It’s a terrible way to start the day when you go into a hot, steamy shower only to discover that the water is pooling around your feet. A clogged drain is typically caused by a build-up of hair and soap scum that has accumulated. However, before you hire a plumber, make sure you have the tools to complete the job.
You’d be surprised that there are several options for clearing a shower drain clogged with hair build-up and slime, and which doesn’t call for a plumber.
In our guide, you can learn all the DIY methods with things you can get from hardware stores or stuff you have around the home.
By the end, you’ll see you don’t need a professional to unblock drains or toxic chemicals. You can unclog your shower drain or any drainage pipes and keep them clean so they don’t form clogs in the future. (Learn How to Unclog Bathtub Drain)
What Is The Best Way to Unclog a Shower Drain?
A build-up of soap scum, debris, and hair is the most common cause of more minor shower drain blockages. Long hair, in particular, is prone to clogging drains, and soap exacerbates the problem by enabling hair clumps to adhere to drain walls more readily than they would otherwise.
This build-up obstructs the movement of water over time, eventually resulting in a blockage. Occasionally, you can use a toilet plunger for drain cleaning, yet these are no good when dealing with long hair.
Here’s what you need to do if you suspect a clogged shower drain
- Check for a visible obstruction in your drain screen. The most common cause is hair clumps.
- Look below your drain cap and inside your drain if nothing is visible on the outside. Use a flashlight if it is too dark to see. Remove anything that appears to be blocking the drain.
- Double-check if your drain is open. Is there enough area for water to travel between your drain stopper and the pipe? Depending on the sort of drain and stopper you have, you can do it in one of two ways: Some drains feature a stopper that can be unscrewed and entirely lifted out. A switch under the faucet that opens and closes the drain is standard in bathtub showers.
- Check if your drain has any form of stopping mechanism, and make sure the stopper isn’t blocking the drain. If there isn’t any water flow after you’ve removed visible blockages and verified the drain is open, it’s time to unclog.
Here are the various ways to deal with a blocked drain in your shower without calling a professional plumber.
Before Unclogging the Shower Drain
You may have to try more than one approach to unclog a shower drain clog. A build-up of hair, grease, or soap could cause the block, but also it could be tree roots further down the underground pipes or a build-up of dirt or minerals being a possible cause.
You’ll need to remove the drain cover to get to your drain. With a screwdriver, some caps can be unscrewed. Others might need to be coaxed away. Carefully pry around the drain to prevent scratching the shower.
Wear rubber gloves when figuring out how to unclog a shower drain using these ways for safety. Eye protection is also required for some drain openers or harmful chemicals you may have to use. (Learn How To Unclog A Garbage Disposal)
Clear Blocked Shower Drain With Boiling Water
A clog in metal pipes can sometimes be cleared by pouring boiling water down the drain, a bit at a time. Without removing the shower drain cover, you can pour the water down the drain.
Boiling water should not be poured down PVC pipes since the heat can damage them. This straightforward solution may or may not work, but it’s worth a try. After the boiling water has gone down the drain, run more water through the shower to see if the clog has cleared. It may not work with standing water as it would cool the boiling water before reaching the clog.
Clear Drain with a Wire Coat Hanger
If the drain is still clogged, the issue could be soap scum or a clump of tangled hair that you can pull with your fingers from the drain. Wear rubber gloves so you can pull out the hair clog or other small objects even if the water in the shower is still standing.
Unscrew or lift the drain cover should the clog be too deep to reach with your fingers. Then, using a wire hanger, straighten it out and make a small hook at the end. Please place it in the drain and fish out as much debris as you can. Use a flashlight to peer into the drain.
Once you’ve removed all the debris, carefully pour boiling water down the drain, a little at a time. If you have PVC pipes, don’t use boiling water in a clogged shower drain.
To check if the clog has been cleared, replace the drain cover and turn on the water in the shower.
How to Unclog a Shower Drain Using a Plunger
A plunger can clear shower drain clogs. Remove your drain cover and put the rubber cup of your plunger over the drain opening. Wear gloves if you have lots of standing water.
Smear petroleum jelly on the cup to offer a better seal. Run enough water into your shower stall to cover the lip of the plunger cup.
Move your plunger handle up and down rapidly, so it can pull and push the slow drain clog to clear it. Run water in the shower to be sure the clog is gone before you replace the drain cover.
How to Unclog a Shower Drain Using A Plumber’s Snake
A drain snake, also known as a manual or motorized auger, can help unclog a shower drain. A power drill is required to run the plumbers snake if it’s electric. If it’s manual, you’ll need to hand-crank the handle.
Insert the drain snake into the drain until it hits the clog. Turn the snake counterclockwise to hook the clog and proceed down the drain.
If you sense resistance, the snake is picking up clogs. When resistance decreases, the snake has emptied the drain. Turn the handle entirely to give the clog. Then counterclockwise, turn the handle to pull the snake from the drain. Slowly to avoid losing the clog.
Remove the drain snake altogether. Replace the drain cover and run hot water down the drain to ensure the clog is completely gone.
Unclog Shower Drain With Chemical Drain Opener
Using harsh chemicals such as a chemical drain opener may dissolve hair in a clogged shower drain. If you use a chemical to unclog a shower drain, use rubber gloves and eye protection.
Follow guidelines and provide ventilation to avoid inhaling fumes. Chemical drain cleaners can contain substances that could damage pipes when unclogging a shower drain. Such chemicals can be helpful for blocks on multiple drains, yet you can use a healthier alternative.
What Household Items Unclog a Shower Drain?
There are several ways you can keep your shower drain clear of hair and soap scum. However, here is one of the best you can use on any drains around your home, although it won’t clear a main sewer line blockage. (Find the Best Pressure Washer)
Unclog a Shower Drain with Baking Soda and Vinegar
The foamy chemical reaction you made in high school is the same as what can clear your drains.
- Mix 1/3 cup of baking soda and 1/3 cup of vinegar in a heat-resistant pot.
- It will fizz right away, so pour your solution down your clogged drain.
- Let the baking soda and vinegar mix sit for at least one hour.
- Once the time is up, turn on the bathtub faucet and run hot water down the drain. You could also use boiling water from a kettle to help clear your pipes.
- The chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda helps break up the hair and grime and thus unclog your shower drain.
Tips to Prevent Shower Clogs
Cover the drain with a drain cover: Hair clogs are generally the culprit for clogged shower drains. After every shower, you can spend a few minutes cleaning a simple rubber or plastic drain cover.
Don’t Empty Bin Dust: Although it may be tempting to empty trashcan dust or shake your rug in the shower to wash it then away. However, larger particles of dirt and debris can create clogs or catch hair and worsen the issue.
Clean Drains Regularly. Drain cleaning should be a regular component of your cleaning routine. Keep yourself some distilled white vinegar and baking soda in the bathroom. Occasionally, you can pour some baking soda in the drain, followed by vinegar, followed by rinsing with hot water to keep your drains clean.