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#1
Old 11-20-2015, 07:03 PM
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Does Drano work on hair?

There's a lot of hair shreds go down my bathroom sink. Beard trimmings, shaving my neck and cheekbones, clipping off the bangs after my barber ignores "I hate bangs!", that sort of thing. I clean up the larger pieces before I run water, but inescapably, some goes down the sink.

About two weeks ago, the sink started draining very slowly, and I asked the maintenance man to clear it out. I explained that it was probably hair, and he used what he claimed to be some type of sulfuric acid. About two days ago, it's clogged again.

Can I just buy some Drano or something and use it to clear the drain?
#2
Old 11-20-2015, 07:06 PM
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Yes. Follow the instructions precisely and it should work.
#3
Old 11-20-2015, 07:10 PM
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Drano will work, but these are better.

http://amazon.com/Cobra-Products.../dp/B000BO9204
#4
Old 11-20-2015, 07:22 PM
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You can use it, but you need a really good conditioner afterwards.
#5
Old 11-20-2015, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
You can use it, but you need a really good conditioner afterwards.
I was wondering about the dandruff issue.
#6
Old 11-20-2015, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank View Post
I was wondering about the dandruff issue.
It will remove your head n shoulders.
#7
Old 11-20-2015, 10:31 PM
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Returning briefly to the question of keeping the drain clean.

I jack out my drains (all 4 of them) with a regular plunger, every month or so, whether they need it or not. They always drain noticeably faster afterward, so I guess that's a helpful thing to do.
#8
Old 11-21-2015, 07:19 AM
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I've found over the years that these "pour-in" potions give worster than poor results ... I still have to open up the drain and then I've lye or acid all over the place.

If your drains were properly installed, then you should be able to remove the trap. Easy to clean that and if the clog is further down-pipe, you'll need a little drain snake, ten bucks at the hardware store. Some jobs stink and this is one of them, you'll just have to touch this stuff and ... like ... EWWWWWWWWWWW ...
#9
Old 11-21-2015, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watchwolf49 View Post
If your drains were properly installed, then you should be able to remove the trap. Easy to clean that and if the clog is further down-pipe, you'll need a little drain snake, ten bucks at the hardware store. Some jobs stink and this is one of them, you'll just have to touch this stuff and ... like ... EWWWWWWWWWWW ...
I have a ten foot pole with which I don't touch that stuff.

Yeah, on further thinking, I'm wondering if the clog is further in the pipes, maybe coming from a different apartment. I think I'll talk to maintenance again before I do any self help.
#10
Old 11-21-2015, 08:05 AM
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There are 'extra strength' pour-in products available at places like Home Depot.

When selling a house we had a plugged basement sink that threatened to kill an inspection the next morning - the buyers were known to be real picky. Plungers didn't work.

A 10PM trip to Home Depot got the gel-like material and the day was saved.
#11
Old 11-21-2015, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
You can use it, but you need a really good conditioner afterwards.
From just the title, I was actually thinking the same thing. I came into this thread with a WT....? feeling.
#12
Old 11-21-2015, 11:09 AM
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The fact that Drano not long ago started selling a version that was packaged with a small drain snake seemed to me to be a pretty explicit admission that not even the Drano people think their product actually works.
#13
Old 11-21-2015, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by california jobcase View Post
Drano will work, but these are better.

http://amazon.com/Cobra-Products.../dp/B000BO9204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
The fact that Drano not long ago started selling a version that was packaged with a small drain snake seemed to me to be a pretty explicit admission that not even the Drano people think their product actually works.
Yeah, not once in my life has a liquid clog remover worked for me. The Zip-It tool works perfectly. Two things:

1) They cost half as much at Home Depot as Amazon

2) Despite what the package says (good for one use), I use a Zip-It maybe 10 times before I need to throw it out
#14
Old 11-21-2015, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank View Post
I was wondering about the dandruff issue.
For hard-to-kill dandruff, you need a snake.
#15
Old 11-21-2015, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
For hard-to-kill dandruff, you need a snake.
Which gets rid of the dandruff, but then you have a snake infestation in your hair.

Rather stops people dead in their tracks when they see it.
#16
Old 11-21-2015, 05:38 PM
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I use Drano or Liquid Plumber about once every six months for the same situation you describe.

