How to Unclog a Shower Drain. Tips from the Pros.

How-To Guides, Maintenance & Repairs

A slow draining or completely clogged shower drain can be quite a pain. The feeling of water pooling around your feet is not only a discomfort but it can also make your shower dirtier and hard to clean. So, how do you unclog a shower drain? Let’s find out…

What Causes a Shower Drain Clog?

As with any other drain and plumbing, the accumulation of hair, soap scum, dirt, minerals in the water and other debris, can get compacted into the drain pipes to the point where water has a hard time flowing through the plumbing pipes. The clogged pipes can then cause the slow flowing water to overflow and accumulate back up the drain and on the shower floor. This is how to prevent clogs in the future… 

How to Prevent Shower Drain Clogs

The accumulation of hair, soap scum, dirt, minerals in the water and other debris can get compacted into the drain pipes to the point where water has a hard time flowing through the plumbing.

The clogged pipes can then cause the slow flowing water to overflow and accumulate back up the drain and on the shower floor.

But there are a few things you can do to prevent clogs in the future…

1. Use a Shower Drain Cover
The first step to stopping clogs is to use a good shower drain cover. These can help catch the problem before it goes down the drain, by stopping the accumulation of any hair, dirt and debris.

2. Routine Cleanings

Big blockages down the drain line can be stopped by removing smaller blockages before they get a chance to become large.

Adding a step to your shower cleaning routine like pouring baking soda & vinegar or pouring boiling water (see tips 1 and 2 below) down the drain, can help remove these small blockages before they become too large.

How to Unclog a Shower Drain

There are a number of possible ways to unclog your shower drain.

And the option you may select depends on how serious the blockage is and what materials and tools you have available.

Here are a few ways to unclog your shower drain:

1. How to Unclog a Shower Drain Naturally

There are two options:

Baking Soda and Vinegar Mixture

Unlike harsh chemicals, using a simple and natural mixture of Vinegar and Baking Soda can help loosen and get rid small blockages down your shower drain.

1. Ensure there is no standing or running water. The drain must be dry.

2. Mix 1/3 cup of Baking Soda and 1/3 cup of White Vinegar in a measuring cup or heat resistant container.

3. As soon as you mix the two materials and they start to react, pour the mixture down the drain.

4. Wait for an hour or two for the mixture to dissolve any soap scum or grime.

5. Turn on the hot water and let it run for a few minutes. This will help flush down whatever is left of the solution and the blockage.

6. Repeat as needed.

Use Boiling Water

While boiling water may help melt and dissolve some grime and soap scum down your drain, it may not help remove bigger clogs made up of hair and debris.

However, this is a good trick to add to your shower cleaning routine because it helps remove the start of any blockages down your shower drain.

Also, don’t use this trick if you have PVC pipes as the boiling water may cause the pipe joints to become loose.

1. Ensure there is no standing or running water. The drain must be dry.

2. Bring an easy-to-carry pot or tea-pot to a boiling point.

3. Carefully pour the boiling water down the drain slowly, stopping at intervals to allow the water to pass through the clog and dissolve any soap scum and grime.

4. Once done, turn on the hot water and let it run for a couple minutes. Any dislodged clogs will then be flushed down the drain.

2. How to Unclog a Shower Drain with a Plunger

While a plunger may prove effective in removing small clogs, it may not be as effective in removing big blockages since it may not have enough suction to pull them out or dislodge them.

1. Remove the shower drain cover.

2. Position the plunger in a way that it covers the entirety of the drain.

If the plunger is loose and it does not have a tight hold, try using petroleum jelly or Vaseline around the rim of the plunger. This will help create a better seal and suction.

3. Plunge up and down strongly enough to remove or dislodge any hair and debris clogs in the pipe line.

4. Remove any visible clogs with your fingers or a hook.

5. Turn on the hot water and let it run for a couple minutes. Any dislodged clogs will then be flushed down the drain.

3. How to Unclog a Shower Drain with a Coat Hanger or Hook

Shower drain clogs that may be somewhat close to the surface of the drain but may not be able to be reached with your fingers may be best removed with a hook or Coat Hanger.

1. Remove the shower drain cover (if possible).

2. Create a small enough hook that can fit down the drain pipe with a wire coat hanger or any other type of strong wire.

3. Being careful not to drop the hook down the pipe, insert the hook down the drain and attempt to search for and “fish” out any hair or other blockages.

4. How to Unclog a Shower Drain with a Plumber’s Snake

When a homemade hook is unable to catch the clog, it could mean that the blockage is further down the drain line.

For that, a Plumber’s Snake or Drain Auger can help catch and remove any unwanted clogs further down the shower drain.

1. Insert the Auger’s line down the drain, slowly, feeling for any resistance. Resistance means the Auger has hit a clog.

2. Once you are able to feel the clog, turn the handle, in order to catch the clog firmly.

3. Continue to lower the Auger down the drain as it captures more hair and debris.

4. Once you feel less resistance, it means you are passed the blockage. At this time pull out the Auger slowly, ensuring not to lose the clog back into the drain.

5. Repeat the process until all clogs have been removed.

6. Turn on the hot water and let it run for a couple minutes. Any leftover clogs or debris will then be flushed down the drain.

5. How to Unclog a Shower Drain with Chemicals

If you have tried any of the above solutions to unclog a shower drain at home and have been unsuccessful, there is one last option before calling a plumber.

Chemicals!

In a conscious age where chemicals are known to harm the environment, we encourage you to try a few of the above methods before resorting to chemicals.

However, if you have to use them, always remember to be careful with the handling of these chemicals. Safety gear like gloves and eye protection is a good idea.

Here are a couple good chemical solutions we recommend.

Best Overall

 Drano Max Gel, Clog Remover 

We would love to hear any other tricks or tips you may have to unclog your shower drain. Leave us a comment if these tips helped you. We’d love to hear from you!

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