How Do You Unclog A Shower Drain Naturally
Many people turn to natural solutions like white vinegar and baking soda to unclog a shower drain, but Tavanian admits that the fizzing you hear soon after pouring them down the drain probably isnt doing much. They may help to keep a clear drain clear, if used regularly before a clog happens, he says. But they are not effective in clearing a clogged drain.
Instead, he recommends that homeowners use the same tools professionals do. You may have experience using a drain snake to clear clogs from your sink or toilet, but its not always long enough to tackle the mess lurking beneath your shower floor. For this, youll need a drain auger, which can have a cable as long as 25 feet.
Use A Plumbers Snake To Clear The Blockage
This final method can be quite effective if your shower wont drain or youve got a bathtub flooding due to a blockage but its a bit messy and requires a few tools to get the job done. Youll need: a Phillips head screwdriver, a flat head screwdriver, needle nose pliers, and a plumbers snake.
Use protective gloves and eyewear so as not to get any of the grime on your hands or eyes it can potentially harbor a large amount of bacteria. Carefully unscrew the shower with the Phillips head screwdriver, being sure not to drop any of the screws down the drain.
Then, using the needle nose pliers and the flat head screwdriver, reach into the open drain to grab and remove all the stuck hair and soap buildup. Once youve cleared the initial opening, insert the plumbers snake into the drain as far as it will go.
Use your foot to get the front end of the snake securely into the drain opening before extending it down as far as it will go. Then, turn the handle to bring the snake back up.
Drain Blockage Prevention Tips
The best way to prevent a clogged pipeline is to know what you can and cannot put inside the pipe. For instance, you can avoid pouring oils and fats down your kitchen sink by storing old grease and oils in a container and throwing it in the trash.
Using the commode to dispose of paper towels, diapers, and feminine hygiene items can produce damaging clogs in your home’s main sewer line. It’s best never to flush these materials.
To prevent this issue, you should only flush waste and toilet paper. Tissue can also clog, but you can use the ToiletShroom plunger to push the clog out quickly. With its unique design, the ToiletShroom will also keep the inside of the commode drain clean to prevent buildups.
Also, use a drain screen or sink stopper, and you may never have to know how to use a drain snake. It will let water through while catching items like food, hair, soap scum, and paper. Removal, cleanup, and re-installation are effortless.
Don’t grab just any stopper or screen, however. The SinkShroom is the best choice to collect items that don’t belong down the sink. Great for bathrooms and kitchens, the SinkShrooms I-shaped design of holes, cutouts, and a bowl-shaped end can catch small, round, long, and unusual debris such as hair and jewelry. It’s also removable, easy to clean, and simple to reinstall.
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Husky 1/2 Inch X 50 Foot Drain Auger
The best snake for clogs deep inside a drain is the Husky Drain Auger. With 50 feet of rust-resistant cable and spring steel wire, you can get to clogs a standard drain snake can’t reach.
It’s best to use this long snake for the main sewer, laundry, or driveway drain. Its design allows for maximum thrusting action to clean a 2- or 4-inch drain and remove buildup.
What Type Of Plumbing Snake Should I Use
There are several different types of drain snakes, including:
- Toilet Auger. This is a special auger with a long rod and short cable. This configuration gives you better leverage then a snake to unclog a toilet. It will not scratch porcelain surfaces. It is important not to use any other type of auger with your toilet.
- Small Drum Auger. This is the snake you would use for most routine kitchen or bathroom sink clogs.
- Extra Long Drain Auger. This is the type of plumbing snake you would use for clogs deeply embedded down the length of your drain or pipes.
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Remove Hair Or Debris
If the drain is still clogged, the problem may be a soapy clump of tangled hair that you can pull out of the drain with your fingers. You can pull it out even if water is standing in the shower, as long as the water is not too hot to touch.
If the clog is too far down to reach with your fingers, unscrew or pry up the drain cover. Then straighten out a wire coat hanger and make a small hook at the end. Put it into the drain and fish out any debris. Use a flashlight, if needed, to help you see into the drain.
Once you’ve gotten out as much debris as you can, carefully pour another kettle full of boiling water down the drain, a little at a time. Again, do not use boiling water if you have PVC pipes.
Replace the drain cover and run the water in the shower to see if the clog has been cleared.
