How to Clean Bathtub Drain Clogged With Hair

A bathtub that doesn’t drain properly and completely is icky. Can you dare use the tub again with visible signs of dirt and grime? But unless the drain works properly, you won’t be able to thoroughly clean the bathtub.

What can you do with a bathtub drain full of hair?

You can always use chemical cleaners to do the dirty job for you, but they may not be always effective, and may even lead to more problems. Some chemicals may leave residue in the drain that can make matters worse. There are several tools you can use to remove hair from the drain manually.


Zip-it is a flexible tool used to clean clogged drain pipes. It has barbs or spikes along its length that snag hair and pull it to out. It is inexpensive and is very easy to use.

1. See if the tool will fit inside the drain cover. Otherwise, unscrew it.
2. Push it all the way down the drain or until only the top tab is visible.
3. Slowly pull it out to keep the hair or other blockage from dislodging.
4. Test if the bathtub drain will flow smoothly and properly.
5. Repeat when necessary or until the bathtub works as it should.

Drain Snake

The drain snake is a low-tech tool that can unclog a bathtub drain. It is especially effective in situations where you need to go further down the pipeline and into some curves. Because of its flexibility and length, it can reach hard-to-reach areas.

1. Feed the snake through the drain. At about three feet, start turning it as you push further downward or until you encounter a clog.
2. Once it breaks through the trap, move the snake back and forth through the drain pipe, turning it as you do.
3. Run water while moving the snake in the drain to flush out clog that has come loose.
4. Repeat the process until the train has been cleared out, and water moves down smoothly.

Wet and Dry Vacuum

A wet and dry vacuum is an effective tool for unclogging drains. But it must be used properly to avoid making a mess.

1. If there is standing water, set the vacuum to suck out liquids first. Make sure to cover the vent to prevent liquids spilling all over the place.
2. Set the equipment to vacuum dry.
3. Place the nozzle over the drain and create the tightest seal possible. Wrap the ends with an old rag or use an old plunger head.
4. Turn the vacuum up to its highest setting and power it up.

This can be powerful enough to suck the clog out of the pipe and into the vacuum bag. Using a wet and dry vacuum may not always be effective, but it is worth a try.

Use a Plunger

This tool is probably the most popular among the equipment used in unclogging a drain. When dealing with a bathtub drain, however, it is best to use a plunger with a flat rubber end instead of the one with a rubber bell-shaped end.

1. Fill the bathtub with enough water to cover the bottom of the plunger.
2. Use a rag to plug the overflow outlet. If the overflow plate is attached to the drain stopper, make sure to remove it before you use the plunge on the drain. Take care in removing the overflow plate and drain mechanism.
3. Plunge up and down for five times, or until you think the clog is removed and the pipe is opened.
4. Test if the water drains quickly and property.
5. Rinse and repeat when necessary.

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

The baking soda-vinegar combo is a popular, inexpensive and natural choice for unclogging drain. Some may say it is not as effective against hair, but there are tricks to make it work.

1. Pour one-third of a cup of baking soda down the clogged drain.
2. Follow it up with an equal amount of vinegar.
3. When the mixture starts to fizzle, plug the drain with a stopper.
4. Wait for 45 minutes to an hour, and then fill the bathtub with water.
5. Remove the drain plug.

What makes this more effective than pouring hot water over the mixture, which is the usual practice, is the pressure of 40 to 60 gallons of water. When all that water goes down the drain, it will dislodge whatever blockage that the baking soda and vinegar combo has loosened. No amount of hair can probably stay inside the drain with all that water pressure.

Prevention Is Best

Once the bathtub drain is clear and is working properly once again, prevent a clog from happening again. Using baking soda or a plunger may not be hard work by your definition, but it is definitely not fun. Who knows what gross stuff is lurking in the drain? So prevention is still better than fixing the problem.

• Never drop pieces of soap down the bathtub drain. They don’t always dissolve and could build up over time.
• Remove hair after every bathtub use to keep it from accumulating and clogging the drain.
• Use a strainer to keep hair from going through the drain. Make it a point to clear out whatever blockage it caught every month.
• Pour boiling water down the drain once a month to melt away body oil and wash out other greasy stuff. This will prevent build up.
• Use the baking soda and vinegar mixture and procedure every three months. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it away with plenty of hot water. Not 40 to 60 gallons of water, but only hot water.

By following these tips, your drain will stay clear and unclogged of hair and other stuff that will keep it from working properly. A bathtub will serve you for a long with proper care and regular maintenance. So make sure to keep it clean and clog-free.

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