You’d never know by the looks of it that I am continually losing hair in the shower, but apparently, I am. So much so that it plugs up our bathtub drain every 6 months. Not an uncommon problem, eh? Drano to the rescue…almost!
Why Does Your Bathtub Drain Clog?
You might wonder what got you in this position. How is it that you always seem to clog the bathtub drain?
Well, there are a lot of items in a shower or bath that might end up in the drain and cause a clog. Most often, you’ll find that hair is the likely culprit since your hair naturally sheds, especially as you wash it. Keep reading to learn how to solve this problem!
What You’ll Need to Unclog a Bathtub Drain Full of Hair
- For this, the standard cup-style plunger that most people already keep in their bathroom will do the trick.
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Zip-It tool for drains
- Duct tape
How to Unclog Bathtub Drain Full of Hair
Step 1: Preparing Your Drain
The overflow drain is the circular metal piece held in place by one or two screws in your tub. It’s here to make sure that you don’t overfill your tub but for this purpose, you’ll want to change that for a minute.
To begin, unscrew the faceplate from your overflow drain. At the same time, remove the stopper as well. The exact steps for removing your stopper can vary from tub to tub.
Step 2: Trying Out the Zip-It Tool
With both of these faces off, it’s a good idea to take out that Zip-It tool now. You can use it to see if you can dislodge the clog.
Step 3: Cover the Overflow Drain
With both drains open, the plunger isn’t going to have a chance to create a lot of suction. To solve this, use duct tape to completely cover the open space of the overflow drain. Without the cover on it, this shouldn’t be hard.
Step 4: Place the Plunger and Add Water
Place the plunger over your drain but don’t get started quite yet. You’ll want some water in the tub, so fill it about 1-2 inches. Without the drain cover in place, just use the plunger to stop the tub for now.
Step 5: Plunge
Now you can start pumping your plunger. All you have to do is use that suction to force the clog to move and effectively clear the drain. Usually, you can do this in about five or six pumps.
Unclog a Bathtub Drain Full of Hair with a Drain Snake
Step 1: Get a Drain Snake or a Plumber’s Snake
A drain snake, drain claw, or plumber’s snake is a great way to reach further down a drain to a clog than you could on your own. These tools usually have ridges and textured patterns too to help “grab” the clog and pull it back out.
Step 2: Dislodge the Clog
Now that you have your snake, start to work it down the drain. Once you’ve worked it down the drain, twist the contraption and pull it back out. With any luck, it’ll bring that pesky clog out with it!
Unclog a Bathtub Drain Full of Hair with a Wire Hanger
Step 1: Remove the Cover
If you can remove the clog in question manually because it’s close to the surface, start by removing the cover on your drain if there is one. If you have a pop-up drain, a tool like a flathead screwdriver can help you pry this up.
Step 2: Use a Hook to Remove the Clog
Now, all you need to do is hook the hair out of the drain to loosen the clog. If you can’t reach it or simply don’t want to use your hands, you can easily twist a wire hanger to fashion a hook out of it. Then, you can just use that to remove the problem altogether. Finish it off by running hot water down the drain.
Unclog a Bathtub Drain Full of Hair with Vinegar and Baking Soda
Step 1: Adding the Baking Soda
First of all, if there’s any water in the tub, you’ll want to remove it before using this method. Then, just start by pouring half a cup of baking soda over the open drain.
Step 2: Adding the Vinegar
When you’re ready, pour some vinegar over the baking soda. You’ll quickly notice the chemical reaction as the vinegar and baking soda starts to foam and bubble but don’t clean it up right away. Instead, let this work in your drain for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, just run some hot water down the drain to rinse it out.
How Do You Dissolve Hair in a Bathtub Drain?
If you have a particularly stubborn clog that you just can’t get out, there’s always a more nuclear option: you can just dissolve the clog entirely!
One way to do this is to use a chemical like bleach which isn’t going to erode your pipes when you first pour it in but it will dissolve that pesky hair. To get the best results, however, you’ll want to start with a cup of bleach and see if that works. If it doesn’t, you can always try again. Remember, it’ll take about 30 minutes for the bleach to dissolve the hair so make sure to have a little patience!
Alternatively, you can use a chemical product specialized in drain cleaning. There are plenty of chemical drain cleaners available including popular brands like Drano.
What Does a Plumber Do to Unclog a Bathtub Drain?
If you were to call a plumber to unclog your bathtub drain, what would they do? After all, it’s a problem that plumbers solve on a regular basis!
Plumbers will usually start by using a drain snake, a plunger, or even a chemical treatment to dissolve the clog if it’s particularly stubborn.
How Often Do You Clean the Drain in Your Bathtub?
The good news is that if you clean your shower drain regularly, you shouldn’t have to do it too terribly often. As long as you aren’t noticing any signs of clogs, you’re fine to clean your bathtub drain about once a month.
How Do You Know If Your Shower Drain is Clogged?
Of course, if you notice your shower drain is clogged, you’ll want to fix it. How do you know when a clogged drain is a likely culprit, though?
For one, you’ll want to pay attention to how fast your shower drains. If there’s standing water in your shower, you might want to check your drain. Similarly, if you notice that draining is slow after a bath or that it takes a few minutes after the water is off for it to drain, it’s probably a clog.
Right before opening the bottle, my hubby decided to take a plunger to the drain and voila. It worked! We saved ourselves 4 bucks, which mind you, is a lot when you are on a tight budget! I took the Drano back and bought goat cheese, which turned out to be a waste anyways because I forgot to refrigerate it. Ugh, so I’m out the 4 dollars.
But that’s not my point! My point is that a few hefty blows to the drain dislodged the wad of hair that had been plugging it up for longer than I care to share. That’s all it took folks.
With steps like these, you’ll have your bathtub draining properly in no time! Did you enjoy our tutorial? If you did, let us know in the comments and share this with a friend who needs it!