The Best Ways To Unclog Your Shower Drain
If you find yourself standing in water while trying to take a relaxing shower, you may have a clog in your shower drain that is keeping the water from exiting properly. Hair is the biggest enemy of the shower drain, so the chances are good that it could be the root of your problem. Before you call a plumber to save the day, here are some of the best ways to unclog the shower drain yourself.
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There are several ways to unclog a shower drain, but before you get started, youll need to remove the drain screen or stopper to gain access to the drain. Usually, a screwdriver is all thats required to dismantle the screen, stopper, or cover. Sometimes a hair clog will come up with the screen or stopper, and the problem is solved.
If that doesn’t do the trick, look down the drain to see if you can find whats causing the problem. Turn on an overhead light or use a flashlight to inspect the drain. Once you’ve found the culprit, use one of these five home remedies to unclog the shower drain.
What Causes Drain Blockages
Smaller shower drain blockages are usually caused by a build-up of soap scum, dirt, and hair. Long hair in particular can easily clog drains, and soap worsens the problem by causing hair to stick to the drain walls more easily than it otherwise would. Over time, the passage of water becomes increasingly obstructed by this build-up, until a blockage results. If your shower drain clogs repeatedly despite numerous repair jobs, or there are multiple clogs in your home, this may be a sign of a more serious blockage in your main sewer line.
Baking Soda And Vinegar Natural Method
If youre looking to avoid strong chemical products, then this homemade natural remedy is a great alternative to clear your blockage.
This method is particularly useful for clogs that are caused by hair or other organic matter.
While this is a great method for damage prevention on plastic pipes, chemicals might still end up being your solution as a last resort.
Heres How To Unclog a Shower Drain with Baking Soda and Vinegar
- Youll need to pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain.
- Following with the same dosage of ½ cup pour distilled vinegar down the drain.
- Once the solution has created a foam full of bubbles, pour hot water on top of it.
- For maximum effect, its preferable to let the mixture work its magic for a few hours.
- If successfully dissolved, pour heated water to clean out the drain.
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Before You Unclog The Shower Drain
You may have to try more than one method to for unclogging a shower drain. The blockage could be caused by a build-up of hair, grease and soap. Other possible causes are a build-up of dirt or minerals from your water or tree roots growing through tiny cracks in your underground pipes.
To access your drain, you may need to remove the drain cover. Some covers can be unscrewed with a screwdriver. Others may need to be pried off. Pry carefully to avoid scratching the shower around the drain.
Safety tip: Be safe and wear rubber gloves as you figure out how to unclog a shower drain using these methods. Some drain openers also require eye protection.
The Right Tools For The Job
You may not be able to remove all obstructions by hand if the clog is in deeper the pipe and not simply hanging out around the drain itself. A quick trip to your neighborhood hardware store is a great place to find some extremely useful tools to help you get to those pesky pipe clogs. One such tool is a plumbers snake, a retractable tool thats ideal for hard-to-reach clogs. Simply send the snakes metal wire down to either break up or pull out the clog. If you are subject to frequent clogs, it may be a good idea to have one of these guys around. Otherwise, most hardware stores also sell small, plastic hooks that may aid in the extraction process.
Believe it or not, a plunger may also work to unclog your shower drain. Simply add enough water to your tub to submerge the plunger head and begin plunging rapidly. If the clog is especially deep, however, you may not be able to get the necessary suction to remove the clog.
Tip: Always be sure to use the proper tools when unclogging a shower drain, as homemade hooks may scratch or damage your pipe.
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You Have Clogged Drain Pipes
Of course, the most common reason why a bathtub wont drain is due to clogged pipes. Over time, nearly all bathtub drains will develop clogs. These are most commonly caused by a combination of:
- Shaving cream or gel
- Shampoo and conditioner suds
These mix with the water during a bath or shower and they can solidify in the drain. Sometimes even small items like shampoo bottle caps or razor shields will sneak through the drain openings.
If these clogs are located near the top of the drain opening, you may be able to unclog it on your own. You will likely need to unscrew the drain opening to pull up whatever is clogging it. However, this needs to be done with care, as you could accidentally push the clog further down the pipe.
Vinegar And Baking Soda
This classic cleaning combo is a great option for addressing slow shower drains and partial clogs before they get worse. The benefits of vinegar and baking soda are many: They are both affordable and non-toxic, gentle on both your pipes and the planet plus, youre likely to already have both on hand.
To use baking soda and vinegar to unclog your shower, start by running hot water to start to loosen the gunk in your drain. Next, pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into your drain. Follow that with a cup of vinegar and let the combo sit for ten minutes to fizz and work its magic. Finish by running hot water down the drain again to rinse. You can repeat this process every few weeks to help keep your drains running smoothly. If you notice your shower drain clogging with hair and soap scum frequently, consider purchasing a shower drain hair catcher to help keep clogs at bay.
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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.
Purchase A Shower Snake
A shower snake is a device that is fed into your shower drain to push apart blocking debris. Shower snakes are very effective at drain cleaning and can unclog a shower drain quickly.
