The Plumber’s Guide to Not Clogging Your Sink When Shaving

Because there are few things more infuriating than a blocked sink.

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Frequent shavers — especially those who share a bathroom with other frequent shavers — are no strangers to clogged pipes and slow-draining sinks. That daily barrage of thick whiskers and sticky lather might block even the widest of pipes given enough time, but you don’t have to keep your plumber on speed dial just because you enjoy a clean shave. Roto-Rooter’s Paul Abrams has a pipe-clearing trick that’s simple, cost-effective and environmentally friendly (unlike most drain cleaners, which use harsh chemicals and can cause old pipes to burst).

First, though, remember that preventing a clogged drain is always easier and cheaper than having to go in there yourself to blast out all that hair and muck (or worse, hire an expensive plumber to do the job for you). For that, we recommend investing in some kind of mesh sink strainer, which are incredibly cheap and generally do a good job of keeping nasty clumps of hair and syrupy products from building up in your drain. Just be sure to dump whatever the strainer catches into the trash on a regular basis, or else that kind of defeats the purpose.

Now, back to Abram’s super simple pipe-clearing trick:

Step #1: Remove the stopper (or mesh strainer) on your drain.
Step #2: Pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain.
Step #3: Pour 1 cup white vinegar down the drain.
Step #4: Wait 10 minutes (heat some water while you’re waiting).
Step #5: Carefully pour hot (but not boiling!) water down the drain.

“A monthly or even a quarterly treatment of the drain using this method should clear your pipes of soap products, shaving creams and even whiskers,” Abrams says. “Plus, it doesn’t involve caustic chemicals, and it’s easy — most people have baking soda and white vinegar laying around the house.”

If that doesn’t work — and you suspect there might be a serious clog brewing in your drain — you might have to enlist the help of what plumbers call a drain snake, which utilize long, flexible cables with special ends to bust through the source of the clog. For help using one of those, check out the video below.

So there you go: Now you can finally quit shaving over your toilet.