What Causes A Blocked Drain In The Shower
It is common to think that a shower drain is hard to clog when compared to something like a kitchen sink drain. In the kitchen, food and oils can clog a drainage pipe quickly due to the organic texture of the substances.
But the same thing applies with a shower drain as well.
Shower drains have five primary culprits when it comes to clogs: soap, shampoos, hair, dead skin, and dirt.
Lets take a closer look at each and how it contributes to clogs.
Make Your Own Drain Cleaner
We do not recommend using storebought clog-cleaning agents, because theyre made with caustic chemicals which can damage your pipes. A better option is to make a mixture of half baking soda and half vinegar and send that down the drain. Its gentler than storebought cleaners and almost as effective.
Let the mixture sit for an hour or so, then flush it with a gallon of boiling water for the best effect.
Hire A Professional To Fix Shower Drain Clogs
If none of the above solutions work, you will need professional drain unclogging services to unclog your shower drain. Unfortunately, this indicates that the clog is either too deep or too large for you to access. Such a clog can even expose an entire system of leaking drain pipes that need to be replaced in some circumstances.
Therefore, you should seek expert assistance from a plumber. Moreover, if you are at all concerned about body hair and gunk build-up, we recommend bypassing the DIY options and reaching out to a plumber right away. The material that emerges from drains is not for the faint of heart.
As already mentioned, some shower drain clogs are simply too tough to manage without professional assistance. So, if you are worried that you won’t be able to successfully unclog your shower drain on your own, it’s advisable to hire a reliable plumber in your locality.
Also Check: Water Heater Drain Plug Size
When Water Rises Above Your Ankles As You Shower There’s Likely A Drain Clog At Play Here Are 5 Tried
Jessica Bennett is an editor, writer, and former digital assistant home editor at BHG. She covers interior design, decorating, home improvement, cleaning, organizing, and more. With nearly five years of combined experience in digital and magazine journalism, she has contributed over 800 articles for BHG.com to date, and her writing on interior design and decorating has been featured in 16 national print magazines, including Do It Yourself, Country Home, Beautiful Kitchens & Baths, Secrets of Getting Organized, and more. She is currently pursuing an interior design certificate from the New York Institute of Art + Design.
Clogged shower drains are messy! Most often, hair accumulates in bathtub and shower pipes to clog drains. The hair traps soapy residues, which fuse with the hair clumps to create impermeable clogs that back up water into shower basins and bathtubs. When unblocking a shower drain, start with the simplest, safest solution. The best fix for a clogged shower drain is often a DIY method, as commercial drain cleaners can damage pipes if used too often. Follow this sequence of strategies for clearing blocked drains, and allow your drain to do what it’s meant to do: Let water drain freely.
BHG / Danielle Moore
Take Out The Waste Trap
This should simply lift out, or possibly unscrew. It will consist of a silver, chrome-effect cover and a hair trap. This is a solid plastic tube thats wider at the top, with a rubber washer around it to seal into the drain pipe. As you lift it out, steel yourself for the yucky tail of slimy hair that will come with it!
Recommended Reading: How To Unclog Clogged Drain
Try Baking Soda And Vinegar
You may remember from science experiments, that baking soda and vinegar create a chemical reaction when combined. This chemical reaction releases a significant amount of gas and can unclog a shower drain by breaking apart the debris that makes up the clog.
To make this DIY cleaning solution, mix 1/3 cup of baking soda and 1/3 cup of vinegar in a heat-resistant cup. Remove the drain cover and pour in the solution. It will start fizzing immediately. Leave the mixture sitting in your drain for about an hour.
After the hour is up, run hot water through the drain to clear away the cleaning solution and any debris that may be left behind.
You See Built Up Soap Scum And Residue In Your Tub
Maybe you dont notice that water is slow to drain right away. Well, another indicator is that there is soap scum building up in your shower.
If you see a ring of soap scum or dirt in a circle near your bathtub drain, then this means that the water was pooling and the dirt and scum settled and was not whisked away.