Purchase a long drain snake and remove the drain cap. Then, feed it through. You may notice that it gets hung up at times. When it feels like it is blocked, pull it out a little bit and try to push through whatever is blocking it. Do this a few times and then pull it out. Test your drain by running your shower with hot water to see if you made a difference. See this post if you need more help in learning how to use it.
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If your vertical stacks, horizontal drain lines, or sewer pipes are corroded or in disrepair, epoxy pipelining can help restore the structural integrity, maximize the internal pipe diameter and keep the wastewater flowing into the municipal sewer system.
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What You Will Need To Do
First thing is first, make sure you have your bathtub drained before you start. Use cups or buckets to remove the standing water from your tub and then proceed to the steps to relieving your bathtub clog.
After you have everything prepared, take the following steps to resolve your clog.
You have followed the above steps, and you can now check up on your drain. Run water and see if water is still pooling in your bathtub. If this treatment worked then congratulations! You did a great job in fixing your drain, and this method can be reapplied to your kitchen sink, bathroom sinks, and any other fixture that uses a drain.
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How To Clean A Shower Drain With A Toilet Plunger
Your first line of defense for a clogged shower drain is an old-fashioned toilet plunger. Fill the tub or shower stall with enough water to cover the rubber bell of the plunger. Place the bell over the drain opening and plunge away. The force of the pressurized water should dislodge the clog and allow the standing water to go down. If the shower doesn’t drain or drains slowly, try again.
How To Prevent Future Shower Clogs
With very little work, you can save time and effort.
Make it a prevention habit and pay regular attention to your drain, which is always better than remedy.
Theres so much hair being shed into the drain, so youll be better off buying a hair catcher to protect your plumbing system.
A small price to pay is a bi-weekly clearance of it.
While a hair catcher will do most of the part for debris and hair entering your drain, theres no stopping the oil, shampoo, or soap flowing through, easily clogging the drain with over time buildup.
Weekly flushing with boiling water can certainly help with the addition of baking soda. Loosen any gunk with this simple plumbing maintenance method to prevent clogs.
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Why Is My Shower Draining So Slowly
Most often, shower drains get clogged by hair and soap scum, meaning that clog removal is fairly straightforward, albeit kinda gross. You may notice this buildup causing your water to start draining more slowly over time until, eventually, your shower drain is clogged completely. Unclogging a shower drain filled with soap and hair buildup can be dealt with in a few different ways, but keep in mind that you may need to try more than one, depending on the severity of your clog.
Water Backs Up Out Of The Shower Drain Or Under Your Shower Or Tub
Water that is coming back up the pipes, either on its own accord or after a shower, is always a worrisome sign.
And youll probably move quickly to suppress a plumbing issue if water comes out around the shower or tub. This is a clear indication of an issue and you should get a plumber out for an inspection immediately.
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What Steps Can I Take To Prevent My Shower Drain From Clogging
There are a number of steps which you can take as a homeowner to keep your shower drain clear of hair and soap scum. While these solutions are great for regular maintenance, and can also be effective for clearing smaller, less serious blockages, they should not be used as fixes for a main sewer line blockage, as this could worsen damage in the long term.
Clearing A Drain Using A Plunger
If your shower drain is still clogged, the next step is to use a plunger. A plunger works by forcing the blockage out of the smaller shower drain pipe into a larger sewer pipe.
- Begin by turning on the water and allowing the water to back up until the drain is slightly covered
- Then, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the cup of your plunger
- Next, place your plunger over the drain, and begin plunging
- If you have never plunged before, you simply push the stick about an inch or two repeatedly up and down
Depending on the severity of the blockage, this may take several minutes. If you hear gurgling, or the water you ran into the shower suddenly drains, this usually means you have cleared the clog in your shower drain.
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Making A Baking Soda And Vinegar Solution
Use Baking Soda And Vinegar Solution
Before resorting to a chemical drain cleaner, you can try using a natural drain cleaner comprised of a cup of white vinegar and baking soda. Youll likely find you already have these ingredients in your pantry. You can also use the natural drain cleaner on sinks and bathtub clogs, but it does have an unpleasant odor.
If you see some improvement in how the shower drains, you may need to repeat this process a few times.
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Pour Baking Soda And Vinegar Into The Drain
Before you start pouring harmful chemicals into your plumbing, you may consider a more natural approach. This method uses the cleaning power of baking soda, the acidity of vinegar, and the pressure of them combined to hopefully unclog your drain once and for all. Its very simple too. First, pour a cup of baking soda into the drain and wait for a few minutes. Next, add a cup of vinegar. Then, you wait. After a few hours, whatever was clogging the drain is likely to be dissolved and will no longer be a problem.
To take this method a step further, you may consider using a cleaning vinegar instead of a standard white vinegar. These products are much more concentrated than regular vinegar, but theyre still completely safe, non-toxic, and they dont contain chemicals. One of our favorites is the TradeKing 30% vinegar. Its six times stronger than regular vinegar. But for the maximum cleaning power, we suggest the Calyptus 45% vinegar thats nine times stronger than normal vinegar.