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partyrock's avatar

How to unclog a shower drain full of hair ?

Asked by partyrock (3870points) December 12th, 2011

How do I unclog a shower drain that’s full of hair ? I can’t stick my hand it in to pull the hair out because the metal is blocking it and I can’t unscrew it.

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36 Answers

bkcunningham's avatar

Liquid Plumber or Drain-O.

partyrock's avatar

Will using just a plunger unclog it ?

blueiiznh's avatar

The best way is to remove the drain stopper. You need to be a bit mechanically inclined. If you are not, try the plunger or drain cleaner method first.
Here are a few links:

jca's avatar

Sometimes I find if you put boiling water in the drain it helps melt any gooey stuff (soap) that’s stuck in the hair. I have that problem right now with my bathtub. A friend used a plunger yesterday on it but it did not do much good.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Wire coathanger. Put it down the drain and fish the hair out, but by bit.

Once you get most of the hair out, then use the Drano or liquid plumber.

Wire coathangers are such versatile things – they open car door locks, they can fish hair out of the drain, and they used to be used for illegal abortions before it was legal,

Jude's avatar


flutherother's avatar

A plumber’s snake might be the best way. You push it down the drain, twist it and pull it back out. There are all sorts of nasty chemicals you can put down the drain to dissolve blockages but these could damage the pipes/environment.

Pandora's avatar

As @blueiiznh link suggest in one of its steps, the zip it drain tool works great. I have one. You can buy at lowes or home depot. I think I bought mine for under two dollars. I know its not any more than 7. Its great. I haven’t needed to get a plumber or use any harmful chemicals since I’ve been using it for the past 5 years. They don’t last very long but its still way cheaper than draino and some chemicals can cause the seals in your pipes to corrode and cause a leak with a lot of use.

gailcalled's avatar

The $3.00 “Zip-It” tool works for me every time.

See Video

When you have the drain cleared, buy a little, cheap drain cover at the hardware store. It will trap the hair before it swirls down the drain. You wipe it off after each shower or bath.

The top one on this page. Here

LuckyGuy's avatar

I use a flexible claw pick-up tool to get stuff out of the drain. After I get most of it out, I then flush with Drano or liquid plumber.

Pulling that first wad out will be incredibly gross – but oddly satisfying.

Aster's avatar

Drano in the brown bottle; pour ALL of it in at night and flush in the morning. I never said it was cheap stuff.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
CWOTUS's avatar

If you have access to the bottom of the drain (as you might have in an unfinished basement, for example, to gain access to the plumbing for the ground floor), there may already be a “clean out plug” in the drain trap that you can unscrew (with tools) and then clean mechanically.

Be sure to have a bucket handy, because the trap will have dirty water in it (and there may be water backed up in the tub or between the drain plate and the trap). And you will also want silicone tape to re-seal the screwed joint when you replace it. And be sure to post a prominent sign in the tub to NOT operate the water.

gailcalled's avatar

Drano is nasty, nasty and nasty. It is terrible if you have a septic system and leaching fields and equally bad for city plumbing.

It will eventually seep into the water table…a very BAD idea.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@gailcalled I just watched the Zip-it video. (Gag!) I gotta get me one of those!

CWOTUS's avatar

Amen to that, and to everyone who suggested the Zip-It. I had seen that advertised once, and then forgot to get it. It’s going on the shopping list for next trip to Home Depot!

deni's avatar

Get a good drain cleaner. Before and after you do that pour boiling water down the hole. That should help a little bit and loosen things up. After you get the drain clear, get one of those covers that catch the hair that you can take off and empty. Life saver.

gailcalled's avatar

@deni: NO, NO, NO. NEVER put toxic chemicals into the water system. We are already ingesting toxic sludge even in the most remote areas.

Use the mechanical devices; they are cheap and safe.

whitetigress's avatar

the zip it is nuts!

gailcalled's avatar

^^For $3.00 the Zip-It is the last bargain in the US., harms no one or nothing and gives you a little aerobic exercise, to boot.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

And I’m totally buying one of those Zip-It thingies.

gailcalled's avatar

@augustlan: A clean one, straight from the package, might also serve as a tongue cleaner. It looks very much like what my dentist gives me.

CWOTUS's avatar

Hmm… I don’t think I’d use one, even “straight from the package” inside my mouth. It’s made to “industrial clean” standards, not “medical and food grade”. You won’t know where it has been (or what materials it was made from) before going into that package.

amujinx's avatar

I would suggest against Liquid Plumbr or Drain-O if you are going with a drain cleaner. Not only are they bad far the environment, and the water table, they also can destroy your pipes. You can easily find bacteria based natural drain cleaners at a Lowe’s or Home Depot that are better for the environment and don’t damage your pipes. Sorry, I don’t know the names of any of these natural drain cleaners off the top of my head.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Zip it stick is what I use for maintenance. When it gets stuck in the main pipe (not the drain) I use a small (25’) snake you attach to a hand held drill.

If you clean it regularly with the Zip (monthly) and quarterly with the snake, you’ll never have a clog again.

HungryGuy's avatar

Being a landlord, that’s a problem I know all too well :-p

I swear by Pequa. But it can usually only be purchased at plumbing distributors that sell to actual plumbers (though they will sell to the general public), though I’ve come across it at Home Depot and Lowes from time to time.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Even just a screwdriver can get out the first few clods… it’s gross, but better than toxic goop. After that, do yourself a favour and get one of those hair-catcher thingies.

Dog's avatar

Another vote for the Zip-it. It works fantastic and is easy. The only part that is bad is when it pulls out a giant hairball… so gross!

But the Zipit is AMAZING.

LuckyGuy's avatar

OK, I bought 8 Zip-its yesterday and will give them out as Christmas presents. They were 2.48 at Lowe’s – and they’re Made in USA!

gailcalled's avatar

@LuckyGuy: Now, that’s the proper holiday spirit.

Dog's avatar

I agree with @gailcalled. Awesome gift!

LuckyGuy's avatar

I decided they would make perfect stocking stuffers. What’s not to like?

Dog's avatar

@LuckyGuy Indeed! A perfect stocking stuffer!

dappled_leaves's avatar

And un-stuffer, if necessary. :P

prioritymail's avatar

I had a clogged shower drain. Not sure what was clogging it. I packed in as much baking soda as I could then slowly poured white vinegar down the drain over it until it stopped fizzling. It’s been clear ever since. I found this tip on the internet, on a page that said to try this first, and if it does not work, then try using a wire hanger straightened out I think and if that does not work there are more industrial tools you can buy at a hardware store (but they are pretty harsh). And as an absolute last resort you have Drano.

prioritymail's avatar

Also there are a couple different types of drain stoppers. I had one that was threaded underneath and you just use a pen / chopstick / screw driver, angle it in, and twist to unscrew it. Came right out. This was the type that by looking at it, you could not tell how it was put in. I had to dig around on the internet to figure it out.

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