Wading around in your shower is no fun, is it? It feels pretty unsanitary, and you find yourself having to clean the shower tray constantly due to the water taking so much longer to drain away.
My shower had a ring of scum around it all the time. I grew fed up with continuously cleaning it.
If you have the same issue as me, you probably have a lot of hair stuck in the drain pipes. Yucky I know!
The solution is to do a deep clean of your drain and then adopt some simple habits to keep your shower drain clear. The water will flow quickly away, and your shower will stay free of soap scum.
In a nutshell, here is what worked for me:
Take an old wire hanger, or a hair snake, and feed it into your shower drain. Twist and then remove it along with the hair. Going forward, use a silicone hair catcher over the drain and make sure you brush your hair (or your pet's) before taking a shower.
Read on for lots more tips on how to get rid of hair in your shower drain and keep it out for good!
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How to keep hair out of the shower drain
Brush your hair before you take a shower
My biggest tip is to always give your hair a good brush before you take a shower. That way, there will be less hair falling out as you wash.
Not washing your hair? Wear a shower cap
If you aren't going to wash your hair, put a shower cap on to stop any loose hair from falling into the drain.
Use a hair catcher
Place a hair catcher over your shower drain to catch hair as you shower. Then remember to rinse off the hair regularly. The more often you do this, the quicker and easier cleaning it will be.
Using a hair catcher has worked really well for me. Having one in place means that I never have to clean out the drain. I also use it when I bath the dog.
Hair catchers are super-easy to install and clean. These are made of silicone and so will stay in place better.
It can still be a bit gross seeing the hair caught in the hair catcher. Here's another type of hair catcher called Tub Shroom that conceals the hair inside, so you don't have to look at it as you shower.
Simply pull it out of the drain after your shower and remove the hair. It's works for dog hair too.
Use a dryer sheet
If you are not a fan of cleaning out hair catchers, an old dryer sheet can work well instead. Place the sheet over the drain to catch the hair before you shower, and then toss it.
Pour boiling water down the drain after every shower
When hair is mixed with soap scum, it is more liable to stick inside the pipes.
Pouring boiling water down the drain will help to dissolve the soap scum and dislodge the hair. Make sure you stand back as you pour because it can spurt back out.
Pour distilled white vinegar down the drain once per month
This is yet another use for vinegar. There are so many!
Pour a generous amount of distilled white vinegar into your shower drain and then leave it for at least 20 minutes. Follow with some boiling water. Doing this every couple of months will keep your shower drain clear and sanitary.
How to make a DIY hair catcher for your shower drain
There are a couple of ways to make your own DIY hair catcher for your shower drain. I've already mentioned the first way, using an old dryer sheet. Don't throw your old dryer sheets away, put them over your shower drain and then toss them along with the hair.
The second way is to use a kitchen strainer. You need one small enough so that it doesn't get in the way as you shower. If you have one to hand, that's perfect. However, if you are going to buy something especially for this job, I recommend going for a silicone hair catcher instead.
How to get hair out of a shower drain
Everything I mentioned above will help prevent hair build-up in the drain pipes. But if you have a tonne of hair stuck in the drain already, you need to get it out pronto.
Let's go through all the best ways to get hair out of your shower drain, so you can begin your maintenance plan going forward.
Let's start with the best method of all (and the one that worked great for me), the plumbing snake.
If your drain is very clogged up with hair, so much that it doesn't drain properly, and you find yourself paddling around in the shower, a plumbing snake is what you need.
A plumbing snake (also known as an auger) is a long, thin piece of plastic that 'snakes' around the pipes underneath your drain, loosening debris as it goes.
The teeth on the outside help it to dislodge the hair inside the drain pipe. All you need to do is push it down the drain, give it a twist, and then bring it back out again. The hair will come with it.
The great thing about a plumbing snake is that you can reuse it, and it is also good for unblocking sinks and even the toilet.
Wire coat hanger
If you don't have a plumbing snake, a wire coat hanger is your next best thing to get rid of hair in your shower drain.
Here's how to use your coat hanger to unblock your shower drain:
- Unravel the wire.
- Make the top part into a crank.
- Bend the bottom into a U shape.
- Feed the wire into the drain.
- Turn the crank you made at the top.
- Pull out the wire along with your wad of hair.
