The night before, I stayed up til 2AM dyeing my hair “natural black”, which for anyone whose ever dyed their hair black at home knows that really means “jet black.” And then I twisted it. (I am obsessed with the Curl Souffle by Curls. It makes my hair soft and CBW likes to sniff it.) And then I spent the next hour and half, wiping down everything, because while I’ve more or less mastered how to do damn near everything to my hair, I haven’t, in all these years, figured out how not to make a mess.
So I’m in bed by 4:30, up by 8 to write. And I walk into the bathroom to see CBW bent over the tub in his “work jeans”, you know the ones that guys only wear to shovel snow, and paint, and move stuff in. The floor mats are discarded in a pile in a corner and there are dirty wet towels all over the bathroom floor. And a reconfigured hanger. This is not how I left things the night before.
Me: What are you doing?
I should have known the answer.
Him: The tub was clogged AGAIN!!!!
He doesn’t say it. He roars it.
Now, CBW is usually pretty mild tempered. Like he takes the Jamaican stereotype of “No Problem” to the next level most of the time. But today he is pissed, and I can’t blame him. This isn't the first time the tub has been clogged.
Oh, why the tub, you ask? Because that’s where I wash my hair.
I balance on my knees and bend my head under the faucet to wash my hair. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s the only water supply in the house with enough pressure to get-up-in all my fluff. I got hair. A lot of it. And that sink and that little spray-y thing that I can’t remember the name of will get water in my hair, but it won’t get the grime or the shampoo out. If I want clean hair, it’s to the tub I go.
I’ve been doing this for years, and never thought of it as remotely abnormal until CBW moved in. He comes home one day, sees me kneeling on the tub with my tush in the air and is like, “uhh… I like it. I don’t know what you’re doing, I’m confused by it, but I like it." What he doesn’t like is that it clogs the drain.
So. Before you think I’m an animal for leaving the tub clogged, I did not know it was clogged this time. I used The Method the last time I washed my hair in the tub. It should’ve been fine… ish.
Ok. So The Method is me getting that curved needle that folks use to highlight hair when you pull it through the plastic highlighting cap. The drain has a silver cap on it, with holes in it. So every other time, I wash my hair, afterward, I stick the needle in the drain, and pull the stuck hair out, so that it won’t get clogged. For excessive clogs, I pour Dran-O down there, which a guy friend told me to stop doing all the time because eventually it erodes your pipes. When I stopped using Dran-O, the tub backed up all the time, which is how we arrive at the current problem.
Anyway, maybe I had some massive shedding last night, or maybe I’m not getting all the hair out with the hook and it’s piled up. (Ding!)
CBW points to the drain. He’s removed the drain cap so I can see down into the drain. It’s gross in there. There’s gumps of hair, not like, cute little kinks, coils and spirals. Like it looks like it could crawl out and attack me.
So because it’s my hair and it’s super gross, I offer to get it out using The Method. He looks at me like I’m simple. I take that at my cue to pee and leave him to his own devices. (Secretly, men love to fix ish… just not, perhaps at 8AM when they need to take a shower and get to work on time.)
So because my normally mellow husband is pissed about the tub being clogged—again— I figured maybe I should take some preventive measure to avoid this problem in the future.
So I did what I always do when I’m clueless, I asked. And lo and behold this is a REALLY common problem, especially for natural girls. (And look at me, thinking I was alone on this one.)
How to unclog your drain—or keep it from being clogged in the first place, AND without ruining your pipes:
1. Before and after you wash your hair pour boiling hot water down the drain. Another suggestion was to pour a mixture of backing soda and vinegar down there, let it sit overnight, then pour boiling water down.
2. Place a stocking or a knee high over the drain. Water passes but catches the hair, then just throw the hair away. (Simple enough, and yes, it works.)
3. Pour pre-mixed relaxers down the drain. FB friend Barhynn J. swears by this. “ Iit eats the hair right up” she says. “Sorry ladies with relaxed hair.
4. Another “friend” Heather S. actually enjoys taking the drain apart and physically removes the hair once a month. “I snake the drain, and put everything back. It's annoying but it makes me feel like MacGuyver.” LOL.
5.And for the ladies that can’t be bothered with all of that, there are drain strainers. If you have a drain cap, remove it and put this one in its place.
My real-world friend Nicole H. swears by this one. "It catches all my hair during and post wash...and it is easy to clean," she says.
And because aesthetics matter: Another friend added, "It's very easy to install (simply replace the drain plate). The hair basket is made of plastic while the outer rim is metal. After ordering it, I regretted getting the white version instead of the metallic one, because I thought it might look cheap. But it doesn't look cheap at all."
Happy (co-) washing!