Those toothed rods work great if you are dealing with yards of girl's hair tangled up in the first few inches of drain pipe (a problem I also encounter in my home), but they will do nothing for general buildup of hair/beard trimmings and soap scum throughout your pipes.

Don't bother with cheap knockoffs at the dollar store--I did that and the stuff was useless.

Look at the chart on the side of the bottle to see which one you need--they have gels and other stuff that treats different kinds of problems.
#17
Old 11-21-2015, 05:49 PM
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The hair doesn't sound long enough to be the cause of the clog in your case. Have you tried using baking soda and vinegar regularly, to clear out the soap residue?
#18
Old 11-21-2015, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank View Post
Does Drano work on hair??
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
You can use it, but you need a really good conditioner afterwards.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank View Post
I was wondering about the dandruff issue.
Quote:
Originally Posted by running coach View Post
It will remove your head n shoulders.
Never, ever think the SDMB isn't a team effort.

#19
Old 11-21-2015, 11:09 PM
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I hate drain cleaners that are chemical, and advise never use them. And if the drain is blocked really do not use them.

If you put a chemical drain cleaner down a drain and it does not clear the drain then the drain has to be taken apart mechanically. And that becomes very dangerous. As a lot of drain cleaners are acidic they will also eat up any metal drain lines.
#20
Old 11-23-2015, 09:05 AM
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When I worked in rental property management, we had a clause in our leases that tenants who used drain cleaners would have to pay the plumbing bill. Without cleaners, it was $50. With cleaners $200.

Those things are ineffectual and very dangerous.

Go to any dollar store and buy a drain screen and use it every time. And pour some boiling water down the drain every week.
#21
Old 11-26-2015, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank View Post
I explained that it was probably hair, and he used what he claimed to be some type of sulfuric acid. About two days ago, it's clogged again.

Can I just buy some Drano or something and use it to clear the drain?
Actually, you can buy sulfuric acid at the hardware store. Though you have to be very careful using it.

I had one plug in a tub drain I couldn't clear with drano, tried a snake, couldn't get it to work. Got some acid, it did the trick, but I nearly had a serious snafu.

I was trying to be careful. I even put on gloves and a full face shield. I carefully moved into the tub, and as I was gently trying to handle the bottle and a funnel, I managed to spill it on myself. I was wearing jeans, but a short sleeved shirt. Trying not to panic and spill more everywhere, I gently sat the bottle down, extracted myself from the tub, and moved to the kitchen to start washing the arm with the spill. And remembered "base base base" and started applying soap liberally.

Then I had to strip off my jeans, because I got some spots on them as well. Ended up with a couple of holes in my jeans and a nasty splash wound on my arm that left a scar that's now finally fading out.

However, I did return and complete the drain job, and it worked like a charm. Also got a spot on the tub where I sat the bottle.

Anyway, I don't really recommend it, but it did work. And saved me a plumber call.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GESancMan View Post
Yeah, not once in my life has a liquid clog remover worked for me. The Zip-It tool works perfectly. Two things:

1) They cost half as much at Home Depot as Amazon

2) Despite what the package says (good for one use), I use a Zip-It maybe 10 times before I need to throw it out
I tried one of those, but the plastic teeth catch on things in the drain like drain plugs, metal grates, etc. And they don't go around bends well, as they catch on the way back. YMMV.
#22
Old 11-26-2015, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GESancMan View Post
Yeah, not once in my life has a liquid clog remover worked for me. The Zip-It tool works perfectly. Two things:

1) They cost half as much at Home Depot as Amazon

2) Despite what the package says (good for one use), I use a Zip-It maybe 10 times before I need to throw it out
Zip-its and other versions work very well on hair. Those chemicals are not good for your pipes or the environment.
#23
Old 02-12-2016, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by california jobcase View Post
Drano will work, but these are better.

http://amazon.com/Cobra-Products.../dp/B000BO9204
I tried one of those on a drain once and actually pierced the pipes! With a piece of plastic!
#24
Old 02-12-2016, 11:47 AM
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I tried to use a zip-it last week on a slow (not stopped) shower drain.

