How Do I Unclog a Shower Drain?

unclog drain shower

Few plumbing related issues are more annoying than showering in a standing pool of water due to a clogged shower drain. Shower drains can easily clog due to hard water deposits, soap and shampoo buildup and hair.
Here are a few things you can do:

  • Remove the drain stopper (the grill over the drain in the floor) or drop stopper with a screwdriver.
  • Using a flashlight, look into the drain for obvious clogs. If you haven’t done this in a while, you will likely see a lot of hair. This is usually the cause of the slow draining, but even if it isn’t, it is a good idea to remove hair from the drain periodically.
  • Snake out the clogging material. We recommend keeping a drain “snake” handy under the sink. This can be a simple and inexpensive flexible plastic stick with hooks on the sides and a ring at the top for pushing and pulling, or it can be a professional and costlier retracting or twisting steel cable. If your pipes are old and clogging is chronic, a durable hand cranked snake may be right for you. We recommend that any chronic plumbing problem be addressed by Ben Franklin Plumbing. We are fast and efficient and save you time, the headache and having to do it all over again. Remember that the drain under the grate often takes a right angle turn just below the floor under the tub or shower stall, so your snake needs to be very flexible. As you snake the pipe, you may find larger and more solid matter deeper in the pipe. Keep going until you stop pulling up hair and other gunk. Run water down the drain to check if the problem is solved. If so, replace the drain and you are good to go.
  • Use a plunger. If other solutions don’t work, you can take advantage of the power of hydraulic pressure to push through clogs in the drain pipe. Simply let the water run until there is a shallow pool in the shower. Ensure the grill or stopper over the drain is removed. Then place a plunger over the opening. We recommend the kind that looks like a large rubber bell with a narrow opening at the bottom. This design creates much more force in the pipe than a standard plunger. Keep in mind that you are forcing pressure down the pipe, so you might not be pulling the clog up to the surface but further down to a wider waste pipe that can easily carry the gunk away. On the other hand, plunging may bring the clog up to where you can snake it out.
  • Using natural solutions to dissolve the clog. Before you reach for an expensive and harsh drain cleaner on your supermarket shelf, try a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar. First let the water drain out of the pipe, at least partially. Pour 3/4 of a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by about a half cup of distilled white vinegar. Plug the drain firmly while the chemical reaction takes place. After about a half hour, pour about four cups of boiling water down the drain. This may remove the clog.

If these tips don’t bring the results you want, call us. In many cases, a Ben Franklin plumber will be able to resolve a shower drain clog faster than it took you to read this blog!