Extract The Drain Snake
When you feel the cable move past the clog, reverse the direction of the cable rotation and slowly extract the cable from the drain opening. You likely will see hair and debris entangled at the end of the cable as it emerges from the drain opening.
Clean off this debris from the tip of the drain snake, then wipe down the drain snake with a rag to dry it and prevent rust.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris
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Snake Wont Go Down The Shower Drain: Causes
Using your drain snake improperly can cause scratching or ruining a fixture. Always ensure while inserting your snake, you disassemble the p-trap. The best way to handle your drain is by approaching it the way a professional would, as you dont want to cause any damage.
Among the reasons why the snake wont go down the shower drain include the following:
Tacklife Automatic Drain Auger
If you need help eliminating a tough clog, turn to the TACKLIFE Automatic Drain Auger. It’s a cordless, battery-operated drain snake that can push through even the most severe clogs with ease. The machine is best for 1 to 3-inch drain widths.
The snake not only handles drains inside your house. You can also use it on gutter downspouts and lawn irrigation systems. The snake has a 25-foot long cable with a corkscrew tip. Thanks to its lithium-ion battery, it retains enough power to get the job done.
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Puls Will Stop Your Shower Or Tub Flooding Asap
Whether you dont have a plumbers snake lying around the house , or if that clog just wont budge, its always best to turn to a professional.
Simply book a time slot with Puls and one of our vetted technicians can be at your door before your shower or tub has time to act up again usually as soon as the very same day.
Youll never pay hidden charges like weekend or emergency fees, and we only use the highest quality, OEM parts. Plus, all of our services come backed by our 90-day guarantee, so youll know your service is done right the first time, while remaining covered long after.
Right now, we offer plumbing services in the greater Phoenix area, with plans to add more cities nationwide in the very near future. and be the first to know when weve expanded to your area.
Book a plumbing service now to get back to your normal routine at home in no time – youll be glad you did.
Drain Snake Won’t Bring Up Debris
If you can’t bring up any debris from the drain, it might be because you are using a dirty or otherwise clogged drain snake.
This doesn’t apply if you are using a new drain snake, as the end is presumably clean. But drain snakes that have previously been used may still have the old clog still embedded in the corkscrew end. You must thoroughly clean this end for it to be effective.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris
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How To Use A Plumbing Snake And When It’s Necessary
Clogs can be a major hassle to reckon with. Our first instinct is to reach for a plunger to loosen the blockage. But what happens if that fails? If a clog is too big for a plunger to handle, it might be time to reach for a plumbing snake . There are a few different types of snakes but in general, they are made from a spiraled piece of metal attached to a long cable. The cable reaches far into pipes to break apart or dislodge obstructions in your pipe. Read on to learn more about how to use a plumbing snake and when it might be necessary.
What Can Dissolve Hair In A Drain
Hair is one of the most common causes of a clogged shower drain. And although some cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can help dissolve long hair or help push it through the plumbing system, removing it by hand is often an easy, safe, and effective way to get your drain flowing again.
To do this job yourself, you likely only need one or two tools, Tavanian says. If you notice that your drain openingalso called a drain strainer or drain coverhas screws, grab a screwdriver and remove it. If you dont see screws, you should be able to gently pry the strainer off. Once removed, examine the area to see whats causing the obstruction. If its a tangled mess of hair, you may choose to don a pair of rubber gloves and simply reach in and pull it out. Or you can use the end of a wire hanger to get a little further down in the pipe to dislodge and remove the hair that is causing the clog. Once complete, replace the drain strainer and run the water to see if drainage has improved. If removing the hair doesnt improve water flow, there is likely a different or larger blockage further down the pipe that may require additional tools.
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How To Clear A Clogged Shower Drain With A Drain Snake
Aaron Stickley is a licensed plumber with 15 years of experience in commercial, new residential plumbing, and residential service and repair. He started his own residential service and repair plumbing business. Aaron’s articles about plumbing on The Spruce span four years.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- Working Time: 10 – 20 mins
- Total Time: 10 – 20 mins
- Skill Level: Beginner
Shower drains can easily be clogged with hair and other debris, but fortunately, they are among the easiest fixtures to clear using a drain snake. While a normal bathtub drain is usually 1 1/2 inches in diameter, a shower drain is often 2 inches in diameter, making it easier to insert a small drain snake directly into the drain opening and down through the trap, where most clogs are found. Sink and bathtub drains often require that you disassemble the drain trap in order to snake out the clog. A clogged shower drain, on the other hand, is usually even easier to fix.
