After a long, busy day, a steaming hot shower sounds blissful, right? Well, perhaps you were thinking the same thing. Except you climbed in the shower, expecting a glorious, relaxing rinse, only to step into standing water. While it isn’t the worst thing that could happen, it puts a damper on the relaxing aspect of the rinse.
If you wanted a foot bath, you could just plug the drain, right? So, now what? The drain is backed up, probably with hair, and the last thing you want to do is call the plumber. Luckily, removing the hair from a shower drain isn’t a complicated process. Here’s how to get the task done without a hitch.
What Dissolves Hair In A Bathroom Drain?
Pulling thick, slimy gobs of hair from the drain is enough to convince anyone to skip the shower for the moment. So, is there a way to dissolve the hair residing in the bathroom drain? Lucky for you, there is. Bonus: you probably already have the materials you need on hand.
While you could use a chemical drain cleaner (see also ‘Best Drain Cleaner For Black Sludge‘), baking soda and vinegar might do the trick. Commercial drain cleaners tend to be harsh on plumbing, so we don’t recommend using them, especially if you can avoid them. They can cause more damage than they’re worth, leading to corrosion, leaks, and expensive water damage.
Instead, try using baking soda and vinegar or one of the alternative methods listed below.
How Do You Get Hair Out Of A Shower Drain That Doesn’t Unscrew?
Shower drains come in a few different varieties. Some of them unscrew easily, unthreading from the assembly inside the drain hole. Others have a screw in the middle of the plate, holding them in place.
However, sometimes, it isn’t that simple. For example, you might not see an obvious screw, and it doesn’t unthread. Some drain assemblies feature a push/pull drain that doesn’t unthread by hand. These are common in bathtub/shower combos and are easy to remove.
There’s a little knob on the top of the stopper that unthreads from the stopper. Grasp the little knob with one hand and the stopper with the other, then unthread the knob. Once you remove it, you’ll see a set screw inside the drain. Use a screwdriver to remove the set screw, and the drain stopper will lift right out.
On the other hand, maybe you have a shower drain plate without a visible set screw. Sometimes, these plates lift right up out of the drain. Try to lift the plate with your fingernails or wedge a screwdriver into the grate and gently pry the plate up.
Sometimes, you might need to use some WD40 to help loosen things up. Spray the lubricant around the plate, then wait a few minutes for it to work. Lift the plate out of the drain.
Best Ways To Remove Hair From Your Shower Drain
Removing hair from your shower drain isn’t fun, especially if you remove the gunk by hand. While you could try using a chemical drain cleaner or drain solution (like baking soda and vinegar), the best, most effective methods often require a tool.
Here are a few methods to address the problem:
Baking Soda And Vinegar
Plucking slimy strands of hair from the drain doesn’t sound fun. If you want to avoid using a tool to remove the hair clog, try this method first. It doesn’t always do the job by itself, but it’s worth a shot.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Hot water
Remove the shower drain stopper or plate. Once the plate/stopper is out of the way, pour a cup of baking soda down the clogged tub drain. Follow up with a cup of vinegar. Combining the two will create a reaction reminiscent of your middle school science fair days.
Let the reaction do its thing, which will take about five minutes or so until the fizzing stops. After the reaction stops, pour hot (not boiling) water down the drain. If you have a tub spout in the shower, run hot water for a few minutes.
After you flush the drain, make sure the water is draining properly. If not, repeat the above steps a few more times.
Use A Hair Snake
Hair snakes are a great way to target the nasty clump of hair and soap scum resting in the drain. You can buy packs of hair snakes from Amazon for less than $10, so buying a few won’t set you back much.
Remove the drain stopper or plate. Next, feed the end of the hair snake into the drain, twist it a few times and lift the clump of hair out of the drain.
Use An Auger
Also known as a plumbing snake, an auger is a great way to tackle tough hair clogs. These tools can reach deeper into the drain, allowing you to clear the clog completely, whether it’s close to the drain or further into the plumbing.
Many hair clogs happen closer to the top, but some can occur further down. Either way, an auger should do the trick. All you need is an auger and rubber gloves (unless you want to remove the hair from the auger by hand).
Feed the auger into the drain until you feel resistance. Rotate the cable to move the auger into the blockage, then pull the clog out of the drain. Remove the gunk from the cable, then check the drainage by running water down the drain.
If drainage is slow, you might have to repeat the process several times to dislodge and remove the clog entirely.
Use Your Hands Or Tweezers
Although this isn’t the most exciting approach to the problem, it’s an effective way to remove a clog close to the top of the drain. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Tweezers or a DIY hook
- Rubber gloves
Remove the drain stopper or grate. Once the cover is out of the way, shine a flashlight into the drain to help you find the clog. If you can reach the clog with your hands, put on a rubber glove and reach into the drain, grabbing it with your hands.
Or, if it’s out of reach, use tweezers or a DIY hook, such as a bent piece of wire or a wire clothing hanger. Extend the tool into the drain and grasp or hook the clog, then lift the clog out of the drain. Repeat the process as necessary until all the hair is removed.
Check for efficient drainage by running the water for a few minutes.
Use A Plunger
If you have a shower/bathtub combination, try using a plunger to dislodge the clog. This method doesn’t work as well for showers, as you need a few inches of water in the bottom of the shower to help create adequate suction for the plunger to do its job.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Tweezers, auger, or hook (as necessary)
Remove the drain cover, then position the plunger over the drain hole. Make sure the cup of the plunger covers the entire drain, or this won’t work. You need to create a solid seal, which will allow you to create pressure using the plunger that helps dislodge the clog.
Plunge the drain vigorously a few times, then remove the plunger. The pressure you create using the plunger should help dislodge it from the drain. In some cases, this might clear the clog entirely. In other scenarios, you might have to follow up with a manual removal method to remove the loosened hair.
After plunging the drain, look inside the drain with a flashlight. If you can see the clump of hair, lift it out by hand or using tweezers, a hook, or an auger.
Verify the tub drains well by running water for a few minutes.