Does Bleach Dissolve Hair? (4 More Ways)

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

( As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you. )

Hair clogs in drains are a common, frustrating problem. Have you ever wondered, “Does bleach dissolve hair”? In this article, we’ll dive into the chemical reactions that make bleach capable of such a feat and explore its effectiveness.

Stick around to unclog your knowledge on this unusual solution!

Key Takeaways

  • Bleach has the ability to dissolve hair due to its alkaline properties.
  • While bleach can be used to unclog drains from hair buildup, it may not always be the most effective solution.
  • Other methods such as vinegar or commercial drain cleaning products offer safer alternatives for achieving similar results.

The Chemical Reactions Between Bleach and Hair

When bleach comes into contact with hair, it creates a chemical reaction as bleach is a base and hair is an acidic substance.

Bleach as a base and hair as an acid

Bleach works as a powerful base in various cleaning processes due to its high pH level. It carries properties that allow it to break down proteins, such as those found in human hair.

On the contrary, hair acts as an acid with chemical components like keratin and melanin. When bleach meets hair, a neutralization process occurs where the acidic elements of the hair are counteracted by bleach’s basic nature.

This reaction loosens up the protein’s structure which eventually leads to dissolution over time and exposure.

Neutralization and dissolution of hair

Bleach, which is a base, has the ability to dissolve human hair because hair is an acid. This process occurs through neutralization, where the basic properties of bleach react with the acidic components of hair.

Specifically, sodium hydroxide in bleach can break down the protein structure of hair strands, causing them to dissolve. It’s important to note that while bleach can be used for unclogging drains from hair buildup, it may not always be the most effective solution.

There are alternative methods and products available, such as vinegar or commercial drain cleaning solutions, that offer safer options for achieving similar results without potential damage or complications.

The Effectiveness of Bleach in Dissolving Hair

Bleach is a highly effective agent for dissolving hair due to the chemical reaction between its base properties and the acidic nature of hair strands.

Limitations of bleach for dissolving certain materials (food waste, grease, etc.)

Bleach, although effective at dissolving hair, has limitations when it comes to other materials. Here are some examples:

  1. Bleach cannot dissolve food waste: If your drain is clogged with leftover food particles or crumbs, pouring bleach down the drain will not help. Bleach is not designed to break down solid food waste.
  2. Bleach may not dissolve grease: Grease can accumulate in drains over time, causing blockages. While bleach can help remove some of the grease buildup, it may not be as effective as other methods specifically designed to break down oils and fats.
  3. Bleach might not work on certain substances: There are various substances that can cause clogs in drains, such as soap scum or mineral deposits. While bleach may have some effect on these substances, there are more targeted products available for removing them.
  4. Pouring bleach into a clogged drain may worsen the problem: If your drain is completely blocked by a stubborn clog, pouring bleach down the drain might not be enough to dissolve it. In fact, it could make the situation worse by creating a chemical reaction with the clog and potentially causing damage to your pipes.

Potential damage to drain pipes

Pouring bleach down your drain may seem like a quick and easy solution to unclog it, but be cautious of its potential damage to your pipes. Bleach is a strong chemical that can corrode and weaken the material of your drain pipes over time.

This deterioration could lead to leaks and costly repairs in the future. It’s important to consider safer alternatives, such as using vinegar or other methods, to prevent any long-term damage to your plumbing system.

4 Other Methods for Dissolving Hair in Drains

There are several alternative methods you can try to dissolve hair in drains, including bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, baking soda and salt, commercial drain cleaning products, and even hair removal creams.

Bicarbonate of soda and vinegar

Bicarbonate of soda and vinegar are effective alternatives to bleach for unclogging drains. Bicarbonate of soda, also known as baking soda, is a natural cleaning agent that helps break down hair and other organic substances. Vinegar, on the other hand, is acidic and can help dissolve any remaining residue. Here’s how you can use these two ingredients to unclog your drains:

  1. Start by pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain.
  2. Follow it up with a cup of vinegar.
  3. Cover the drain with a plug or cloth to prevent the mixture from bubbling out.
  4. Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, pour hot water down the drain to flush away any dissolved debris.

Baking soda and salt

Baking soda and salt can be effective in dissolving hair clogs in drains. Here’s how you can use these ingredients to unclog your drain:

  1. Mix equal parts baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Pour the mixture down the drain.
  3. Let it sit for about 15 minutes to allow the baking soda and salt to work their magic.
  4. Boil a pot of water while you wait.
  5. After 15 minutes, pour the boiling water down the drain to flush away the dissolved hair and debris.