What To Do When Snaking A Drain Doesnt Work
If your plumber snake isnt clearing the clog properly:
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How To Unclog A Shower Drain With A Plumbers Snake
Sometimes the best way to unclog a shower drain is with a drain snake, sometimes called a manual auger or electric auger. If it’s electric, you’ll need a power drill to run the plumber’s snake. If it’s manual, you’ll have to turn the handle by hand to operate it.
As you figure out how to snake a shower drain, insert the snake into the drain until it hits the clog. Turn the handle clockwise to hook the clog and continue running the snake down the drain. When you start to feel resistance, that means the snake is picking up clogs. When the resistance lessens, that often means the snake has cleared the drain. Give the handle one more full turn to ensure the clog is hooked. Then turn the handle counterclockwise to back the snake out of the drain. Go slowly, so you don’t lose the clog.
When the snake is completely out, remove the debris. Run hot water down the drain to test that the clog is completely gone and replace the drain cover.
Clearing A Clogged Vent Pipe
If a tub continues to drain slowly even after the basic cleaning described above, the problem might be caused by a clogged vent pipe.
Vent pipes extend through the roof and are open to the atmosphere, equalizing pressure in drain lines so that a vacuum effect wont disrupt drainage. Because a vent pipe is open at the top, it can be clogged by sticks, leaves, and other debris. Blockages can also occur because of insects or animals.
If you suspect that a clogged vent is causing household plumbing to drain slowly, you can investigate just like a plumber would:
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Why Do Drain Pipes Clog
Drain clogs are a part of indoor plumbing. Most blockages are easy to avoid, but that doesn’t mean the problem will never occur.
Some of the most common causes for a drain clog in your home include:
- Accumulation of dirt, hair, soap scum, and skin flakes, which can flow down the drain in the shower and tub drains and kitchen and bathroom sinks
- Flushing non-flushable materials like baby wipes, cotton swabs, and feminine hygiene products
- Pouring oil, fats, and grease down the kitchen sink
Why Cant I Get A Snake Down A Bathtub Drain
If youre having trouble getting your snake into the drain, the first steps are always to make sure that youre using the right kind of snake and the right pipe.
You wont be able to fit the snake into the bottom drain on your tub. The pipe has a very sharp bend in it, which the snake cant navigate around.
Instead, you should be inserting the snake into the overflow pipe behind your overflow cover.
You should also know that a plastic sink snake wont be effective for this type of clog. Motorized snakes are more heavy-duty.
As the name implies, they use a motor to reach deep into your pipes until they can grab the clog and pull it out.
Assuming all of that is taken care of, here are some things that might get in the way.
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Tips For Preventing Shower Clogs
To keep from unclogging a shower drain in the future, try one or more of these ideas.
- Put a drain screen or tub strainer over the shower drain to catch loose hairs. Empty it regularly.
- Brush your hair before you get in the shower.
- Pour a kettle of boiling water down your metal pipes, a little at a time, about once a week. This will help dislodge materials like grease, soap and debris before they form a clog.
- Mix 1/3 cup of vinegar and 1/3 cup of baking soda in a heat-resistant cup and pour it down the drain once a month.
- Don’t pour dirty mop water or other wastewater that contains dirt and debris down the shower drain.
Unclogging a shower drain can be a DIY project. As you figure out how to unclog a shower drain, start by trying the easiest ways. First, if you have metal pipes, pour boiling water down the drain. Then remove hair from the drain. If that doesn’t work, use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. If the clog persists, use a plunger, plumber’s snake or chemical drain opener.
If you need help unclogging a shower drain, The Home Depot offers plumbing services. Let our licensed, local plumbers fix it for you.
How To Unclog A Shower Drain With Vinegar And Baking Soda
If boiling water and removing the hair do not work, you may still have to figure out how to unclog a shower drain. To make a DIY cleaning solution, mix 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of vinegar in a heat-resistant cup.
Remove the drain cover and pour in the solution, which will immediately start fizzing. Let it sit for at least one hour so the vinegar and baking soda can work. When the hour is up, run hot water down the drain to flush out the cleaning solution and any debris.
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