It’s happened to all of us at one time or another – clogged up drains due to hair. It is actually a combination of renegade hair and soap scum that slowly bonds and accumulates over time. This will happen in two places in the bathroom; most often it will happen in the sink and less frequently it will occur in the bathtub drain. So let’s fix the sink problem first.
Hair in the Sink Drain
If your sink is a pedestal type or is an integral part of the vanity cabinet top, the first thing to try is a plunger. Use a half cup plunger. You should be able to find one at your hardware store or plumbing supply store.
Do not use a plunger on the type of sink that is mounted underneath the vanity cabinet top. Pushing down on it could break it away from the vanity and then the hair clog will be the least of your concerns.
Before you use the plunger make these preparations. First pull your stopper lever up to the closed position. Next unscrew the nut on the back of the down pipe (under the sink). This is what keeps your pivot rod in position.
You should now be able to pull your pivot rod out from your drainpipe and this will release your stopper. Be sure to seal the nut on the down pipe again before plunging. Also, stuff a moistened rag into the sink’s overflow opening to get a good seal. Clean any local debris you can get to at the drain opening.
Now turn on the water until the sink is about halfway full and then turn the water off. Start plunging with slow, rhythmic strokes. You will know if you are being too aggressive if your face gets splashed.
If this did not solve your problem, you will have to resort to more surgery. Go under your sink and disconnect all the pipes. You should have at a minimum the down pipe, a p-trap, and possibly a piece of pipe that reaches to the stub coming out of the wall. Use a pair of Channel Lock pliers to unscrew the assembly.
Clean everything thoroughly with a rag and brush and reassemble, using Teflon™ tape on all threaded surfaces. Test it out by running the water for a few minutes while checking for leaks. Tighten any connections as needed and you’re done!
Cleaning the Tub Drain
Clearing a hair clog from a tub drain is very similar to the clearing one from a sink, as described above. The only real difference is the hardware set up. The first thing to try, again, is plunging. Again, you need to plug up the overflow with a wet rag so that the plunger will have the maximum effect.
Now, remove the drain stopper. If your model is of the built-in type, this usually involves turning it counter-clockwise and pulling straight up. If removal is different, consult with the manufacturer or your local hardware store.
With these steps done, turn on the water until you have approximately two inches of standing water. Now start working your plunger until the water begins going down the drain. Repeat until the water drains in a normal manner and reassemble the stopper.
A New Alternative
Recently, a new product has come on the market, very simple in design but very effective. It is called the Zipp-It and is basically just a flexible plastic strip with back-pointing teeth. All you have to do is insert it down the drain and pull it out, snagging all the hair clogs.
It is a real time-saver and valuable maintenance tool. One of the main benefits is that if you use it periodically, you will stop problems before they start!
photo by Don Stucke -CreativeCommons Attribution