Commercial drain cleaning products

Commercial drain cleaning products are available in the market that can help you unclog your drains effectively. These products are specifically designed to remove hair, grease, and other substances that cause clogs. Some popular commercial drain cleaning products include:

  1. Drano: This powerful liquid drain cleaner is known for its ability to dissolve hair and clear stubborn clogs.
  2. Liquid Plumr: With its fast-acting formula, Liquid Plumr can quickly break down hair and debris, restoring proper drainage.
  3. CLR Power Plumber Pressurized Drain Opener: This product uses pressurized air to blast away clogs, making it a convenient option for unclogging drains.
  4. Bio-Clean Drain Septic Bacteria: Unlike conventional drain cleaners, this eco-friendly product uses live bacteria to eat away at organic waste and keep your drains clear.

Hair removal creams

Hair removal creams offer a convenient and painless way to remove unwanted hair. These creams contain chemicals that break down the proteins in the hair, making it easier to wipe or rinse away. They can be particularly effective for dissolving shorter or finer hairs.

However, it’s important to note that hair removal creams are not specifically designed to unclog drains. While they may help with minor blockages caused by loose strands of hair, they may not be powerful enough to dissolve larger clumps of hair or other debris.

It is recommended to explore other methods and products specifically meant for unclogging drains before considering hair removal creams as a solution.

The Importance of Prevention in Hair-Clogged Drains

Preventing hair clogs in your drains is essential to maintaining a clean and functional plumbing system. Discover simple tips and practices that can save you from the headache of dealing with clogged drains.

Read on to learn more!

Tips for preventing hair buildup in shower drains

Prevent hair buildup in your shower drains with these simple tips:

  1. Install a drain cover: Use a drain cover or strainer to catch loose strands of hair before they go down the drain.
  2. Brush your hair before showering: Brushing your hair before showering helps to remove loose strands that may end up clogging your drain.
  3. Use a hair catcher: Consider using a hair catcher, such as a mesh bag or special drain insert, to catch any stray hairs during shampooing.
  4. Clean the drain regularly: Regularly clean your drains by removing any visible hair or debris that has accumulated.
  5. Limit the use of hair styling products: Hair styling products can contribute to residue buildup in drains, so try to limit their usage when possible.
  6. Deep clean your drains: Use a homemade solution of baking soda and vinegar once a month to help dissolve any potential buildup in your drains.

Regular cleaning and maintenance practices

To keep your shower drain free from hair clogs, it’s important to implement regular cleaning and maintenance practices. Here are some tips to help you prevent hair buildup in your drains:

  1. Use a drain cover: Placing a drain cover over your shower drain can help catch hair before it goes down the pipes. This simple tool is easy to install and can make a big difference in preventing clogs.
  2. Clean the drain cover regularly: Hair and soap scum can accumulate on the drain cover over time, leading to reduced water flow. Make sure to remove the cover periodically and clean off any debris.
  3. Use a drain snake: If you notice water draining slowly or hear gurgling sounds, it may be a sign of a developing clog. Using a drain snake can help break up any hair or other debris that may be causing the blockage.
  4. Flush with hot water: Once a month, pour boiling water down your drains to help dissolve any buildup that may have accumulated.
  5. Avoid pouring chemicals down the drain: While bleach is commonly used for cleaning, it’s not always the best solution for unclogging drains. Chemicals can cause damage to your pipes and harm the environment. Instead, consider using natural alternatives like baking soda and vinegar for maintaining clean drains.

Conclusion | Does Bleach Dissolve Hair?

Bleach has the ability to dissolve hair due to its alkaline properties. However, it may not be the most effective solution for unclogging drains and can potentially worsen the clog or damage drain pipes.

It’s important to consider alternative methods and products before using bleach as a last resort.


1. What is the effect of bleach on hair in the drain?

Bleach doesn’t dissolve hair but it can assist in loosening a clog, potentially making other drain unclogging methods more effective.

2. Is bleach safe to use for shower drain maintenance?

Yes, Clorox bleach can be used as part of your shower drain maintenance to help break down grease accumulation and food waste disposal.

3. Can vinegar or baking soda and bleach mixture unclog my drains?

While vinegar alone may not sufficiently clear a hair clog, combining vinegar with baking soda forms an acidic substance that can prove quite useful in dealing with minor blockages.

4. Does hair bleach damage our hair follicles?

Hair bleaching procedures involve strong basic substances that could negatively impact the health of your hair follicles leading to slowed growth and increased susceptibility to damage from other hair products or treatments.

5. How does basic chemistry relate to the interaction between hair and bleach?

Understanding basic high school chemistry helps us make sense how different substances like acidic or basic solutions interact with organic matter like our hair, whether for personal care needs or household tasks such as neutralizing a stubborn drain clog.

Does Bleach Dissolve Hair? (4 More Ways)
No comments to show.
Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

Get your FREE copy.

Sign Up & Subscribe

* indicates required

Intuit Mailchimp