Are you new to living with people with long hair – or newly responsible for dealing with the consequences? You might be surprised at how quickly and often the shower drain can clog up due to shedding. But there are a few plumbing supplies that you can keep on hand to minimize the chances of clogs and easily drain cleaning when clogs do occur.
A hair strainer is a small plastic device that sits down inside the shower drain to catch any hair that might try to escape that way. The concept is the same as the strainer in your kitchen sink that keeps food debris. Neither type of strainer keeps out all the bad stuff, but a hair strainer should cut down on the likelihood and frequency of clogs.
It is obviously important to actually clean out the strainer. Hair buildups in the strainer can cause water to back up in the shower pan until you remove the strainer entirely. If you remove the strainer and don't immediately clean and put it back, your drain is back at risk of a hair clog.
Plastic Hair Removal Rods
Hair that does make it down the drain to form a clog can be difficult to remove. That's because the hair usually teams up with soap scum to form a hairy, dense clog that doesn't want to move. Instead of calling in a plumber with an expensive auger, you can head to the hardware store and buy a plastic hair removal rod.
The rod is essentially a straight rigid piece of plastic that has teeth along its edges. You stick the rod down the drain until you feel the obstruction of the clog and then make rapid up-and-down motions to try and latch the teeth into the hair blob. Pull up firmly and you should pull up the clog. You can then dispose of both the clog and the rod since the rods are cheap to replace but hard to clean.
Baking Soda and Vinegar Plus a Snake
Clog still stubbornly stuck in your drain? Try to loosen it up with a baking soda and vinegar solution. Simply pour about half a cup of baking soda down the drain and follow with a generous pour of vinegar. The two form a bubbly chemical reaction that can create enough force to loosen up the clog. You can then try to remove the clog with a plastic hook or with a cheap plumbing snake purchased at the grocery store.
A snake is essentially a coiled length of flexible metal that has a spring-loaded retraction. You can carefully feed the snake down into the drain until you snag on the clog. Then you activate the snake's retraction and it zips quickly up, hopefully taking the clog along for the ride.
If none of these tricks are working to remove your hair clog, call a plumber or a company like A Absolute Plumbing & Heating for help.