How to remove hair from the drain without flinching 

Woman removing hair from the drain in the bathtub.

True love isn’t always about cuddles and kisses. It’s not the type of love you find in poems and songs that really counts — it’s about being the one who’s happy to deal with the icky stuff… like having to deal with hair clogging the drain. Shower, bath or basin... gross!  

But you love your partner so whether it’s short and curly or long and blonde, you’re happy to get down on one knee and unclog hair from the drain. Even if it is all theirs and even if it is swamped in all the really gunky stuff. So, get yourself ready. You’re about to find out what to do when grimy hair clogs in the drain. 

How to identify if it’s hair clogging the drain  

First up, it’s important to identify that it is, in fact, hair clogging your drain. Shower puddles draining away very slowly? Something’s definitely not right. But you want to make sure that the problem doesn’t run any deeper than gunky hair – and that, you won’t really know until you find the clog and remove it. There are a number of signs that indicate a clog, including: 

  • An eggy smell. Nice! The longer there’s hair clogging the drain, the more likely it’ll start to stink. 
  • Water draining slowly. If you notice water backing up in other areas while you’re using the shower or bath, like in the basin, that could indicate a bigger problem. 
  • Bubbling or funny noises. If the noises are really strange, clunking, or coming from far away, that could suggest a problem further down the pipe.  

If you’re really unsure it’s always best to call in the pros, but removing a hair clog in the drain is fairly straightforward – if fairly gross. 

How to remove hair clogging the bathtub drain 

It may be a longstanding gripe, or you’ve just moved in with your partner and their luscious locks have caused a blockage – a stinky blockage! But you’re ready to step up. It’s time to show the love. So here’s what you’ll need to pull the icky clog out of your drain: 

  • Wire coat hanger  
  • Screwdriver 
  • Scissors 
  • Kitchen towel 

Time to get down into the yucky darkness. Follow these steps to get rid of hair clogging the bathtub drain: 

  1. Grab your screwdriver and remove the drain cover if there is one. Put the screws somewhere safe. No point adding to your woes at this stage. 
  2. Right. Here we go. Can you see the gunky clog? Shine a light in there if you have to. Got it? Urrrrggghhh. But don’t show that on your face. You’re a hair unclogging hero, remember – time to take control. 
  3. Straighten out a section of your coat hanger, so you can get it right in there. And fashion a small hook at one end. If you don’t have a coat hanger you can use your tweezers or a pair of pliers. Or borrow your partner’s. 
  4. Gently lower the hanger into the drain, holding your nose if you need to, and give it a little twist to help tease the tangles out.  
  5. Lift out slowly, and you should see a very satisfying (albeit completely disgusting) clunk of hair. If hair gets trapped on the crossbars at the top of the drain, take your scissors and snip it away. 
  6. Repeat as necessary. 
  7. Scrape off the gunk onto some kitchen towel and throw it away. Aaaand you’re done. Phew.  


Use a sheet of Plenty kitchen towel for this gunky job. It’s really absorbent and super strong when wet – great for holding the slimy strands without breaking down and perfect for wiping around the drain. All the while keeping your hands away from the sludge. Result.

Hair-clogged drain home remedies 

Hopefully that’s all you need to clear your drain of the ickyness. Great job, by the way. But maybe that clump of hair is being a bit stubborn. Sometimes you need a little more than elbow grease to clear a hair-clogged drain. Home remedies such as these can help to clear the muck: 

  1. A plunger. The good old plunger might not tease out the tangles, but the suction can pull the hair closer to the surface, ready for you to hook it out. 
  2. Boiling water. Sometimes the intense heat of boiled water can break the gunk down, even if it’s just enough for you to now loosen the pile-up of hair. Be careful – using boiling hot water can cause sanitary porcelain to crack if poured before or after cold water, so check what material you’re working with in advance. 
  3. Bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar. This is the last step before calling in the chemicals. Fill one cup with bicarb and one cup with vinegar. Pour the bicarb in first and let it sit for five minutes. Then, pour in the vinegar. This long-time home cleaning hero solution could well be just enough to dissolve that stubborn hairy ball of sludge.

You’ve unclogged the hair from the drain, now what? 

You’ve braved the task and now you’ve got a clean drain. You’ve also got a clump of hair. You might want to throw it in the bin immediately, but why not go the extra step and compost it? 

Yes, that's right - those luscious locks that cause a stinky blockage in your bathtub drain can actually be recycled back into the earth. So, while you may cringe at the sight of hair entangled in your drain, take comfort in knowing that it has the potential to become a valuable resource in the world of composting. 

To harness the composting potential of hair, it's important to collect it properly. After removing hair from the drain, make sure to separate it from any inorganic and non-compostable materials such as plastic or metal. 

If you’d like to learn more about composting, why not check out our article explaining how the composting process works? Not quite sure what to compost, or what the difference between biodegradable and compostable is? We’ve covered that, too! 


Did you know that Plenty Original kitchen roll sheets are now compostable? That's certified compostable sheets* for compostable messes, so you can turn life’s little spills into something healthy for your garden and plants with ease!


Want to know more about Plenty’s compostable kitchen roll sheets? Check out the answers to your frequently asked questions.

If you still need help, there are plenty of specialist de-blockers and other products on the market. And if you’re in any doubt about how to unclog hair from the drain, once you’ve used all your hair-unclogging superpowers, call in a plumber! 

*Plenty kitchen towels are certified as home and industrially compostable according to NF T 50-800 and EN14995. 

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