Most people like long hot showers, but hair clogs may ruin the experience. When a large amount of hair forms a clog, the shower will not drain properly. So, how do you stop hair from going down the shower drain?
First of all, you can use a hair catcher, strainers, and protective drain covers. Even with these measures, some hair may still go through. So, once a month, you could clean the drains with hair removers and natural cleaners. And to minimize the amount of hair that inevitably will end up in the drain, brush your hair before showering.
The longer the hair, the bigger the problem. And it is not just human hair; animal hair presents a problem too. We have an adorable corgi, but you have no idea how much she sheds.
Here is a list of a few tried and tested methods to minimize the problem, but first, let’s see why it is such a big issue.
How Does Hair Impact the Drains?
There is no way to prevent all hair from going down the drain, but if you are not using any method to eliminate most loose hair, you will end up with a big problem.
Hair is light and tangles easily. Multiple hairs can form clogs that will start building up in the pipes. As it gets thicker, it starts catching other filth, and even bigger clogs forms. Eventually, the water starts draining slowly, which can lead to a full blockage. It may even result in a flood. Calling a plumber to resolve such a problem can be quite pricey.
So, the best thing you can do is to prevent the problem before it occurs. Luckily, there are cheap and easy ways to do so.
Stop Hair From Going Down the Shower Drain
As already mentioned, even the best methods will fail to catch 100% of loose hairs, especially if you live in a house with a lot of long-haired tenants.
Some people own pets too and wash them in a shower. Most dogs shed, and after a long walk, there will be other dirt in their fur. Some dog owners don’t realize that a single shower of a large, long-haired, shedding dog can cause a blockage.
To prevent hair from going down the drain, try the following methods:
Hair Catchers and Strainers
There are a few models of hair catchers and strainers available on the market, and you can easily buy them in hardware and home goods stores or order them online. They are typically made of silicone or metal, but to catch hair, the silicone ones are better.
They can bend and are easy to clean. The rubbery surface creates friction, and that is also great to stop hair. Unlike classic drain covers, these are explicitly designed to catch hair. Metal hair catchers, together with standard covers, are a bit worse for this job as they are very smooth and hair slides along them.
Hair catchers are better, but a standard drain cover will work in some cases. Make sure the size is correct to place it over your shower drain. Ideally, they should be cleaned after every shower, which takes a few seconds.
Drain covers are designed to stop all kinds of filth from going down the drain, including your hair. However, they are not the best option for short hair. Many people think short hair is not a problem. That’s not entirely true; it will take longer for clogs to form, but they will form eventually.
Underneath Drain Screens
If you don’t like having covers on the drain, there is an option to install one underneath it. They are a bit more expensive and require simple tools. Drain screens are usually installed on the pipe, underneath the drain opening.
To install it, open the drain cover by turning it or removing screws, and place the drain screen as stated on the manufacturer’s instructions. Most models require a silicone layer on the edges. If this seems too complicated, you may need a plumber to show you how to install it, so that you can clean it and put it back yourself.
You can take one crucial step to prevent excessive hair in your drain before even entering the shower, and that is brushing your hair.
According to scientists, people lose as much as 100 hairs per day. And most of them will end up in the drain if you are not careful. Before you shower, thoroughly brush your hair to collect as many hairs as possible into the brush.
And when you decide to clean your hairbrush, always remove hairs by hand, throw them into the garbage, and then wash the brush.
Hair Removal Mid-Shower
During showers, you will probably notice some hair on a shower/tub floor. Don’t be lazy and collect them by hand. Put them on a side and dispose of them when you finish showering. If you move just 5 loose hairs daily, that is almost 2000 hairs yearly.
Imagine the size of that clog! The same goes for shaving. A lot of people shave in the shower, and all of those tiny hairs will end up in the drain. Because of their small size, covers will have a hard time catching them. Make sure you manually remove as much as you can.
How to Remove the Hair That Ends Up in the Drain
Inevitably, some hairs will find their way into the drain. Every once in a while, you should remove them. How often? Start by doing it monthly and adjust the schedule as needed depending on how much hair you are dealing with.
Hair removers are special plastic devices that look like a straight plastic stick that is bendy and gentle. Along the sides, there are small protrusions tilted upwards.
To use it, hold it at the top and insert it into the drain. It will easily slide in, and when you pull it out, side protrusions will pull out the hair. There is a small handle on top, so you don’t lose them in the drain. They are also known as “hair snakes.” You can order them online.
The video below demonstrates how to use one of these hair removers. It also vividly shows what you could be hiding in your shower drain and why you need to take care of it. I think they can use new caulking as well.
Hot (but not boiling) water is great for cleaning the drains. It will soften the impurities and take them away. Make sure the water is not boiling.
Some people mistakenly use boiling water and thinking it is the best option. However, pipes and plumbing systems have rubbers, silicone, and plumber’s putty. Boiling water can potentially damage them, and you will make a big problem for yourself.
Salt and White Vinegar
Vinegar is one of the most versatile products in the world. To keep your drains clean, put a tablespoon of salt into the drain, and then pour a cup of white vinegar. Let it sit for 30 minutes and rinse with warm water. Let the water flow around 5 minutes.
If necessary, repeat the process. This solution will not magically remove a large clog, but it will help to prevent it.
Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar
Another natural method is using apple cider vinegar and baking soda to clean your drain.
Use a cup of baking soda followed by one cup of vinegar. Foam will appear but don’t worry, it is completely normal. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and rinse with warm water. If you prefer this method over those previously mentioned, repeat it once a month.
Which Hair Removal Methods Should I Avoid?
If a hair clog appears, and natural methods are not working, it is advisable to call a plumber, instead of resolving a problem with strategies that do more harm than good. Hair clog removal methods that should be avoided are the following:
Some people recommend bleach or even hydrochloric acid. Many of them think those will dissolve hair and impurities. That may be true, but they will also dissolve rubber, silicone, plumber’s putty, and cause corrosion and metal parts damage.
These chemicals are too harsh to be used in plumbing systems, and you should never use them in your drains. Moreover, they are bad for the environment and dangerous to inhale.
Chemical Drain Cleaners
These may seem like a good alternative to bleach, and they are safe for the plumbing. Occasional use, especially if you are connected to the city sewage system, is perfectly fine. And it will do the job correctly.
Excessive use may cause issues if you have frequent clogs and you own a septic system. These chemicals, if used in larger quantities, can seriously damage your septic system. Chemicals will kill the bacteria needed for natural waste decomposition.
Manual Removal (if You Have No Plumbing Experience)
Some homeowners will try to remove clogs by themselves, and if you know how to do it, that is perfectly fine. But try to avoid disassembling the drains, removing pipes, and similar work if you don’t know what you are doing.
It may seem simple, but connecting to pipes can be more challenging than it looks. You never know how deep the clog is and how complicated the process can be. Professional plumbers have special tools that look like giant hair removers, and they will do it safely and efficiently.
Avoid leaks and similar problems that can be a result of work poorly done.