Don’t ‘strand’ for clogged drains

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

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On average, humans shed about 100 strands of hair per day. I have always been a heavy shedder, and with long hair the shedding is even more pronounced. I also have a husband who loves to shave while in the shower. I have learned that hair down the drain often leads to clogs. Luckily,

important lessons: Pouring a bottle of harsh chemicals down the drain is often not the best solution. In fact, unclogging the drain is best done with no chemicals at all.

Remove the stopper. Fir st, assess the situation. You’ll need to remove whatever stopper you have in place. This may involve loosening screws with a screwdriver or twisting a cap to un-screw. Refer to manufacturer instructions if you are unsure.

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Put your hangers to use. Using needle-nose pliers, bend a wire hanger so that you end up with a mostly straight, stiff wire with a small hook at the end. Push the wire through after removing the stopper. It should catch on the clog when you pull it back up. Repeat as necessary.

Zip it. Actually, use the Zip-It hair snare. You can find this at home improvement stores for less than $5. A landlord of our s gave me one years ago, after I asked him to come over and unclog our bath drain one too many times. It is a 20-inch-long plastic piece with teeth on the sides. You snare it down your sink, shower, or tub drains. When you pull it back up, it catches hair and anything else that might be clogging your dr ain. Clear the Zip-It, and repeat until the drain is free.

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Keep it clear. I have wasted a lot of time and money searching for the best drain catches. I have made the mistake of spending nearly $15 on one that was specifically made to stop hair — more than once. These elevated stoppers went over the drain and stood up a couple of inches. Unfortunately, the seal on them was so tight that even water couldn’t get through. To drain the water, I had to move the stopper and risk hair going down the drain anyway. Instead, I tried a drain catcher I saw at the drugstore for less than $2. It worked better than anything I have tried before. It is a simple flat metal piece with holes on top and two prongs on the bottom to hold it in place.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.