More often than not, it is always best to shun the expense of hiring a plumber if possible. This is because cleaning a shower drain yourself is not a hard nut to crack as you might think. Most of the clogged shower drain issues can be handled by simple and direct methods and tools.
However, once you have unclogged and cleaned your shower drains, you should work on avoiding or lessening the chances of blocking them again. But what is the best way to clean drains in shower?
Before we look at the best way to clean drains in the shower, let’s see what causes drain blockages in the first place.
What Causes Clogging in Shower Drain
Clogging in the shower drain is often caused by a build-up of soap scum, hair, and other dirt. For instance, long hair clogs can easily block your shower drain while the soap worsens the clogging by causing the hair to stick to the drain wall more easily than it could possibly without soap.
With continued use of the shower, the passage of water becomes obstructed by the build-up of hair and soap scum until a blockage results. However, if your shower drain clogs repeatedly despite the several unclogging and cleaning, or if there are multiple clogs in your home drains, it may be a sign of a more serious clog in your main sewer line.
Minerals dissolved in water can also build up to cause insoluble masses that accumulate to eventually cause a clog in your shower drain. Besides, tree roots planted around your home can also cause extend their root growth into your underground pipes. As the roots grow bigger they cause slow draining of the water from your shower to cause clogging and pipe damage.
What to Do if You Suspect a Blocked Shower Drain?
The first thing to do when you suspect your shower drain is clogged is to check your drain for any visible obstruction. For instance, clumps of long hair are often the common suspect. If you can see anything on the outside, check underneath the drain cap and into the drain. Possibly use a flashlight to see whatever is causing the clogging and unclog it.
Secondly, you should double-check that your shower drain is open. Is there space between the drain stopper and the pipe for water to flow efficiently? How you find out about this depends on the type of drain and stopper you have in your shower. While some drains come with a stopper that you can unscrew and lift up completely, others come with a switch under the faucet that opens and closes the drain. Check whether your shower drain has some kind of stopping mechanism and ensure that the stopper isn’t the one accidentally blocking the drain.
If you have cleared any visible obstructions and ensured the drain is completely open but water is still not draining, it is time to unclog your shower drains.
Best Way to Clean Drains in Shower
In order to unclog your shower drain and attain the best result, you require a combination of more than one of the methods below.
1. Pour Boiling Water Down the Drain
Pouring boiling water down the shower drain breaks down the soap or grease that has accumulated to cause blockage of the drain.
How to Unclog Shower Drain Using Boiling Water
- Heat water on the stove until it boils
- Pour the boiling water down your shower drain
- Ideally, use a funnel or something to contain the water while you pour. If you have any expensive shower or bathtub accessories, you never want to spill the boiling water on them.
Keep in mind that when used on its own, this method may not be as effective, especially if you are handling a serious clog that has a lot of matted hair and has accumulated over a long time. Regardless, it may partially clean the clog and work effectively when combined with another method stated below.
2. Use a Plunger
The use of a plunger is determined by the nature of blockage, where the clog is in the drain while the design of your drain will determine the success of your plunging. However, if the clog is located deep in the shower drain and is made up of hair and soap scum, you might find it difficult to attain enough suction for plunging the clog effectively.
How to Unclog Drain in Shower Using a Plunger
- Ideally, add petroleum jelly to the edge of the suction pad to get a better seal of the toilet plunger and drain opening.
- Add water to the shower so that the rubber part of the plunger is submerged
- Plunge strongly
In my own experience, plunging tends to have the least success rate when it comes to shower drains, but it is always best to give it a try since the time and expenses involved are insignificant.
3. Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda and vinegar is a more natural method that is the alternative solution to the use of chemicals.
