A healthy head of human hair sheds approximately 100 strands a day. Since there are an average of 110,000 other hairs on each person’s head, those lost are never really missed. Hairs are dropped everywhere we go, and for the most part – unless you are perpetrating a crime – there is no harm in losing them. That is unless they are inadvertently being caught in an undesirable location…such as the drainpipe in a bathroom sink or shower.This review has such potential to include some of the most graphic descriptions and disgusting photos ever published this side of Rotten.com…but we’re not going to take it to that level. Instead, I’d like to ask that you watch this video, as it will give you a very good idea of what long hair looks like when it is stuck in a drain pipe; it looks like a rat caught in a tube…and water just isn’t going to drain quickly when something like that is in the way.
Allen mentioned something to me a while back about how he had a slow drain in his house, and how it was driving him nuts. He had found a product that he wanted to try, and it was called the FlexiSnake. After he sent me the link, I knew I was going to want to give it a try too. You see, Sarah and I both have longer hair, and since she likes to use my bathroom’s shower the drain in there backs up every couple of months like clockwork.
Our standard fix is to pour some “professional strength” chemical drain cleaner down the hatch, but there always comes a point where that “solution” no longer works. That’s when we call Mike, our plumber…the plumber with whom we are on a first name basis. Mike will come out and run a full-size professional “snake on a reel” down our drains; $80 later, we’ll have drains that work again.
It was hard for me to accept that a solution might be found in something as simple as a flexible stick with what looked like a patch of Velcro on the end, but I figured that it would be good to give the FlexiSnake a chance. We were sent seven samples for Allen and me to try; I took three and sent four on to Allen.
The FlexiSnake is basically a metal wire contained inside a black flexible plastic tube. Measuring 24.5″ long, it has a 1″ x 0.5″ Velcro end which is meant to grab onto anything it rubs against inside a drain pipe. Because of the metal wire inside the tubing, the FlexiSnake will hold its shape when opened or rolled, and it can handle vigorous hand movement inside the pipe.
The instructions for using the FlexiSnake are simple: remove the drain screen if present, bend the pad tip down slightly so it will follow the pipe wall, insert it in the drain, slide the snake past the drain pop-up while twisting and moving the snake, retrieve hair and reinsert again, repeating until the drain is clear. Honestly, I am glad that the directions mention that the FlexiSnake is disposable, because after seeing what it touches and what it can pull out…I would never want to keep a used one. But for those that are really frugal, the instructions also give directions on how to properly clean a used one, which…yuck!
This is the Velcro tip, which is quite bristly and will “grab” anything it comes into contact with.
This is an extended FlexiSnake, which is ready for action.
Here’s how Allen’s experience went…
I have a slow drain and thought hey, I’ll try out the FlexiSnake on it. When I took the FlexiSnake out the shipping box, my first thoughts was that it looks really nice and well made. The glossy look of the plastic coating on the bendable wire makes it look expensive. At first I thought that I would be cleaning the FlexiSnake after use. When I told Judie that, she let me know that they are disposable (that’s why they are inexpensive) and asked me if I “really” wanted to clean a FlexiSnake that just pulled out a clump of hair. I have to admit that I was surprised that they are disposable.
On my slow drain, I followed the instructions and even watched the video on the website. I sent the FlexiSnake several times into the drain… each time, nothing was catching on the Velcro pad of the FlexiSnake. Needless to say I was disappointed in not getting anything to catch onto the Velcro pad. After giving up… I tried running water down the drain again and it is draining better. I guess it was not a hair clog, maybe something else blocking the drain and was pushed along by the FlexiSnake.
Overall, I think the FlexiSnake is a good invention. Its inexpensive, disposable, safe and easy to use. While I was unable to test the FlexiSnake for clearing a hair clog, I have no doubt that it will successfully clear one.
My experience was a bit different. We had already had Mike out to snake our drains a couple months ago, so everything was running pretty smoothly. I wasn’t even sure that there would be anything to grab from the drain; I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In the shower, I had to unscrew the drain plate, and then I inserted and swirled the FlexiSnake and I pulled out a wad of funk for my troubles. Next was the sink, from which I pulled enough hair to make a Barbie’s wig. It should go without saying that I wanted to gag the entire time I was performing this operation, and I want to gag again just writing about it. But I got through it, and the result was two drains that are now even more freely flowing.
Honestly, it is an understatement to say that I was shocked and completely grossed out by the hair balls that I removed. Let’s just say that long hair only looks good when it is attached to a human’s head, and we’ll leave it at that.
If you have slow moving drains and there are one or more long-haired culprits wandering through your home, then you already know the cause. The FlexiSnake is an inexpensive and easy to use solution. My suggestion is that you buy a twelve-pack and keep them on hand. The price for twelve is much less than one plumber’s house-call, and they will take care of just about any hair clog you or your house-mates can produce.
The FlexiSnake is available directly from the manufacturer.
MSRP: $2.95 for one, $6.95 for three, $26.50 for a pack of 12.
What I Like: Inexpensive, disposable, easy to use, non-chemical
What Needs Improvement: You might want to wear goggles and a gas-mask when you see what gets pulled out of your drains