6 Easy Ways to Unclog a Shower Drain

Are you having issues with the water draining down your shower? This happens quite often and can be frustrating, especially when you want to have a shower. There are several reasons why it’s happening.

Often, a shower drain is clogged because of debris that accumulated over time. Hair, muck, shampoo residue, and other products may get washed down the shower drain. These items can build up and cause blockages in the drain.

A plumber can unclog a severely blocked shower drain. However, it is also possible to do the repairs for those with DIY experience. With a little knowledge, you can clear it out and get back to free-flowing water in no time. Here are six ways to unclog a shower drain:

1. Pull out debris by hand

Your shower drain lets water flow through the pipes, and it makes a vacuum, but it is also vented, so air helps the water move freely. Your shower drain also has a P-trap that allows water to sit and form a barrier so no sewer gas can leak out. This is a commonplace where clogs occur and one you can see when you pull out the plug. Hair, soap scum and other debris build-up to restrict the water flow, and if you can see it, you can reach it.

It is messy, so I suggest using latex gloves before reaching inside the pipe. Try to pull out as much as you can and if necessary, use tweezers or a plastic hook to pull the rest out. This clears clogs close to the surface.

2. Boiling water

When the clog is a little further than your reach, you may need to address the problem. Boiling water is something you should try first before using chemicals or DIY solutions because the heat will usually dissolve a messy build-up. Boil a big pot and carefully bring it into the bathroom.

Pour half the water slowly down the drain and see how it goes. It will work immediately on soap film, and as that dissolves, hair will be able to wash away. Follow up with the other half of the pot and repeat if necessary.

3. Drain cleaner

If boiling water isn’t able to do the job, it’s time to take it to the next level. You can buy commercial products to work on the shower drain clog, but they have toxic chemicals you may not want to work with. Use them if you are confident, but there are also DIY methods with benign substances that you already have around the house.

Baking soda and vinegar is a wonderful duo that is very effective at clearing drains, and they combine to create a chemical reaction that helps dissolve debris easily.

You can either pour one cup of each down the drain separately or make a slurry mix of both and pour that down. Let it do its magic for 15 minutes and follow up with boiling water. You can repeat the process for stubborn clogs.

4. Plunger

Your handy plunger is designed for unclogging drains and maybe the perfect tool to rid you of the blockage. Most people have two plungers in their home; one for toilets and one for sinks. You don’t want to interchange them because of harmful bacteria but your shower lands in the middle of your drains.

Because you are not handling food or dishes in the shower (hopefully), you could disinfect your toilet plunger and use it or use the sink plunger and disinfect it afterwards.

Plunging is pretty basic:

  • Have enough standing water, so the plunger head is submerged
  • Make a tight seal over the drain
  • Use firm push-pull movements to create pressure and force air towards the clog
  • Repeat until the blockage is clear

This usually works like a charm, but some clogs have their mind. They need the snake treatment.

5. Plumbers auger

A plumbers auger or snake is a coiling device fed down the drain until you come against the resistance of a clog. You can purchase or rent these at your local home improvement store, and they are fairly easy to use. There are even disposable ones if you want a one-and-done product.

Your snake drilling tool has a hand crack on one end and a drill on the other end. As you crank it, the auger breaks up the debris and water in the pipes will flush it away. Take out the snake and run hot water down the drain for 5-10 minutes to clear all the rest of the build-up.

6. Shop vac

Sometimes, it takes an electrical tool to clear your drain. A wet/dry shop vacuum is ideal for stubborn clogs and can handle water and debris.

Put your vacuum hose on the drain opening and use a wet rag wrapped around it to make a seal. You will need to hold it firmly in place. Now just turn on the vacuum and let it do the heavy lifting. It should suck up all the trapped water and the clog.

These are the best ways to unclog your shower drain. You may need to try a few of them until the blockage is gone but if you get through all six with no success, call a qualified plumber to come to resolve the issue. Then you can get back to showering without bathing at the same time!