If you have long hair, then you likely experience more than your fair share of clogged tub and shower drains from hair accumulation. An average person loses up to 100 hairs naturally every day, and many of those are lost when washing and conditioning your hair in the shower. If you wash your hair every day, then that is up to 700 hairs that go down your shower drain every week. While shorter hairs may flow through the pipes easily, long hairs can cause clogs. Before you decide to give up and just chop off your hair, follow these tips for preventing clogs and clearing them when they do occur.
No prevention tactics are foolproof, but they can help minimize the hair that goes down your shower drain to minimize the potential for future clogs.
These tactics include:
- Brush, brush, brush -- before you shower. This can help greatly if you tend to wake up in the morning and jump in the shower before brushing your hair. Use a brush with bristles that are spaced tightly together to maximize tension as you brush. This slight tension won't harm a healthy head of hair, but it will dislodge any hairs that are just about to fall out. You can then throw them in the trash can instead of letting them fall down your shower drain.
- Use a wide-tooth comb to distribute hair conditioner. After you shampoo, you may apply hair conditioner and then comb it through your hair to distribute it evenly. Don't use a fine-toothed comb, but instead use one with teeth spaced widely apart to minimize hair breakage. You don't need broken hairs going down the drain and adding to your problem. (This is also much better for your hair!)
If you have hair that is prone to becoming tangled when you shampoo, then some loose hairs may still end up on your comb. Even when you are in a hurry, throw them in the trash can instead of down the drain. These tips can help minimize clogs and make them less severe when they occur.
Removing Clogs Caused by Hair
Even if you follow the prevention tactics religiously, you still may experience an occasional drain clog caused by hair. Your drain will likely begin draining more slowly before it clogs completely, so anytime you notice a slower than usual drain during or after your shower, work on removing the hair before the situation worsens.
First, remove the tub or shower drain cover. Most are relatively simple to remove, although you may need a screwdriver or other special tools to remove some types of covers. If you cannot remove it on your own, then ask a handy friend to help or call a plumber who can take off the cover and remove the clog.
If you can get your drain cover off, then try the following to remove the hair:
- Look down the drain with a flashlight to see where the hair is located. This is important, because if the hair is embedded so deeply in the pipes that you cannot see it, then you will need to call a plumber at this point, as you don't know if hair is even the cause of your blockage. If you can see the hair, then you have a great chance of getting it out on your own.
- Grab the portion of hair you can see with a set of long tweezers, a pair of needle-nose pliers, or anything else you have around the house that can grab it. You can even twist part of a wire coat hanger into a little hook to pull the hair out. If you have clogs often, then a small plastic device meant to remove hair from drains can be bought for just a few dollars to use next time.
- Pull it out! You may be shocked at what you see come out of your drain. Keep pulling the hair until you don't see any more. Don't be surprised if a lot more comes out than you think will.
- Run hot water to see if the block is gone. If it is, then great! Replace the drain cover.
If you complete all of the above steps and your drain is still clogged, then it is likely time to call a plumber. Hair may be too deeply embedded in the drain for you to get it out with DIY methods, or there may be another problem with the drain entirely.
If you have long hair that constantly clogs your tub or shower drain, remove the clog and then follow the drain cleaning prevention tips to keep clogs from recurring. You then won't have cut off all of your hair just to prevent clogs!