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Best Drain Cleaner for Hair Clogs

Wednesday 5th September 2018

Best Drain Cleaner for Hair Clogs

Drains and pipes at home or in business are most commonly blocked by either grease or hair. So let’s concentrate on hair as that really is the question “What is the best drain cleaner for unclogging hair”. Whilst to many people it may not seem too much of a big deal, a blocked or clogged drain is an emergency for any business or household. Leave it unchecked at your peril, before you know it you will have flooding in your washroom, bathroom, toilet, kitchen or wherever the clogged drain is. 

So we need to tackle our clogged drain quickly! To stop it becoming an emergency, fortunately, there is plenty of ways to deal with a blocked drain of hair. We can use off the shelf chemicals, homemade concoctions, plungers, boiling water, snakes, pressure hoses, enzymes and more. 

Once you have chosen to take the task in hand of unblocking your drain or pipe by yourself you need to decide which of the following is best for you. So below is my guide to what I think is the best method for unclogging drains of hair without calling in a plumber.  

Drain Unblocker Liquid:

There are basically three basics of chemicals used in unclogging drains, not including homemade drain cleaners. The two main types of Chemical Drain openers are acidic drainer openers and alkaline drainer openers. 

Starting with Acid chemical drain openers these usually contain Sulphuric Acid and whilst they are very effective at unblocking drains and pipes of grease, paper and organic blockages. Acidic chemical drain opener’s work by sinking to the blockage as the acid is twice the weight of water. When it gets to the blockage it has a chemical reaction acting violently with water, which means it will burn its way through the organic matter causing the blockage to break up. The negative is it can release gasses which can be hazardous to human health. Before using this type of liquid drain opener is important to know what has been poured down the drain beforehand. I would normally recommend it to be used by professionals even though you can buy this type of product over the counter. As without the proper protective clothing, you are at risk from gasses, skin burns, visual loss and respiratory problems to name a few.  

Alkaline-based drain openers usually contain sodium or potassium hydroxide used the right way they are the most effective and easiest chemical drain cleaner for unclogging drains. Liquid-based alkaline drain openers will dissolve hair or grease rapidly but will not leave the unpleasant burning smells associated with acid drain cleaners. They also continue work on dissolving the hair long after they have been used because the alkali is lighter than water and adheres to the hair it is more effective at dissolving the hair than acid or solvent based drain openers. Alkaline drain openers react less violently than acid drain cleaners, although they take a bit longer usually 30 minutes to work they are far safer. 

Homemade Drain Cleaners: 

Some DIY or Supermarket bought drain cleaners can contain dangerous chemicals. This leaves the option of trying to make your own homemade version as some people would say a natural drain cleaner. 

Natural drain cleaner consists of baking soda and vinegar and works by pouring the baking soda directly into the drain, leave it to rest for a while 5-10 minutes. Then pour in a solution of vinegar and hot water (not boiling). This causes a chemical reaction but please be careful whilst it is not as aggressive as acid drain openers it can still burn you. This homemade drain opener will work on small grease blockages but is infective on organic or hair blockages. 

Pressure Hose: 

This really is effective for grease and organic matter but really is not the ideal choice for those of you who haven’t done it before. Yes, the pressure will remove the blockage but it can also remove your eye if not fed into the pipe before starting. It can also lead to a serious mess if the blockage is not unclogged at the first attempt. 

Snake Unblocking

You’ve tried unblocking the drain with a plunger and it doesn’t work? Next up is a drain snake. These are really effective when trying to unblock blockages deep in the pipe or drain.  To use a drain snake you place the rear end of the drain snake into the drain hole then start twisting the handle till you feel the blockage. Once you feel the blockage, turn the drain snake around to free the blockage. They can be quite difficult and dangerous if you don’t know how to use them correctly as they often kick back without warning. 

Plunger Unblocking 

A must-have item for all households and businesses for unblocking drains. Plungers were one of the first tools to be made for unblocking drains and have proved really effective with shallow blockages of organic matter. But are ineffective at trying to remove hair as you cannot create enough suction to unravel the hair from the plughole. 

Boiling Water 

This is really only effective for fresh grease blockages anything it is of no use and often makes the problem worse.

Enzyme Unblockers 

Enzymes are excellent at unblocking pipes and drains of Grease, Organic Matter and even hair. The problem is you need a different Enzyme for each task depending on what the actual blockage is. The other concern is the time factor they are excellent but have to be applied and left overnight. Not ideal if you are a business or it is the family bathroom. 

Wet & Dry Vacuums

These are fine for shallow loose debris like leaves but no good for hair or grease. Also no good if the blockage is very deep in the pipes. 

All the above methods can be used in unclogging drains, sinks, shower drains, and toilet drains. But I would always advise people to practice preventative maintenance in the first place. Instead of trying to figure out after the event how to unclog/unblock your drain. Save time and money by following these simple tips and you may avoid getting your drain blocked in the first place. 
  • Don’t place additional rubbish like chewing gum, tampons, toys, grease, food waste, kitchen paper, newspaper into kitchen waste and toilet bowls. 
  • Always use a sink strainer before putting dirty dishes or delph into the sink. 
  • Clean out drain stoppers regularly (At least once a month) this stops build up that causes blockages, especially in showers. 
  • Once a month use a drain unblocker whether its enzymes, acid drain cleaner or alkaline cleaner. When used regularly they stop the build of organic matter that causes the blockages. You can also give them plenty of time to work by applying the last thing at night knowing there is no rush to unclog your drain or sink. 

All homes and businesses at some point will suffer blocked or clogged pipes and drains. So if you don’t already do preventative maintenance why not start now? Before giving yourself the additional expense of calling out a plumber or a specialist drain unblocking service, never a cheap option. 

So start shopping now for decent drain cleaners before it’s too late. 

I hope the above article is of some use and helps you to understand a bit more about the importance of drain cleaning and maintenance. Avoiding blockages in the first place before it’s too late. 

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