How to Unclog Shower Drain – 5 Methods that Really Work
Home maintenance is vital to ensure you don’t incur unnecessary expenses down the line.
Even the smallest task can help protect your building’s infrastructure, so learn how to unclog shower drain and bath drains to empower yourself and save money in the process.
Even with everyone in the house using the Enzo app and doing their chores, at some stage you’re bound to have a clogged drain. Hair and other debris can cause havoc and if you’re going ‘Ew’ when you see that water pool near the drain, we’re here to assist.
In some cases, you may need to call in the pros but there’s a lot you can try as DIY fixes first. Below we’ll discuss many methods on how to unclog shower drain or even bathroom drain problems. Don’t worry, for most of our tips you won’t even have to spend any money.
What Clogs a Shower Drain?
It’s not always your housemates or a sister with long hair that deserves the blame for a clogged drain. Apart from hair, there are many possible reasons the water isn’t flowing away as well as it used to:
- Soap with ingredients that leave residue in the pipes
- Grease, if someone pours filthy water down the drain
- Roots from plants outside
- Toys that kids may jam down a drain
- Toilet paper
- Mineral build-up resulting from components in the water
Why is it so Important to Clear Drains?
The water pooling in the shower is the superficial, visible problem you of course want to sort out. Standing water is gross to start with and can lead to mold growth in the bathroom because it will be even more humid than normal.
In addition, you need to know how to unclog shower drain and bath drains because over time the blockage could result in bad odors.
If you’re unsure of the reason for the blockage you also won’t know if it’s causing more pressure than usual on the pipes. This as well as plant roots growing into the pipes can lead to cracks and leaks which could result in high repair costs in the long term.
This shows how important regular unclogging is. If necessary you can get expert assistance and prevent damage to your plumbing infrastructure. For this reason, it’s perhaps wise to add drain unclogging to your chores list on a regular basis.
How to Unclog Shower Drain—5 Effective Ways
Before you start stressing about the impending doom of your clogged drain, scroll through our tips on how to unclog shower drain and bath drain challenges. Work through them one by one if the problem persists. If the DIY methods really don’t work you can use #5 on the list.
Use Hot Water
Start as simply as pouring a jug of hot water—straight from the kettle after boiling—down the drain. The heat is an effective way to break up certain blockages like soap scum or melt fatty substances in the pipes so they can be washed away.
This is also a good first step in the process of how to unclog shower drains. With the hot water loosening some of the blockage, other steps listed below could work more effectively. So, always do this first.
Use What’s in Your Pantry
No need to immediately try out chemical cleaning products. Safe, natural items from your kitchen can also help to unclog a shower drain:
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 cup vinegar
- A jug of hot water (again)
When you mix baking soda and vinegar the products react and start bubbling. This can help dislodge blockage while the mixture can also dissolve certain substances.
Start by pouring the baking soda down the drain and follow it up with the vinegar a few minutes later. Then wait a while before pouring in the water. Hopefully, the mixture would have done its work and the hot water will wash the gunk down the drain.
If you leave the drain for a few hours, it could further improve the situation by dissolving more substances. So, ask everyone in the household not to use the shower for a while.
Tip: remember you can schedule arrangements like these on a chores calendar and send reminders via the Enzo app, so it’s a helpful tool for all kinds of home management tasks.
Removing the Blockage Manually
After a while, let water run into the drain. If it’s still draining slowly or pooling on the shower floor, the blockage may be too substantial for natural products to dissolve. Or perhaps it’s not the type of blockage that can dissolve. For example, it may simply be a lot of hair. For these problems you need to try manual removal.
Start by uncovering the drain so you can determine if the blockage is close enough to reach with your fingers, a tweezer or even pliers. If not, try one of the following:
- A plunger is an easy method to try. Simply position your plunger over the drain and press down before releasing pressure and creating a vacuum to suck out the mess. The goal here is to move the blockage closer to the drain opening, so it’s easy to remove with your hand.
- An alternative is to hook the mess and pull it out. For this a coat hanger bent into a hook works well. It’s a thin tool and you can easily customize a shape and hook that will work.
- You can also use your vacuum cleaner, if it has a wet function to suck up liquids. Position the vacuum’s end over the drain and see if the suction will dislodge the blockage so it can be sucked out.
- A plumbing snake can also work and you’re bound to find outlets that rent them in your area. If you’re unsure about using one you can ask plumbers to assist, but more about that below.
Chemicals – But Be Careful
If the more eco-friendly methods don’t fix the problem, try chemical-based drain cleaners. Follow the directions provided by the manufacturer very closely, so you don’t put yourself or others at risk with the fumes that may come after pouring it into the drain. You should wear gloves and a mask while handling some of these products.
Note that you shouldn’t use these harsh products too often. They may clean up some stubborn messes but the chemicals may actually damage your pipes in the process. So, only use this as one of your last resorts.
Last Resort: Call the Plumber
Your very last option is to call a plumber or professional drain cleaners. Using professional tools and products they know how to identify the problem and clear it away.
This will cost you something but weigh this expense against possible future payments to repair your plumbing and you’ll see it’s a wise option.
Also ask your plumber about preventive maintenance for your specific building and pipe layout. Following their tips can minimize the number of times you’ll need to call them for their expert assistance.
Preventive Maintenance: Tips to Avoid a Clogged Shower
There’s a lot you can do to avoid a drain issue becoming so bad that you need to pay professionals to help out. As mentioned, ask your local plumber for some guidance but in most homes the following will be smart tasks to add to your chore calendar:
- Pour some piping hot water down the drain on a regular basis—perhaps once a week. This will keep some of the oily blockages from becoming so big that they block the water flow. Let the water do the work while the gunk is still minimal and not yet solidified.
- Because baking soda and vinegar don’t have a negative affect on pipes you can also follow the guideline under tip #2 every few weeks. This will help clear away small problems before they turn into big blockage issues.
- Even for showers a drain cover with a strainer can help. This will limit the number of hairs and small items that end up in your drainage system.
- Consider using other soap and shampoo products. Ones that don’t leave a residue will prevent excessive clogging.
- If your budget allows, book a plumber to inspect your plumbing once a year. They can identify potential issues, so you can attend to them before they cause chaos and more expenses.
Knowing how to unclog shower drain problems empower you to take better care of your home—your asset. But it’s important to share these tips with all the individuals responsible for upkeep and chores in the home.
Luckily, with the Enzo app, no one has an excuse to forget when it’s their turn to do some bathroom maintenance or fetch the baking soda.