Does Hair Ever Break Down in a Drain?

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

Does Hair Ever Break Down in a Clogged Drain?
Does Hair Ever Break Down in a Clogged Drain?

Why Hair is Always in the Drain

Human hair is biodegradable and decomposes, but it takes about two years. So, if you have a drain or pipes clogged with hair, you’ll need a faster fix than that.

Tools, natural products, chemicals and some ideas dating back a generation or two are all options.

Using a Coat hanger to Unclog a Drain
Using a Coat hanger to Unclog a Drain

Using What You Have At Home To Remove Hair From A Drain

The best and most effective way to unclog a clog in a shower or sink is manual. Well, not literally with your hands. An auger, a snake or another tool should be the first thing you try and it might be the only step you need. A wire coat hanger formed into a different shape might be an ok substitute. A plunger might or might not do the job in a shower or sink. There are mini plungers or other, smaller plunger-like tools which you likely don’t have right on hand, but could work before the need to call a pro or resort to chemicals.

There are some home based remedies, but proven methods with ingredients you probably have in the kitchen, laundry room or garage.

Boiling water with salt and baking soda is one home recipe for hair clogs. Take six cups of boiling water, a half-cup or salt and a half-cup of baking soda. Pour all of the boiling water down the drain in one shot.

Vinegar and baking soda is another mix. Take a half-cup of baking soda and pour it down the drain. Then take a half-cup of vinegar, pour it down, let the mix sit until you hear bubbling, and dissolving. If it works well, but not entirely, repeat.

More Considerations For Drains Clogged With Hair

Organic or chemical

The difference between an organic clog remover and a chemical product is the active ingredients.

Organic or natural cleaners usually use enzymes, which break down hair and other organic material – like food, waste or mold. Organic or natural products are not as corrosive on pipes as chemicals. The downside is organic clog removing products can be less powerful and therefore slower.

Chemical products for removing clogs, for instance, bleach or Drano, as well as alkaline-using products – will remove a clog, typically quickly. Chemicals can corrode pipes, drains, tile and inner parts. They are also corrosive, even destructive and damaging, if used frequently or in too large an amount. Chemical products should not be used in toilets as they can damage porcelain. The chemicals dissolving hair or other material create heat. In a confined space, the heat creates corrosion, then quickly a crack and leak, in porcelain.

Fighting Odor

Hair clogs or really any stoppage in a drain or pipe can lead to nasty odors. Drain cleaners do varying jobs eliminating odors. The best way to kill the odor is to effectively unclog and drain the drain. A certain scent might be an added bonus, but it’s not all that telling as far as removing the clog.

Note, some drain cleaners, especially chemical-based ones, can give off dangerous fumes if used in small quarters, without good venting, or in too large a quantity. There are also odorless drain cleaners on the market for those who’d prefer or need an odorless product.

Follow Proper Instructions When Using Chemicals To Unclog A Drain

The main idea here is to follow the instructions with whatever method or product you use.

Trying a drain snake, augur or tool first to manually remove all you can is a good first step. You don’t want to be trying to do this after you’ve used chemicals.

From there, trying a natural ingredient or recipe which can do no harm is the next step to try.

If a product recommends using gloves or goggles, follow the instructions. The same goes for if a product has specific instructions on how much to use, how often to use it or how to ventilate a room.

Follow the instructions for how to flush or rinse the area well after applying a gel, liquid or powder so it’s safe afterwards.

South End Plumbing specializes in drain clogs, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in drain cameras – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.

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