How To Unclog a Shower Drain

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

How Does a Clogged Shower Drain Happen?

You may have noticed that the water in your shower drains incredibly slowly, leaving you with a large amount of standing water when you run the shower. This certainly is not an uncommon occurrence. A slow drain is often an indicator of a shower drain clog.

With the accumulation of hair and lint that are always bound to go down any shower drain and pipe, buildups will naturally occur over time. But often, excessive amounts of other blockages, such as gunk, grime, and even body oils, can grow over time and worsen clogs. Sometimes, you can check for a visible obstruction and remove it by hand.

Some buildup you can’t control, and some of it you can’t, but in this article, we will discuss various ways to unclog a clogged shower drain, ways to prevent frequent shower drain clogs, and finally, when it might be time to call in a professional plumber and what they can do to help.

Solutions For Your Shower Drain Clog

There are various DIY unclogging methods to utilize before contacting a professional regarding your backed-up shower drain. All required are tools found at most home improvement stores, like a plunger, commercial drain cleaner, or a plumber’s snake. Below are three great solutions to unclogging a blocked shower drain.

1) Plunge or vacuum out the clog

You can remove the drain cover and place a regular toilet plunger over the drain opening, creating a firm seal with the plunger cup. This will create suction as you plunge the drain like a toilet to remove the clog from the shower drain. If it does not entirely remove the clog, it could bring it closer to the surface for you to remove by hand (with rubber gloves) or with another tool.

You can also use a shop vacuum that is capable of vacuuming liquids. Place the hose over the drain and turn it on to let it suck up the hair clog or debris blockage from the shower drain.

2) Snake the drain

A plumbing snake or drain auger can be a surefire solution to your clogged shower drain. A drain snake is a tool you can purchase from most hardware stores. You send the cable down your shower drain until you feel it reach a blockage, cranking the cable counterclockwise to pull the obstruction out. Make sure to wear gloves while handling the snake. After you have removed the clog, run hot water down the shower drain.

You can use multiple versions of a drain snake, including ones with or without a crank or even disposable plastic ones. If you are not using a disposable snake, be sure to thoroughly wash the cable after you have finished removing the blockage in your drain.

You can perform a similar task using a wire coat hanger by straightening it out, sending it down the drain, and using the hook at the end to grab onto the clog and pull it up. However, you have to be careful with this method because it could damage your drain. It is recommended to use an actual drain snake instead.

3) Use natural ingredients to flush out the blockage

Commercial drain cleaners can be used as a short-term solution to a clogged shower drain because they can help to dissolve hair clogs or blockages from soap scum buildup. Using chemical drain cleaners can be easier and cheaper than other methods, but they do not work on all kinds of clogs. Another solution can be to use a homemade solution or boiling water.

When boiling water, fill a pot or tea kettle to the top and bring it to a boil, then pour it slowly down the shower drain. Depending on the size of the clog, you may need multiple pots or kettles of boiling water to dissolve or unblock the build-up.

For more stubborn clogs, you can use a combination of baking soda and vinegar. Mix one cup of baking soda and one cup of distilled white vinegar, and then pour the fizzing mixture down your drain. Let the mixture sit for about an hour before running hot water down the shower drain. The hot water will help carry the solution through your drains and pipes, flushing them out thoroughly. You can also pair this baking soda and vinegar with the boiling water method.

While these homemade drain cleaners might not be long-term solutions, they can often help break down a hair clog or other minor blockage that can make up a clogged drain or pipe.

When To Call a Plumber

If you’ve tried all the above methods and they are not working to unclog your drain, it may be time to call a professional. John Owens Services are experts in any drain cleaning. If you need help to unclog your shower drain, our plumbers have multiple special tools for the job, such as:

Video inspection to locate the blockage within the pipes,

Hydro jetters, which use a blast of water pressure to clear the buildup,

And drain snakes that can break apart all blockages in your shower drains and leave your shower with a clear drain.

For those problematic shower drain buildups that seem impossible to unclog, contact us today to have us come out and get your drains back to working as they should!

How Can You Prevent a Clogged Drain?

Now that you have three ways to unclog a shower drain, what can you do to prevent it from happening in the first place? While shower drains will clog now and then, there are a few steps you can take to ensure they do not happen as often or as severely and do not lead to more significant problems for your drain.

Put on a drain cover.

Any drain screen or cover over your shower drain can catch a large amount of hair and other small debris, preventing them from entering the pipes. You will need to clean it off regularly so that the hair does not build up on the cover or begin to seep past into the drain, but it is an inexpensive way to make sure clogs happen less often.

Beware of what goes down the drain.

Keeping excess waste out of the shower is always a suitable method in preventing clogs, so pour dustbins into the garbage and shake out dirty rugs outside rather than putting all the dirt and grime down the shower drain that will build up and worsen blockages over time. Also, beware of things like body oils, which could harden through time within the drain if you use them in the shower. Consider using body scrub products outside of the shower.

Do regular maintenance

While boiling water or homemade drain cleaners might not solve significant clog problems, they can help significantly if done routinely. If you pour boiling water or a white vinegar and baking soda solution down the drain once a week, this can help flush out your drains regularly so that massive shower drain clogs don’t happen. You can even fill the tub, faucet, toilet, and any other drain in your house with warm water and then flush them all at once, which can send enough water through all your drains to clean out any build-up of hair, dirt, or another blockage.

Now you know how to unclog a shower drain using items you should have easy access to, such as a plunger, a cup of vinegar and baking soda, and even a wire coat hanger. You also have the tools to prevent large build-ups from happening often, whether simply placing a drain cover on to catch hair or instilling regular drain flushing to unclog your shower drain before a significant blockage can even happen. Follow all the steps in this article to ensure your shower drains remain in top condition for a long time.

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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464