Here's a useful video showing exactly how to do it:
Tweezers will work if you have a just bit of hair to remove. Using a tool like this means you don't have to touch the hair. Tweezers work best for drains with a removable cover because you will need good access.
I recommend getting some larger tweezers for this, so you don't confuse them with your eyebrow tweezers!
I tend to use bleach not as a drain unblocker, but as a sanitizer.
During the hot summers we now have in the UK, I've noticed our drains smell a lot more. A quick squirt with bleach helps them smell better.
Pouring bleach down the plug hole every few weeks also helps to keep the drain clear.
Make sure you don't drip it on the shower tray or in the bath because it is liable to damage the surface.
Here's how to use bleach to sanitize and keep your shower drain clear:
- Put on some household gloves and pull out as much of the hair as you can.
- Pour in a few tablespoons of bleach.
- Leave it to work for an hour.
- Pour down some hot water (make sure you stand back as the water can spurt back out).
Baking soda and vinegar method
Baking soda or washing soda crystals is my favoured way of cleaning out drains in our house. Washing soda crystals, have the same cleaning effect as baking soda.
I simply pour in as much baking soda or soda crystals into the plug hole as I can. You have to pour it in slowly so as not to create a mound on top. Then pour in some distilled white vinegar.
There is a very pleasing fizzing effect as you pour in the vinegar.
I then leave it to work for an hour or so and then pour some hot water down to finish off.
Table salt and vinegar method
Instead of baking soda, you can use plain table salt.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of ordinary table salt into the drain, and then follow-up with some distilled white vinegar.
Let it sit for an hour and then run the hot tap. If the drain is still blocked, repeat the process.
Once you have removed as much of the hair as you can, a sink plunger will do a fantastic job of loosening more debris in the pipes and allowing it to flow down and out.
- Place the plunger around the drain so that it has a good seal, and then run the cold tap.
- As the tap is running, keep plunging it up and down.
- The debris in the pipes should quickly loosen.
This job can get very messy. The stuff that comes out is extremely gross!
I advise wearing some old clothes and even a mask.
When I did this on my sink drain, yucky stuff spurted out. You wouldn't want that to go in your eyes. For the same reason, always do this with COLD water.
Drain cleaner (last resort)
On this blog, I always advise trying the most natural methods before reaching for strong chemicals.
In most cases, natural solutions work brilliantly. However, a blocked drain can be a health risk. You really shouldn't leave your drain clogged for too long.
I've never used a strong drain cleaner, but Drano, has good reviews, so it could be worth a try if all else fails.
If you have tried everything, and your drain is still clogged. Or this is far too gross to handle (I don't blame you!), I recommend calling out your plumber.
Call the plumber
Still can't get your drain cleared? Yup, if you have done everything you can to get the drain cleared of hair, it's time to call the plumber in.
Some jobs are just too big (or horrid) to tackle without professional help. A plumber will also be able to advise what to do without damaging pipes and bathroom surfaces.
I hope you get your drain sparkling very soon.
Still have questions? Keep reading.
Frequently asked questions
How to get hair out of the bathroom sink drain?
Put on some rubber gloves and pull out as much of the hair from the drain as you can. You might need some bent wire, or a hair snake to get it out. Then, pour in some baking soda and follow with distilled white vinegar to clear the drain.
I also recommend using a sink plunger to dislodge debris.
How to get hair out of the drain in the bathtub?
Pull out as much of the hair as you can manually or use some bent wire, or a hair snake. Follow with some baking soda and distilled white vinegar to deep clean the drain.
How to get dog hair out of bathtub drain?
You can get dog hair out using a hair snake. Then follow-up with some baking soda and vinegar. Going forward, put a hair catcher over the drain to catch the dog's hair before it clogs up the pipes.
How can I get hair out of the shower drain without touching it?
Always wear rubber gloves before you touch the drain. You certainly don't want to touch any of the muck that comes out with your bare hands.
How to keep dog hair out of the bathtub drain?
Always brush your dog before bathing to get as much of the loose hair out of his coat as possible.
Cover the drain with a silicone hair catcher while you bath your dog.
How to get hair out of the drain without using vinegar?
Pour in some baking soda and then follow with some hot water instead of using vinegar.
How to dissolve hair in the shower drain?
A combination of baking soda and vinegar makes a powerful drain cleaner, and it can even dissolve hair. I recommend you try that first. If you have a badly blocked drain, you can dissolve the hair with something stronger, such as Drano.