How to Unclog a Shower Drain

If you have a shower, you’ll get a clogged shower drain sooner or later.   Before you reach for harsh chemicals that can damage your pipes, first try our techniques to unclog shower drains naturally.

Why shouldn’t you use chemical drain cleaner?  The harsh chemicals in drain cleaners can wear away at your pipes.  It is better to remove the clog through mechanical means instead of chemical.  Never plunge a drain or toilet after using drain cleaner.  It could splash your eyes or skin cause serious burns and permanent damage. Remember, it is always better to unclog shower drains naturally. If you need to unclog a kitchen sink, we have some tips for you.

How to Unclog a Shower Drain Naturally

  1. Unscrew the drain screen.  Be VERY sure not to drop the screws down the drain to avoid a trip to the hardware store!
  2. Use a wire hanger.  Take a wire hanger or any piece of wire and bend it with pliers so that it has hook on the end, about a 3/4 inch.   Use your homemade hook to it to pull any clogs, hair, and debris out.  WARNING: it will be disgusting; goopy hair is not pretty.  Keep a trash bag next to you for discarding the clogs.  If you happen to own a drain snake (good for you!) you can use that instead of making the wire hanger hook.
  3. Get out the  plunger.  To make sure that the plunger is effective,  stop up the tub’s overflow opening with a wet rag.  Fill the shower with just enough hot water to cover the bottom of the plunger, but not burning hot incase the ware splashes on you.  Begin plunging, making sure that you keep the plunging action completely vertical, straight up and down.  After about 5-10 strong plunges, lift up the plunger to see if the water is draining away quickly.  If the water is not draining quickly, keep plunging.
  4. Keep it natural.  How to unclog a drain with baking soda: After using the wire hanger and plunger methods, your shower should now be draining.  If not, use a shallow bowl and bucket to bail out any existing water.  Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into drain and use a spatula to force it down the drain if needed.  Next, pour1cup of vinegar down the drain and quickly cover the drain with a drain cover or damp towel to force the vinegar and baking soda to the clog.  Hold the cover over the drain until the fizzing stops.  Finally, uncover the drain and flush it with a kettle of boiling water.
  5. If the shower drain is still clogged, its time to call a plumber.  If you try to use more forceful methods or harsh chemical drain cleaners can damage pipes and cause larger plumbing problems.  We are always here to help!

How to Avoid Clogged Shower Drains

Now that you know how to unclog a shower drain, avoid the clogged showers from the start with these 3 tips.

  1. Get a hair trap and use it!  Minimize what goes down the drain to stop clogs before they even start.
  2. Do not use bar soap, use shower gel instead.  Bar soap unfortunately causes soap scum buildup.  Shower gel does not cause buildup and will keep tile and grout cleaner.
  3. Clean shower drains regularly with  baking soda/vinegar to keep shower drains running smoothly.  See the “How to unclog a drain with baking soda section above. Every couple of weeks, or whenever you clean the shower, use the baking soda method when you are done cleaning.

Do you need a professional to unclog your shower drains? If you are located in the Bay Area then contact Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Bay Area to schedule your appointment!