Recommended Reading: How To Unclog Shower Drain Without Baking Soda
How Do You Know When Its Time To Call In A Professional Plumber
Even though clearing a clogged shower drain is a job that many homeowners can safely take on, its important to assess your situation before you put on the rubber gloves. Tavanian recommends that you visually inspect the area before diving into the project. If you know that your pipes are so old that they may be galvanized, then the clog is probably from the pipe flaking off and not necessarily hair or gunk. Rust debris is another sign to call in a professional. Likewise, if you are unable to dislodge a clog after a few tries with an auger, there may be a larger issue like tree roots or other small objects blocking your drain, in which case professional help is also advised.
How To Unclog Your Shower Drain
Do you need to know how to unclog your shower drain? When you take a shower, the water should flow quickly down the drain. If you notice rising water covering your feet, you probably have a partial clog somewhere in your plumbing system. You need to remove whatever is blocking the pipes before the situation gets worse. In many instances, you should be able to unclog the drain using one of these simple methods.
Read Also: Delta Matte Black Tub Drain And Overflow
Baking Soda And White Vinegar
I usually use white vinegar and baking soda to prevent clogging the drains. However, these ingredients are efficient even when shower drains are already clogged with hair.
- Baking soda You need about half of a cup of baking soda. Pour it down the drain and wait for approximately ten minutes until you see bubbles. Use a shower head and pour hot water down the drain.
- Baking soda and vinegar If the drain is fully clogged, using baking soda may not be enough. However, we have a trick for each situation. After pouring a half cup of baking soda into the drains, add the same amount of white vinegar right away.
Let all these bubbles and foam work for 30 to 60 minutes. In some cases, you may need to let it sit overnight. Then, flush the drains with hot water. Repeat the process if necessary. Take care not to use boiling water if your pipes are PVC.
Keep Your Shower Drains Clear And Clean
Now that you know how to unclog a shower drain, there is no excuse for living with clogs. Shower clogs are preventable, and ignoring drain clogs wont help. If you have a clog, be proactive and clear it with one of these above methods.
Use ShowerShroom or TubShroom to prevent clogs before they happen. Both can stop clogs before they wreak havoc on plumbing pipes.
Are you looking to eliminate plumbing problems and clogged drains for good? Look no further than our complete ‘Shroom drain protection line! We have award-winning solutions for every drain in your home.
Check out these two videos for more guidance on unclogging your drain.
Also Check: Hanning Elektro Werke Drain Pump Dp040 012
Two: Using A Wire Hanger
Clogs that are deeper than you can reach with your hands will require the use of a wire snake.
Step One: Create a makeshift hook
You can create a makeshift hook by unwinding and straightening a wire hanger. Simply unwind the loops and straighten up the wire as much as possible with needle-nose pliers. To make it simpler to capture hair, you can add a little hook about 14 inches long at the end of the wire. If you don’t have a wire hanger, a plastic drain snake with a hair-pulling hook on the end can be purchased. These may be found in any hardware shop.â
Note:Ensure that you wear a pair of rubber gloves to avoid being scratched by the wire and to avoid touching any dirt you pull up from the drain.â
Step Two: Use a flashlight to find the blockage
With one hand, hold a flashlight to observe where the blockages are. Then, with the hook side down, reach into the drain and target any huge clumps of hair and gunk. Wiggle the wire clockwise around in the drain to make it go deeper. Pull it out by feeling for it to hook onto the clog. The clog will stick together as you draw it up if it is tight enough to restrict water. To remove all of the clog’s fragments, you might have to repeat this method multiple times.
Step Three: Check if the blockage is cleared
To confirm that the clog is gone, turn on the water. You are good to go if water flows freely down the drain.
Step Four: Replace the drain cover
Find A Plumbers Snake
If you have one, then we highly recommend a plumbers snake for clearing out clogged shower drains. These tools can go much deeper than hooks to reach stubborn clogs.
Simply push the snake down until it reaches the block and cant move anymore. Then, twist the handle and bring the debris to the surface. If this method doesnt work, then the issue is likely serious.
More than likely its due to tree roots breaking through the pipes. Unfortunately, this problem cant be fixed with a plumbers snake.
Don’t Miss: Speed Queen Washer Won’t Drain
What Causes Clogged Shower Drains
A lot of things go down our shower drains that we dont think about. For example, the soap that we use every day is usually lined with grease, fats, or oils of some sort.