The thing was so flimsy I could not get it to go around / through the trap. It started around the corner then just buckled when I tried to push it deeper. So it was about as effective as using a long screwdriver like a swizzle-stick to grab the hair in the vertical tailpiece upstream of the trap. IOW, useless. In a fit of foolish optimism I cleaned it up & kept it so I can use it to fail again next time. What am I thinking??!?

A couple gallons of boiling water down the drain got things moving normally again. Then I applied a lye-based liquid drain cleaner for good measure. I'm not a fan of chemicals in drains, but used occasionally as maintenance well before you've got a clog might be the exception.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 02-12-2016 at 11:49 AM.
#25
Old 02-12-2016, 12:29 PM
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I've had slow/clogged drains be cleared with Drano/Liquid Plimber. Inches of standing water, pour it in, wait a while, and the water is gone. Run the water and it's draining.

Is it the best? Probably not. Can it be dangerous? If you're not careful. But to say it doesn't work is just inaccurate. It can and does on occasion.

Other times I've only fixed a drain with a plunger, snake, or calling Roto-Rooter. I lived in a place once that kept having roots grow into the pipes(!) which required my landlord to do extensive fixes. It won't always work.

Any high pH formula will dissolve hair just fine though.
#26
Old 02-12-2016, 12:53 PM
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I've had really good luck using a shop vac to literally suck the clog out. Run the water a little in the tub, put the nozzle over the drain hole and hold a rag over the overflow. With your other hand reach over and flush the toilet. Viola the hair clog gets pulled out of the pipe. You sometimes have to fish some of it out of the bottom of the drain(that's what needle nose pliers are for)
#27
Old 02-12-2016, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
Which gets rid of the dandruff, but then you have a snake infestation in your hair.
I have had it with these mother-fucking snakes in my mother-fucking hair!
#28
Old 02-12-2016, 06:59 PM
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Having lived with two college roommates (not at the same time) who had waist-length hair, you have to remove the clog before drain cleaners will work to effectively flush out the rest of it.

It's every bit as disgusting as it sounds. I didn't make them do it each time, because I had the "Bettie Page Haircut" that was popular in the early 1990s and contributed somewhat to the yucky gunk myself.

I rent now, and chemical drain cleaners are prohibited in the lease. They will come and remove a clog at no cost if you call them; however, damage caused by chemical cleaners will result in a charge, or a deduction from the damage deposit.

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 02-12-2016 at 07:01 PM.
#29
Old 02-13-2016, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nearwildheaven View Post
Having lived with two college roommates (not at the same time) who had waist-length hair, you have to remove the clog before drain cleaners will work to effectively flush out the rest of it.
As it happens, this is pretty close to what I did. It turned out that there was a circle of matted hair right at the top that was blocking most of the flow past the drain stopper. I picked most of it out with a paper clip, and that allowed some boiling water to go through at a rate that washed out the rest of it.
#30
Old 02-13-2016, 12:38 PM
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I keep saying this. Do not put chemicals down a drain. They are dangerous and can hurt people.
#31
Old 02-13-2016, 01:14 PM
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Maybe I'm nave, but I'd amend that to something more nuanced:

1) Do not put any chemical down a drain that isn't sold as a drain cleaner. No sulfuric acid, no pool chemicals, no home-brew combos.
2) Do not put chemicals down a drain that leads to a septic system.
3) Do not put chemicals down elderly plumbing that's already demonstrated leaking problems.
And most of all
4) Do not put chemicals down a drain in hopes of avoiding a plumber call. If you think you might need a plumber it's already too late for chemicals.

Which leaves this:
Assuming you pass all the above tests
5) Do not put chemicals into a stopped or nearly stopped drain. In a slowish or normally functioning drain they are acceptable though not ideal.

Comments?

Last edited by LSLGuy; 02-13-2016 at 01:18 PM.
#32
Old 02-13-2016, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snnipe 70E View Post
I keep saying this. Do not put chemicals down a drain. They are dangerous and can hurt people.
This.

