How To Unclog Bathtub Drain Full Of Hair 

Last Updated On November 21, 2022
How To Unclog Bathtub Drain Full Of Hair

Is your bathtub drain clogged with hair? A clogged bathtub drain is frustrating. 

No one wants to finish their shower standing in water, and hair buildup can damage your pipes due to high-pressure levels in your system.

Prevent unnecessary future problems by unclogging the bathtub drain full of hair the right way. 

While the tub drain may seem intimidating compared to your unclogging bathroom sink, you can tackle the issue yourself instead of calling for professional drain cleaning services. Let’s discuss how.

In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover:

  • What you need to know about a bathtub drain full of hair
  • How to unclog a bathtub drain full of hair
  • Best solutions for unclogging drain full of hair 

What's In This Guide?

      What You Need To Know About How To Unclog a Bathtub Drain Full of Hair

      A bathtub drain clog is a common plumbing problem and typically occurs as a result of hair, an organic material. Of course, other materials contribute to the clog as well. 

      For example, soap buildup and residue from a clay mask can coat the pipes, causing them to get sticky. This material inside the pipes makes the hair stick to the pipes and accumulate into a larger and larger clog. 

      Luckily, most bathtub drain clogs caused by hair occur locally (near the top of the clogged drain) instead of deep in your main sewer line

      Tub Drain Size and Shower Drain Size

      While bathtubs and showers appear the same, slight differences exist between the two bathroom drain options, including the drain size. (This of course if they are separated in your bathroom and not sharing the same drain.)

      Your bathtub drain will typically be 1 ½”  in diameter, while a shower drain will typically be 2” in diameter. Shower clogs occur slightly less often since the drain is larger. 

      Of course, prevention goes a long way in keeping hair out of the tub drain. If you decide to purchase a drain strainer, you will need to ensure you get the right size for the drain. We review all types of mesh strainers, here.

      Damage Caused by a Bathtub Drain Clog

      When a clog develops, water struggles to flow out of the drain like normal. As water tries to force its way through the clog, it requires more force. Your drain pipe can only withstand a certain amount of force, especially if it is PVC. When the force reaches excessive levels, it can damage the pipe material. This is accelerated with old pipe materials.

      Furthermore, a clogged bathtub drain may possibly cause your bathtub to drain uncomfortably slow to the point where standing water exists in the tub and in the pipes. When pipes come into contact with constant water, they may corrode faster (only metal pipes). 

      The standing water may leave unattractive hard water or dirt stains in your tub. Furthermore, the standing water creates ideal conditions for drain flies and mold. Nobody wants that!

      did you know How To Unclog Bathtub Drain Full Of Hair

      How to Unclog A Bathtub Drain Full of Hair

      Sometimes, you can get away with running hot water to break up a simple hair clog. However, when that doesn’t work, try these methods to unclog a bathtub drain full of hair yourself. 

      Method 1: Natural Drain Cleaner

      A natural drain cleaner works by using enzymes and bacteria to eat organic material including hair. The natural ingredients are safe for your plumbing system, and you can use them regularly. 

      Most enzymatic drain cleaners won’t negatively impact the ecosystem of your septic tank, either (if applicable). They may actually enhance it!

      Method 2: Chemical Drain Cleaner

      When the aforementioned techniques don’t work, you need to enlist the power of a chemical drain cleaner. 

      Chemical drain cleaners utilize either acidic chemicals (usually sulfuric acid) or strong bases, such as:

      • Lye
      • Potassium hydroxide
      • KOH 

      Be careful not to mix different chemical solutions together.

      Use strong chemical drain cleaners such as Liquid Fire drain cleaner sparingly and flush out your pipes thoroughly after every use. Follow the instructions carefully, as the active ingredients may promote corrosion or additional damage to your pipes. 

      Don’t let them sit in your bathtub drain beyond the recommended limits. Learn more about what happens if you leave Liquid Plumbr in too long? 

      Method 3: Drain Snake

      This is a sure-fire method for dealing with hair clogs in bathtub drains. A snake makes its way into your drain to break up a clog at the source. There are three different options you can attempt here. Let’s begin with the easiest one.

      Try using a smaller hair clog remover tool you can rotate by hand. Since floor drains tend to include twists and turns, flexibility is extremely important in this situation. If the hair clog is nearby the opening of the drain, this should work just fine.

      If you find that tool doesn’t have enough reach, use a traditional snake. The best plumbing snake will be made for use with your bathtub drain. A manual one like this should work just fine as a second attempt to unclog hair. It will resolve 80% of the clogs you encounter.

      Need more power or reach? No problem. Some powered drain augers reach up to 100 feet into your drain and rotate at high speeds of 55 rotations per minute (RPM)+. These large, professional-grade augers often aren’t necessary for a local bathtub drain hair clog. However, if the hair has accumulated further down they come in handy for sewer line clogs.

      For further details on how to unclog your bathtub drain full of hair with a snake, watch the following video:

      Our Best Solutions for Unclogging Drain Full of Hair

      We’ve collected the best products to deal with your hair clog all in once place for you. 

      Here are our top picks for unclogging a bathtub drain full of hair:

      1. FlexiSnake Drain Weasel Sink Snake Cleaner (Best Hair Clog)
      2. Green Gobbler Liquid Drain Hair Clog Remover (Best Eco Friendly)
      3. Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength Full Clog Destroyer Plus PipeGuard (Best Chemical)
      4. Flexible Grabber Claw Pick Up Reacher Tool With 4 Claws Drain Clog Remover (Most Versatile)
      5. LEKEYE Drain Hair Catcher/Bathtub Drain Cover/Drain Protector for Pop-Up & Regular Drains (Best Prevention) 

      More on Preventing a Bathtub Drain Full of Hair

      Ok, now let’s plan ahead and save your future self some trouble. 

      Most people shave in the shower and experience some hair loss while washing their hair. You can take preventative measures by using a drain strainer. 

      A drain strainer collects hair before it falls down your drain in the first place, similar to a strainer you may use in your kitchen sink to catch food waste. 

      A strainer usually takes the form of a metal or plastic bucket designed to fit into a bathtub drain or shower drain. It contains small holes to allow water through. However, the holes prevent larger items, including hair, from escaping down the drain.    

      FAQS On Unclogging Bathtub Full of Hair

      How do you unclog a bathtub drain full of hair with a hanger?

      Some people mistakenly reach for the hanger to unclog the bathtub drain. However, your bathtub drain includes twists and turns. The hanger may scratch your pipes and even cause damage. Instead, find an inexpensive hair clog removal tool. 

      What dissolves human hair in drains?

      Luckily, most cleaning products dissolve human hair, as it’s not particularly strong, and it’s an organic material. You can use both enzymatic drain cleaners and chemical drain cleaners. Do not use bleach. 

      How to unclog bathtub drain full of hair without vinegar

      Many of us immediately reach for vinegar when we experience a drain clog. When you don’t have vinegar, you can try boiling water. You can also use a drain snake (don’t use a hanger). 

      Can anything dissolve hair in a drain?

      Yes! While it may seem tough at first, you can use the following items to dissolve hair in your drain:

      • Vinegar and baking soda
      • Acid
      • Base chemicals
      • Enzymes

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      About Plumbing Navigator

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      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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