Over time, this material builds up in our drain and attaches to other types of debris. Body hair, dirt, and mineral deposits get caught in these fat pockets. If these clogs get big enough in weak pipes, then they can even cause leaks.
One small leak can waste 10,000 gallons of water a year. On top of that, they also attract roots systems growing under your house. Small roots can grow into these cracks which causes even more clogging.
As such, you must fix it as soon as possible. If you suspect that your pipes are leaking, then make sure to consult our guide first.
Causes Of Clogged Shower Drains
Minerals dissolved in water can build up and cause insoluble masses that will block your drains.
Traditional soap bars are made with grease or fat. The fat in the soap combines with minerals in water and leaves a hard residue that stains bath fittings and clogs pipes.
Small cracks or leaks in your underground pipes can attract root growth. Once inside your pipes, roots grow larger, obstructing water flow and causing pipe damage.
Don’t Miss: How To Fix Shower Drain
Remove Hair And Visible Buildup From The Shower Drain
Once youve removed the drain plug and grate, you will be able to see into the drain.
If your shower or bathtub is still draining slow, try these steps to treat the blockage:
Five: Using Vinegar And Baking Soda Solution
Step One: Boil some water
The first step is to boil water. If you have just taken a shower, wait until any soapy water has drained. Pour the boiling water down the drain after that. You will flush the drain with hot water to prepare it for the baking soda and vinegar combination.
Step Two: Put baking soda in the drain
Then, pour around 3/4 cup of baking soda straight down the shower drain. Allow a few minutes to pass to ensure that all of the dry powder you had poured has fully settled into the drain.
Step Three: Pour vinegar into the drain
Proceed to pour around 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar and around 1/2 cup of hot water down the drain. The vinegar reacts with the baking soda right away and begins to bubble. Use hot water to flush as much vinegar as possible back down the drain.â
Note: You can also combine the baking soda and vinegar in a measuring cup and dump it down the drain right away. Make sure to flush the mixture down the drain with hot water.â
Step Four: Cover the drain
While the chemical reaction occurs, cover the drain with a rubber stopper. Allow for at least 1 hour of rest time, or overnight if possible. The fizzing will aid in the removal of any filth that has accumulated. The longer the liquid sits in the pipes, the more build-up it will dissolve.
Step Five: Flush hot water down the drain
Step Six: Use a combination of methods
Recommended Reading: Why Do My Drains Gurgle
Unclogging The Drain With A Hand Snake
Call A Professional To Unclog Heavy Shower Drain
A clogged shower drain can be frustrating and a headache for the homeowners which is why it’s important to fix the clogged shower drain as soon as possible. The above tips can help you to unclog minor Shower drains at home. For heavy drain clog problems, you need drain and sewer unclogging experts. Call Fischer Plumbing professionals at or request an estimate online today.
Search Our Blog Posts For More Information
You May Like: What Size Drain For Shower
It Can Attract Pests And Encourage Mold Growth
Stagnant water that builds up in a clogged shower drain or any drain in your home, for that matter can attract pests and encourage mold growth. When you allow these issues to develop due to an untreated clogged drain, they can become harder to deal with and clean.
For one, stagnant water can attract pests like mosquitos, cockroaches, and flies to the water. These insects can carry germs and diseases, which is not a good combination with a clogged drain. Furthermore, standing water creates the perfect environment for mold to grow.
Cleaning A Bathtub Drain
Drains can be hard to fully clean, so a drain snake or drain weasel like FlexiSnake will help you reach hair that has accumulated in the bathtub.
Drains can be hard to fully clean, so a drain snake or drain weasel like FlexiSnake will help you reach hair that has accumulated in the bathtub.
If you want to make your own snake, use a piece of wire, bending a hook at the end. The wire needs to be flexible enough to bend around curves in pipes but strong enough to poke and pull at clogs. Wire hangers work well, but some may be too rigid.
Don’t Miss: Grease And Hair Drain Cleaner
How To Snake A Shower Drain
Although not required, special shower drain unblockers can help with tough clogs. A plumbers snake is a portable auger of sorts. A hand crank operates a cable that reaches far into pipes to snag distant shower drain clogs. Use these instructions for how to snake a clogged shower drain: