How to Free a Clogged Bathtub Drain Filled with Hair (7 Great DIY Tips)

How to Free a Clogged Bathtub Drain Filled with Hair

Here are some DIY tips that will help you dissolve hair in the drain and have you unclogging your bathtub drainpipe in no time.

Let’s face it. There is nothing worse than getting ready for a nice hot shower and finding your bathtub drain clogged up. There you’ll be, ready to get clean and standing in dirty soapy water. Or imagine just having finished a nice hot bath, and you can’t empty the tub…ugh!

Finding yourself in this situation will not only be unpleasant but time-consuming, and maybe you don’t have the time. Bathtub drains are, along with sink drains, are the most clogged up drains in any home.

Imagine all the things we pour down them. Soap, all kinds of hair, shampoos, cream rinses or balsam for your hair, shower gels all go down that single little drain.

So, if you have had, are having, or just want to prevent having this problem, read on for our handy tips for how to unclog a bathtub drain full of hair.

1. Clean out the Drain

The most obvious and immediate remedy for a clogged bathtub drain is to remove the hair from the bathtub drain. Open it, take out the drain strainer, and clean it out by hand. If it is screwed on, use a screwdriver to unscrew it.

Otherwise, just try open the drain stopper and pull out the strainer or stopper with all that accumulated hair underneath. Now run some water or see if the standing water in your tub runs out.

2. Drain Claw or a Snake to the Rescue: How to Get hair Out of a Drain!

A drain claw or a snake is a great solution if you have clogged up the pipe under the drain, and many plumbers use one when doing house calls.

This is a wire with hooks that will catch onto accumulated substances like hair stuck in your drainpipe and pull them out.

You may have to insert it in your pipe several times to completely free it, but it’s worth the effort and is a method you can use on the spot.

See also: Reglazing a Bathtub 

3. DIY Drain Claw or Snake

If you don’t own this tool for removing hair from drains, that’s okay, because you can readily improvise one by using a wire clothes hanger and attempt to pull up the clump of hair clogging the drain.

4. Chemical Drain Cleaners

Mr. Muscle and Friends

If you don’t have the time as you’re leaving your tub, and it won’t be used immediately by someone else, you can buy or keep on hand a chemical drain cleaner just for these occasions. I actually always keep a bottle in my cupboard just in case.

Your drain cleaner should be formulated for dissolving clumps of hair. Make sure you wear protective gloves because these products are usually corrosive.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for usage. After you have poured some down your drain, wait a while. Afterward, run some hot water to see if the product has dissolved the hair removing the clog. 

These products should not be overused because since they tend to be corrosive, they can damage pipes and drainage.


This is another chemical-based option. The fortunate thing is that while most people will not have a chemical drain cleaner on hand, they probably will have a bottle of bleach.

Another important consideration is that bleach will not cause damage to your drainpipe. Having acidic properties, it can however help to dissolve hair clogging.

Run a cup of bleach down the drainpipe and wait for a half-hour. If the water is still not flowing down the drain, add another cup of bleach and wait for another full half-hour before attempting to run more water. 

See also: Worst hot tub brands to avoid

Some Alternative Natural Products for Unclogging Your Drain

5. Baking Soda Mixed with Vinegar. 

In most home cupboards you will always find a bottle of vinegar and a package of baking soda. The combination of vinegar and baking soda is used for many cleaning procedures in the home.

Baking Soda Mixed with Vinegar to unclog drain

A natural remedy that will avoid exposure to chemicals, it can resolve clogging issues safely especially if you have small children or pets at home that like to get into things they otherwise shouldn’t.

Boil a kettle of water and run it into your clogged drain. Now pour one-half cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar into your drain. Wait twenty minutes to a half-hour before attempting to run water to verify if your clog has been dissolved or flushed down into your drainage system.

If it does not work the first time, you can repeat it without doing any damage to your pipes or drain.

6. Salt and Baking Soda. 

Another natural method uses salt with baking soda.  If vinegar is missing from your cupboard, you do most probably have salt at home. Combine a half cup of salt with one cup of baking soda.

Now pour this blend into the clogged drain, letting it stand for an entire night. If you hear fizzing from your drain, your homemade drain cleaner is working to dissolve those wads of hair clogging your drainpipe.

In the morning, pour two cups of boiling water into the clogged drain and verify if the drain has been sufficiently unclogged.

See also: How to dissolve hair in shower drain

7. A Good Old Plunger

Believe it or not, I actually used mine today on my bathroom sink drain and it saved the day. Simply fill up your bathtub with several inches of water that is very hot. Position your plunger directly over the bathtub drain and start pumping.

Position your plunger directly over the bathtub drain and start pumping

You may actually see the plunger pull up the hair clog at which point you can remove it. Keep plunging until any water runs freely down your drain.

Prevention Is the Always the Best Medicine

You can do one of several things to enable you to prevent hair clumps from clogging that drain. hair will naturally fall out during the course of a day. Brush our hair before using the tub, or if you don’t plan on washing it, use a shower cap to prevent any hair loss from finishing in the drain. 

Also inserting a handy drain protector can save you a lot of grief. This gizmo is a type of metal basket that fits into standard-sized drains specifically for catching hair. At the end of every bath or shower, you remove it and dump any hair into the wastebasket.

The Hacks That Save You Money

These are all tried and true methods for freeing up your bathtub drain from an unsightly hair clog. But the best part is they will cost you next to nothing and especially if you consider how much you will have to pay your trusty plumber to make a house call. 

Of course, if none of these methods work, you definitely have a serious problem, and it may not be limited to a hair clog. At this point, you have no choice but to open your wallet and call your local plumber.

However, a drain protector in your future will save you from ever having to consider how to remove hair from a bathtub drain again.

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