How to Unclog a Shower Drain Using Baking Soda and Vinegar
- Make a solution of a cup of baking soda and pour it down the shower drain
- Let it rest for a few minutes
- Pour a cup of vinegar down the shower drain as well
- Wait for a few hours and see if the hair clog gets dissolved and unclogged
- Clean out the shower drain by pouring down boiling water
Even though this method is eco-friendly and won’t any damage to your plastic pipes, you may still end up using chemical solutions to unclog your shower drain.
4. Use Chemicals
You can buy a strong chemical cleaner from your local hardware store or supermarket to help clean your shower drain. However, diligence is required when using these chemicals since most of them are harsh chemicals.
- Instant Power Hair & Grease Drain Opener
- Drainbo Drain Cleaner
- Unique Super Digest –It Safe Drain Opener
- Clean Earth Earthworm Family-Safe Drain Cleaner
- Rootor Professional Drain Opener
How to Unclog your Shower Drain Using Chemicals
- Follow the directions on the packaging and ensure to only use a little. The amount to use will, however, vary.
- Wear goggles and rubber gloves before handling the chemical
- Do not mix your chemical as they may produce a poisonous gas after a chemical reaction
- Pour the recommended amount down your shower drain
Keep in mind that these commercial drain cleaners can cause damage to your metal pipes, especially if this method is used alone. Although the use of chemicals to unclog your clogged drain is often a quick, easy, and affordable method, it is best to minimize their use by avoiding frequent drain blockages.
5. Use a Hook
Using a hook is one of the oldest methods of fixing shower drain clogs and has a reasonably higher success rate.
How to Unclog a Shower Drain Using a Hook
- If the clog is deep down the shower drain and you can’t reach it by hand, you can try pulling it out using a wire hanger.
- You can improvise a hook using a wire coat hanger
However, this method is not the best for unclogging shower drain blockages caused by a mineral buildup.
6. Use a Plumber’s Snake
Using a plumbers’ snake is another affordable way to clean drains in the shower while keeping your expenses low. Besides, this method has a higher success rate than most methods.
How to Unclog Shower Drain Using a Plumber’s Snake
- Push the plumbers’ snake down the drain until you reach the blockage
- Turn the makeshift drain snake to hold the clog and bring it back up
- Run boiling water to test the shower drain and ascertain that the clog is completely removed
7. Take off the Drain Cover and Pull Out the Clog by Hand
This method is quite successful although it involves the use of hands. Therefore, it is advisable to first wear rubber gloves.
How to Unclog Shower Drain by Hand
- Remove the drain cover
- You might require removing the middle screw that may be available in some shower drains
- Look inside the drain and locate the blockage
- You can use a flashlight if necessary
- If the clog is within your reach, pull it out with your fingers
- If it is located deep insides, thus out of your reach use method number 5
This is the best way for unclogging clogs used by small objects or hair in shower drains but is not as effective at fixing clogs occasioned by a mineral build-up. Therefore, you resort to using chemicals or another method.
8. Hire a Plumber
If you are not a DIY enthusiast or you just don’t want to get dirt taking your drain apart, or you are uneasy to use chemicals, or the clog has refused to unclog, then you can call in a professional plumber. This could be your last resort and by far the least affordable method. Moreover, it is also the least trouble!
How to Prevent Future Shower Drain Clogs
As the saying goes, “prevention is always better than cure” it is advisable that once you have cleaned your blocked drain, don’t neglect to reduce the chances of your shower drain getting clogged up again. Ideally, get a drain protector if you currently don’t have one. The shower drain cover will catch hair, soap scum, and other dirt from clogging your shower drain.
Besides, buying a soap dish can help too in preventing future clogs in your shower drain. This is because soap is a major contributor to clogs as it aids the sticking of hair together into large clumps that cause clogging. Moreover, having soap sliding around on the floor of your shower can lead to serious bathroom accidents!
We hope you had a great time reading through these tips on the best ways to clean drains in the shower. Without a doubt, no one likes to clean clogged shower drains but with regular maintenance, you can prevent your shower drain from clogging. Fortunately, our advice will help you handle the clogging of your shower drain with speed.