmental concerns. Always follow the product’s instructions and wear protective gloves and eyewear when handling to safeguard against potential chemical burns or fumes.
Proven Techniques to Remove Hair from the Drain
- Manual Removal: When the hair clog is near the top of the drain, sometimes the simplest solution is to manually remove it. Use tweezers to remove visible clumps of hair. For slightly deeper clogs, a wire hanger can be used to fish out the hair.
- Natural Remedies: A combination of vinegar and baking soda can also help dissolve hair clogs. Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. After letting it sit for 15-20 minutes, rinse the drain with boiling water. This remedy is gentle on your pipes, but it may not work on severe clogs.
- Plunger: If a clog is stubborn, a good old-fashioned plunger can help. Place the plunger over the drain and pump vigorously. The suction can help dislodge the clog.
- Plumbing Snake or Drain Snake: This is a professional tool that plumbers use, but it’s also available for homeowners. The snake is pushed into the drain to reach the clog, then it’s twisted to break up the clog and pull it out.
- Hydro Jetting: For severe clogs, you might consider hiring a professional plumber to perform hydro jetting. This process involves blasting water down the drain at high pressure to break up the clog.
Tools and Chemicals to Help You Unclog Hair from the Shower Drain
Several tools and chemicals can aid in the process of unclogging a hair-filled shower drain:
- Drain Snake: A drain snake is a flexible rod that you can thread down drains to dislodge blockages. They’re particularly effective for reaching and dislodging hair clogs that are lodged deep in the pipes.
- Plunger: A plunger can create pressure that helps to dislodge clogs. Though usually used for toilet clogs, they can be effective for minor shower drain clogs as well.
- Wire Coat Hanger: A straightened wire coat hanger with a small hook on the end can be a helpful tool for pulling hair and debris out of a drain.
- Drain Cleaner: There are several chemical drain cleaners on the market designed to break down different types of clogs. Some are specifically designed to dissolve hair. Be sure to choose a product that’s safe for your pipes, and always follow the instructions on the label.
- Natural Substances: If you’re looking for a more natural solution, baking soda and vinegar can work to break down minor clogs.
The Role of Drain Cleaners in Dealing with a Hair Clog
Drain cleaners play a significant role in dealing with hair clogs. They contain chemicals that react with the clog, causing it to break down and dissolve. Hair is particularly susceptible to these chemicals, which makes chemical drain cleaners a potent solution for hair clogs.
However, it’s important to note that while these cleaners can be effective, they should be used as a last resort. They’re not only harsh on the environment but can also damage your pipes if used frequently. It’s always better to attempt mechanical methods, such as plunging or snaking, before resorting to chemical solutions.
Step-by-Step Guide to Unclogging a Hair-Clogged Shower Drain
- Safety First: Put on a pair of gloves and, if necessary, goggles. This is especially important if you’ll be using chemical cleaners.
- Manual Removal: If you can see the hair clog, use tweezers to remove it. For deeper clogs, straighten a wire hanger and create a small hook at the end to fish out the hair.
- Use a Plunger: Cover the drain with a plunger and pump it a few times. This may be enough to dislodge the clog.
- Natural Drain Cleaner: Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture fizz for about 15-20 minutes, then flush with boiling water.
- Use a Drain Snake: If the clog persists, use a drain snake. Push the snake into the drain until it reaches the clog, then twist it to catch the hair and pull it out.
- Final Rinse: Once you’ve removed the hair, give the drain one last flush with boiling water.
How to Prevent Hair from Clogging the Shower Drain
- Brush Your Hair Before Showering: This can help remove loose strands that might otherwise end up in your shower drain.
- Use a Drain Cover: A shower drain hair catcher can effectively trap hair before it goes down the drain.
- Regular Cleaning: Regularly clean your shower drain to prevent the buildup of hair and debris.
- What to Do When You Can’t Remove Hair From Your Shower Drain
If you’ve tried everything and still can’t clear the hair from your shower drain, it may be time to call in professional help. Hair clogs can sometimes become so lodged in your pipes that household solutions just can’t do the trick. A professional plumber can use tools like a motorised drain snake or hydro jetting to clear even the most stubborn clogs.
Professional Assistance for a Clogged Shower Drain: When and Why You Need It
Professional plumbers have specialised tools and extensive knowledge to handle severe clogs. They can assess the situation, identify the best method to unclog the drain and do so without causing any damage to your pipes. If your DIY efforts haven’t worked, if the clog keeps recurring, or if multiple drains in your home are clogged, it’s time to call a professional like Plumbwell Plumbing Services on (02) 9064 2861.