How to Unclog a Shower Drain – Dealing with a clogged shower drain is never fun. The water pools around your feet, and the unpleasant smell can make you want to start your day all over again. If it’s REALLY bad call the pros at Budget Plumbing (864-250-0700) and we will shoot down to your home a fix everything, likety split! It’s not always necessary to call a plumber to clear your drain, though. With a few tools and a bit of elbow grease, you can get the job done yourself. Here are a few easy ways to fix a stubborn clog in your shower drain.
Before You Start Before you get started, it’s essential to consider a few factors. While many of the methods below will be effective for removing clogs caused by hair, grease, and soap buildup, they are not effective against clogs caused by foreign objects. In these cases, you’ll likely need the expertise and tools that a professional plumber brings to the table. Also, be sure to wear gloves and eye protection when cleaning a drain, since this job can put you into contact with caustic chemicals and potentially harmful bacteria.
Supplies You’ll Need You’ll need three things to unclog a shower drain:
- a liquid drain clog dissolver
- a hair catcher
- and a drain snake.
Using Chemical Shower Drain Cleaners
A chemical shower drain cleaner is the most common course of action people take when faced with a clogged drain, and for good reason. Using a chemical shower drain cleaner doesn’t require special tools or skills. All you have to do is open the bottle and dump the cleaner down the offending drain. Most clogs will clear in about 10 to 15 minutes. This approach is also much cheaper than calling in a plumber or renting a machine.
The downside of using a chemical drain cleaner is that it will only clear clogs caused by hair or soap scum. They won’t work if an object is causing the blockage, or if there is a significant buildup of minerals. Drain cleaners should also be used sparingly because most of them are quite toxic and harmful to the environment. Overusing chemical drain cleaners can also weaken PVC pipes and corrode older metal plumbing.
Resolving Recurring Shower Drain Clogs
If you find yourself having to repeatedly clear your shower drain every few weeks or even every few months, then you have a recurring drain clog. There are a few possible causes of this kind of clog, one of which is copious amounts of hair falling into the shower drain. You can limit the amount of hair in the drain by purchasing a hair catcher that fits over the drain.
Another possible reason why you keep getting shower drain clogs is that the drain may have an excessive buildup of gunk inside the pipe. While a drain cleaner might clear enough material to get the drain working again, it may not be clearing it completely. In this case, a drain snake can work wonders.
Unclog a Shower Drain With Boiling Water
This old trick is perhaps the easiest one in the book. Hot water will help break up and dissolve the gunk that is blocking your drain. Attempt this only if you have metal pipes in your home; don’t use boiling water if you have PVC pipes because it could cause joints to loosen.
If you’re not sure what kind of pipes you have in your home, there’s a simple way to determine if yours are metal or PVC. Locate the area where the main line comes through the floor. This will be near the main shut-off valve. Check to see if the pipes are some type of metal or if they are plastic.
To clear your pipes using boiling water, take the following steps:
STEP 1: Fill your tea kettle with water and bring it to a boil.
You’ll want to use a full tea kettle (or saucepan of water) for maximum drain-clearing power. For serious clogs, you might need to use multiple kettles or pots.
STEP 2: Pour the water little by little into the drain.
Give the hot liquid the chance to work its way through the clog between each pour. After you’ve poured all the water down the drain, wait 10 to 15 minutes, turn on the faucet, and determine whether the clog has cleared. If it has not, proceed to one of the drain-clearing methods below.
Unclog a Shower Drain Using Baking Soda and Vinegar
This next solution is a nod to an elementary school science fair classic: the bubbling volcano. The same foamy chemical reaction that fueled your papier-mâché mountain doubles as a powerful home cleaner. When the baking soda and vinegar combine, the mixture creates bubbles that can break up a minor clog caused by hair or grime.
STEP 1: Mix 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of vinegar in a heat-resistant measuring cup.
STEP 2: As soon as it starts to fizz (which will be immediately), pour the solution down the clogged drain.
STEP 3: Let the mixture sit in the drain for at least 1 hour.
STEP 4: Turn on the bathtub faucet and run hot water down the drain to help flush the mixture through the pipes.
Unclog a Shower Drain With a Coat Hanger
For a really nasty clog, you might need to get creative. To use a coat hanger as a tool for unclogging a shower drain, follow these steps:
STEP 1: Take a wire coat hanger and straighten it as much as possible.
STEP 2: Bend one end of the hanger into a small hook.
STEP 3: Push the hook end into the drain and begin fishing out any hair or other material that might be causing the blockage.
STEP 4: Once you have removed as much material as possible, run hot water down the drain to see if it is flowing freely. If it’s not, repeat steps 3 and 4 until the blockage is gone.
Preventing Shower Drain Clogs
To avoid shower drain clogs altogether, it’s best to take preventive measures. Here are some simple steps you can follow to keep your shower drain clear:
- Use a hair catcher: To prevent hair from going down the drain, install a hair catcher on top of the drain.
- Use a homemade drain cleaner: To prevent buildup, use a homemade drain cleaner made from equal parts vinegar and baking soda every couple of months. Pour the baking soda down the drain, add the vinegar, wait for 10 minutes, and then flush it with hot water.
- Flush all drains at once: One effective way to keep your drains clear is to flush them all at once. Fill all sinks and tubs with warm water, then open all drains and flush all toilets at the same time. You may need the help of your family members, depending on the number of drains and toilets you have. This will send a large amount of water through your drain pipes, helping to flush out any buildup.
When clogs are just too hard to remove or if you just don’t want to bother, remember the pros at Budget Plumbing. Call us at 864-250-0700 and we will treat that clog like child’s play….