Five Proven Ways to Unclog Your Shower Drain
Trying to take a relaxing shower? It’s not so easy when you have a clogged shower drain! If you think you’re dealing with a clog, check the speed at which water drains. If it has slowed or won’t drain at all, leaving you with standing water at the bottom of the bathtub, you have a clog somewhere.
We have five expert solutions for unclogging your shower without damaging the plumbing.
What causes shower clogs
There are a few possible reasons why your shower drain has clogged, but it’s likely that there is an obstruction. Hair, soap residue, dirt, and grease can accumulate and block the path water needs to take out of the tub.
Whatever the case, here are five plumber-recommended drain cleaning methods.
- Unclog using snake auger
- Remove thick particles
- Use a drain cleaner
- Pull out the clog by hand
- Use shower drain plunger
Unclog the drain using a snake auger (toilet jack)
One approach for unclogging a bathtub or shower drain is to use an auger, sometimes called a snake or toilet jack. These tools can be manual or electric. If the auger is electric, you will require a power drill to operate it.
The first step to unclogging the drain is to insert the auger into it. Keep threading it into the pipe until you feel it hit the clog. If you are using a manual tool, you will turn the handle to do this. If you are using a power drill to operate the auger, you will use the trigger switch to rotate it inside the pipe. You should feel resistance during this process. That means the snake is catching debris in the pipe.
Once the toilet jack turns more easily, the drain has likely cleared. Now you’ll slowly move the handle (or power drill) in the opposite direction to get the auger out of the drain. The materials clogging the drain will come out with the snake.
Once you’ve removed the tool from the drain, discard the clog in the trash. Don’t try to put it back down another drain somewhere else in your house! Run hot water down the shower drain to make sure you got everything out of the pipe. If you notice the water is still draining slowly, you may have to try the process again to get the remaining bits.
There are a few pitfalls to using an auger. If inserted into the drain incorrectly, it can scratch the inside of the pipe. That scratch will eventually corrode and impact the structure of the pipe. If you choose to use an electric snake, be careful! We’ve seen cracked pipes from incorrect usage. What was a simple clog can become something much more serious if dealt with in the wrong way. Please give us a call! Our expert plumbers are ready to help.
Remove thick particles or debris
If you’re dealing with a thick clog, you might need to give it a pre-clean before using a snake. Think of it as a head start! You may be able to see some of the debris near the top of the pipe. First, you’ll need to take off the drain cover. Then, we recommend putting on a pair of rubber gloves and fishing around for whatever you can grab. Use only your hands! Inserting a wire hanger or any other tool into the drain could damage the pipe.
If you’re able to pull materials out, dispose of them in the trash. Then, you may find you’ve cleared enough space to try the snake for the rest of the debris.
Use a drain cleaner
Not all drain cleaners are suitable for shower drains. That’s a plumbing myth! The most common drain cleaners are packed with chemicals, which may clear your pipes, but they also damage them in the long run.
We like BioSmart, which is much kinder to your plumbing system and the environment. The Drain Unblocker uses a combination of enzymes, not chemicals, to break down organic debris. You might also consider BioDrain, which is chock-full of naturally occurring microbes that digest organic material. It can be used weekly for maintenance. You could also try a baking soda and vinegar solution to try and break up what’s blocking the flow of water.
If you’re not sure what to pour down a troublesome drain, we can help! Give us a call for expert advice on drain cleaners that maintain the health of your home’s plumbing.
Pull out the clog by hand
You might be lucky and realize you’re not dealing with a significant clog. That’s great news! You may see hair tangled near the top of the drain. Try pulling it out with your fingers. If the water drains, then you’ve fixed the clog.
If the water doesn’t drain after your initial attempt, then you can attempt using a plumber snake, following the steps outlined above. If the snake doesn’t get the job done, or you’re concerned about proper usage of the tool, please call a plumber for assistance.
Use shower drain plunger
A shower plunger is another option when it comes to clearing blocked drains. When you place the plunger over the drain, you’ll want enough water in the bathtub to cover the lip on the rubber cup. From there, the method is quite similar to plunging a toilet. You’ll move the handle up and down quickly, forcing the debris in the drain to loosen.
Just like with a snake or auger, you’ll need to run hot water down the drain to see if the clog has been removed. If the water is still draining slowly, you may need to try again or use another method.
The one issue with using a plunger is that it doesn’t remove the clog, it just loosens the materials so it will move farther down the pipe. If the debris doesn’t move out of your plumbing system, you’ll find it a very short-term solution. We recommend contacting a plumber if the job is more complex.
How to prevent shower drain clogging
There are several things to try so you don’t have to deal with a clogged shower drain. First, get a drain cover. They’re inexpensive, made of plastic or rubber, and catch hair and debris before they wind up in your pipes.
Avoid dumping waste in the tub. This might sound like a no-brainer, but waste includes things like dirty water from a mop bucket, dustbins, or shaking out a towel after a trip to the beach. Those little bits of debris can build up over time.
Proper drain maintenance goes a long way, too. We encourage you to pour some of a chemical-free cleaner or baking soda and vinegar mixture down the shower drain each time you clean the bathroom. If you build it into your routine, you’ll have fewer clogs in the future.
Let the professionals unclog your shower drain
Always Plumbing technicians harness HDD Drain Vision Cameras to analyze drains from the inside. Once we locate the problem, we use BioSmart to dissolve the debris, so you have clear pipes with no threat of damage to your plumbing system. Book an appointment today!