Mind you, I'm hardly an authority on plumbing, but FWIW, this is my usual procedure:

Pour very hot water down the drain; if that doesn't work, use a plunger; if still no luck, use a snake. If the snake doesn't work, it's time to call a plumber.
#33
Old 02-13-2016, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snnipe 70E View Post
I keep saying this. Do not put chemicals down a drain. They are dangerous and can hurt people.
People will never listen. Plumbers don't carry draino for a reason. It doesn't fix the problem. At best it's a band aid solution at worst it a hazard the plumber will now have to deal with.
#34
Old 02-13-2016, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiderman View Post
I have had it with these mother-fucking snakes in my mother-fucking hair!
Rinse with mongooses afterward and keep your distance from PETA rallies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
Maybe I'm nave, but I'd amend that to something more nuanced: ... [snip] ... Comments?
At best, the chemicals will punch a hole through the blockage, which allows all the chemicals and water to drain away. Doesn't take long for that little hole to plug up again. A snake has an auger on the end of it so we can screw into the entire blockage, and drag the thing back out (hopefully) completely. Just make sure your mouth is closed when it does come out ...
#35
Old 02-13-2016, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by boytyperanma View Post
People will never listen.
Well, I listened, as you can tell from this thread.
#36
Old 02-13-2016, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watchwolf49 View Post
...At best, the chemicals will punch a hole through the blockage, which allows all the chemicals and water to drain away. Doesn't take long for that little hole to plug up again. A snake has an auger on the end of it so we can screw into the entire blockage, and drag the thing back out (hopefully) completely. Just make sure your mouth is closed when it does come out ...
Snakes are surely a much better tool. No debate there.

I'm more looking for feedback on using chemicals prophylactically every few months before the drain is strongly constricted. And obviously both chemicals and snakes won't solve the problem of a tree root in your lateral; I'm talking in-house P-traps and the next few of feet of pipe.
#37
Old 02-13-2016, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
[snip]... I'm more looking for feedback on using chemicals prophylactically every few months before the drain is strongly constricted. And obviously both chemicals and snakes won't solve the problem of a tree root in your lateral; I'm talking in-house P-traps and the next few of feet of pipe.
The chemicals would have to be strong, because we'd just coat the goo while most drained off. Depends on the users' hair, I'm still going to have to snake my drains once a year either way.

Tree roots in your lateral isn't the problem, it's the symptom ... the problem is your lateral needs replaced ... have shovel, will dig.
#38
Old 02-18-2016, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
Snakes are surely a much better tool. No debate there.

I'm more looking for feedback on using chemicals prophylactically every few months before the drain is strongly constricted. And obviously both chemicals and snakes won't solve the problem of a tree root in your lateral; I'm talking in-house P-traps and the next few of feet of pipe.
Baking soda and distilled white vinegar, push the soda into the drain with a chopstick, pour in the vinegar, and hold the plug over it so the bubbles all go down the pipe, not back into the sink.

Use the plunger when the drain seems to be slowing down; get a few plungers.
#39
Old 02-18-2016, 06:30 PM
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I had two plumbers and a rooter guy tell me that dishwashing soap and hot water work better than Drano.

On the subject of tough clogs, I had a sink that consistently ran slow and finally stopped responding to even snaking. My plumber cut through a cabinet wall to get at the pipes and discovered that my two bathroom sinks were connected to the drain pipe with a regular T, rather than the kind with a little curve that enables the snake to go down further (hope I'm painting a good picture here, I don't know what the terms are). Below this T junction was the most disgusting mass of hair, toothpaste caps, metal, grout (?)...

The owners before us half-assed a great deal of things that we're still discovering (they alsy hadn't glued the PVC pipes in the bathroom!). The frustrating thing was that I couldn't even put in the right kind of curved junction without tearing out my sinks because of the geometry of the thing; so my plumber had to do another jerry rig.

TL;DR persistent slow draining may be something Drano or even a snake won't help.
#40
Old 02-18-2016, 06:45 PM
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I once pulled about $12 in loose change out of a trap, boy was the lady happy to see her gold diamond ring again. Tee shirts, knickers, wash cloths ... I still have no idea how those five 2x4's got to the bottom of my septic tank.

Two three gallons of boiling hot water with dish detergent is a big help keeping grease and fat buildups from accumulating in the inlet baffle ... I'm sure that would work in the general case as well.
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