Remove Hair From Shower Drain in 7 Easy Ways

How Do I Get Hair Out of My Shower Drain?

A slow draining or clogged shower drain is often caused by hair. The hair, soap, shampoo and other products form a sticky ball that is trapped in the shower drain P-trap, making it very difficult to drain water.

A shower P-trap is a U-shaped bend in the drainpipe just below the drain opening. Every drain in your house has a P-trap, but the most visible ones are the ones under your kitchen/bathroom sinks.

P-traps have 2 main functions. They hold a little amount of water which acts as a barrier preventing sewer gases from coming up in your house. Any time you have a sewer smell from your shower drain, the trap is usually empty (when you have travelled and hence evaporation, or a clogged vent or sewer line causing the water to be sucked in the drainpipe).

The second function of the trap is to trap potential clogs (like hair), preventing them from clogging the drainpipe farther away where unclogging it would be harder.

To get hair out of your shower drain, start by removing the drain cover. Use a zip-it tool, wire coat hanger or tweezers to pull out as much hair as possible from the P-trap. Pour 1 cup of baking soda and vinegar and after 30 minutes blast hot water through the drain. To prevent the problem from recurring, install a shower drain hair catcher.

It is always a good idea to attempt fixing the problem on your own before calling in a plumber. Only call a plumber when you have tried everything with little or no success.

This is the process of removing hair from a shower drain:

1. Remove the Shower Drain Cover

shower-drain-cover

A shower drain cover is installed to prevent hair strands from washing down the shower drain, but they still manage to do exactly that. While you can remove the hair with the cover still on, removing it prior makes it easy and effective. By removing this cover, you will have direct access to the drainpipe and P-trap.

Shower drain covers are a little different but removing them is easy all together. This is how to proceed:

  • Look for a screw or 2 on the drain cover.
  • Use a screwdriver to remove the screws, being very careful not to drop them down the drain.
  • Once the screws are out simply lift off the cover.
  • If there are no screws on the drain cover, look for a slot on the edge of the drain cover. Insert a flathead screwdriver in the slot and pry off the cover.
  • An alternative to the above is a needle-nose pliers. Grab the drain covers with a pair of needle-nose pliers and pull it straight out.

If you are using a bathtub-shower combo, you will first need to remove the tub stopper at the bottom of the tub. That will however depend on the type of bathtub stopper you have, as there are about 5 types of tub stoppers.

Check how to remove the different bathtub stoppers in this post.

2. Remove the Hair with Zip-It Tool.

shower-drain-hair-removing-tool

The shower drain hair removal tool, commonly known as a zip-it tool is the same tool used to remove hair from a bathroom sink. It is a thin plastic strip with hooks along its edges that you feed down the shower drain and it grabs hair strands/balls out of the drain.

This tool is flexible and hence it is easily snaked down and up the shower P-trap to get rid of every bit of hair. Unlike a drain snake, the tool cannot damage the drainpipe in any way.

It is important to make sure that you have your gloves on as the hair being pulled out will be really gross to look at and touch. The smell is also not very pleasant.

Start by removing the hair at the top of the drain with your hand and when you can longer reach the one in the P-trap start feeding and twisting the hair removal tool down the drain. If the drain is badly clogged with hair it will be a little hard to push the tool but with determination you will do it.

3. Use a Wire Coat Hanger

wire-hanger

A wire coat hanger has been used successfully over the years to unclog drains. It can also be used to remove hair from shower drains with similar success.

Here is how to remove hair from a shower drain using a wire hanger:

  • Dash to your closet and grab a wire coat hanger.
  • Use a pair of pliers to straighten the wire hanger into a single long wire.
  • Make a hook on one end of the wire using the same pliers.
  • Insert the hooked end of the wire in the shower drain and start pulling out hair. This is a slow process so be patient.

A wire coat hanger doesn’t have the flexibility of a zip it tool but it still does the job. If you don’t have a wire hanger just use any other wire, as long it is thick and strong enough.

4. Pull the Out Hair with Tweezers

tweezers

If you have tweezers in your home then you can clean out hair from your shower drain in minutes. As soon as you have removed the drain cover, put on some gloves and start grabbing hair strands and dropping them in a trash bag/can.

I am always hesitant about plunging a shower drain clogged with hair, as a hair ball can clog the drainpipe even more. Removing the hair is a far much better way of dealing with the problem instead of forcing it down the drain.

An alternative to tweezers is a pair of needle-nose pliers. Use its prongs to grab and remove as much hair from the drainpipe as possible before cleaning the P-trap with baking soda and vinegar.

5. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar.

Whenever you have a clogged drain, baking soda and vinegar or probably your second option after using a plunger. Apart from clearing clogs, baking soda and vinegar are very effective in eliminating smells in drains.

While you can use baking soda and vinegar to clean hair out of your shower drain without removing the drain cover, removing the cover helps to improve your success rate by first removing most of the hair with the steps above.

Here is how to remove hair from shower drain using baking soda and vinegar:

  • Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the shower drain.
  • Add 1 cup of vinegar slowly since it reacts very quickly with the baking soda.
  • Wait for 15-30 minutes for the fizzing reaction to end.
  • Pour a gallon of boiling water down the drain.

As the baking soda is reacting with the vinegar, the hair ball in the drainpipe and P-trap will be broken down making it lightweight. The boiling water will melt and dissolve soap scum and other clingy substances, and wash everything down the drain, leaving it fully opening and smelling fresh.

6. Pull Out the Hair with a Drain Snake

drain-snake

If you have tried removing hair from your shower drain using the above methods but it is still draining slowly, only one tool will do the job. The drain snake!

A drain snake, also known as a plumber’s snake is a flexible cable rolled on a drum. It has a hooked spring-like head and a cranking handle.

You use a drain snake to break down clogs and pull them out of the drain, especially if they are several feet inside the drain. This is how to pull out hair from a shower drain using a drain snake:

  • Loosen the cable clamp on the drum.
  • Feed the cable down the shower drain until you encounter resistance.
  • Tighten the clamp.
  • Start cranking the cable until you go through the clog.
  • Release more cable and push it deeper in the drain.
  • Pull the cable out.
  • Remove the hair and repeat the above steps just incase there is more hair in the drain.
  • Clean the cable and pull it back in the drum.
  • Tighten the clamp and store the snake.

7. Install a Shower Hair Catcher

shower-drain-hair-catcher

If you don’t want to keep removing hair from your shower drain every now and then you need to install a hair catcher over you drain. A shower drain hair catcher costs under $10 dollars and will save you a lot of trouble (in form of clogged shower drains) and time. Sometimes even money.

Installing a shower drain hair catcher is quite simple and you don’t even need to call in a plumber to do it for you. Just remove the drain cover and insert it in the catcher and voila!

And those are the 7 ways of removing hair from your shower drain. If unfortunately you are unsuccessful or unable to do it, feel free to call in a plumber to help. There could be problems with your shower drain which only a professional plumber can fix.

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