Shower Not Draining? Here’s How to Easily Unclog It

You’ve got a problem when you’re taking a shower and the water stops draining. That standing water means your shower drain is clogged with hair and debris and needs to be cleared out.

The good news is that you may already have the tools in your cabinets that you need to get your pipes flowing again. Also, unclogging a shower drain is often much easier than most people think, and it helps you to avoid the cost of calling a plumber, which is a good thing.

You can resolve most clogs by employing relatively straightforward techniques with basic tools. While you may need to invest some time and effort into DIY fixing your blocked shower drain, it’s usually worth it.

How to Unclog a Shower Drain When There’s Blockages

What Causes Clogged Shower Drains?

Have you ever wondered what causes a clogged shower drain? Some of the culprits might surprise you.

» Hair

Long hair, in particular, can easily clog shower drains. Soap scum further worsens the problem as it causes hair to stick to the drain walls easily.

» Soap Scum

Soap scum is a significant cause of clogs in shower drains. Over time soap residue on the walls of the drain pipe can get entangled with hairs, skin cells, and other contaminants leading to blockages.

» Hard Water

Are you taking all the precautions to avoid shower drain clogs, but you’re still dealing with blockages? The water you’re using might be the issue. Hard water deposits minerals and micro solids on the walls of your shower drain pipe. Consider using a water softening agent to avoid this problem. Contact Conejo Valley Home Services Plumbing & Rooter team for more information on water softeners.

» Trash

Trash or small items dropped down shower drains are a very common cause of shower drain clogs. Be extra careful with dental floss, toothpaste caps, shampoo caps, razor coverings, and other small items when taking a shower.

How to Know if Your Shower Drain is Clogged?

Have you smelled a terrible odor coming from the drain when shampooing your hair? Or have you noticed that you’re standing in a few inches of water each time the water runs? You’re probably dealing with a clogged shower drain.

Clogged shower drains often take a while to form, so you might not notice the problem immediately. Here are three signs that a clog is forming in your shower:

  • Bad Smells
  • Slow draining
  • Puddles of Water

Once the drainage problems have begun, they will usually only worsen over time unless you take action. The sooner you deal with the problem, the easier it will be to resolve.

Ways to Fix a Clogged Shower Drain

Depending on how nasty the clog is, you may need to follow these techniques and repeat them a few times to unclog a shower drain.

1. Pour Boiling Water Down the Drain

When hair, dirt, grease, soap residue, and other debris get stuck in your shower drain, boiling water may be all you need to unclog the drain. Since it’s the most straightforward fix, this should be your first move when trying to unclog a shower drain.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Boil half a gallon of water
  • Pour the boiling water directly into the shower drain
  • Turn on the faucet to see if the water will drain steadily. If it is still draining slowly, repeat the process.

Caution! If your shower drain attaches to PVC pipes, don’t try this method, as the boiling water could damage the plastic.

If the boiling water fails to unclog your shower after the second try, the clog is too stubborn for the boiling water approach, and it’s time to move to the next step.

2. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar is an excellent natural alternative to chemical drain cleaners on clogged drains. To your convenience, these two products are everyday household items you likely already have in your home. Here’s how to unclog a shower drain using baking soda and vinegar:

  • Pour one cup of baking soda down the shower drain
  • Pour one cup of white vinegar down the shower drain
  • Seal the opening with a stopper or cover
  • Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes
  • Remove the plug and run hot water down the drain

Repeat the process if it seems you’re making some progress after completing these steps.

3. Use a Plunger

There are three types of plungers: the toilet plunger, the accordion plunger, and the classic flat-bottom sink plunger. While a flat-bottomed plunger is best for this application, a toilet plunger can also help you unclog a shower drain.

Here’s how to unclog your shower drain using a plunger:

  • Add some petroleum jelly to the edge of the suction pad to get a better seal
  • Pour a few inches of water around the plunger to aid suction
  • Begin plunging vigorously
  • Run some water into the shower drain. If it drains smoothly, then you’re all set.

If it doesn’t drain, plunge some more or move on to another method.

Also Read: How To Fix A Toilet That Won’t Completely Flush

4. Try the Plumber’s Snake

Is the shower clog still putting up a fight? You might require the strength of a plumber’s snake to handle the clog. As its name suggests, the tool has a coiled spiral snake that goes down the drain. Once it hits an obstruction, you can crank the handle to dislodge the debris and pull it out of the drain.

Don’t have a plumber’s snake? You can easily create a DIY plumbing snake with a wire coat hanger. Use a pair of pliers to unwind the hanger into a long piece of wire. Bend one end into a hook so that you can be able to grab onto the debris.

  • Feed your tool of choice down the drain a few feet at a time. Be careful not to scratch your drain pipe with the wire.
  • If your tool hits an obstruction, try hooking on to it, and fish out as much of the clog as you can
  • Follow it up with boiling water down the drain

Remember that this method won’t work well against a mineral buildup blockage.

5. Try Chemicals

You should only use drain cleaning chemicals to unclog a shower drain as a last resort. While they may seem like a quick and easy solution, liquid drain cleaners often do more harm than good.

Drain cleaning chemicals could permanently damage your drains, especially if you’re using older plumbing. Chemical drain cleaners also contain high concentrations of sulfuric acid, which can burn your skin if exposed.

Avoid using a chemical drain cleaner to unclog a shower drain if the drain is completely blocked, as all you’ll do is contaminate the sitting water with chemicals.

6. Call a Professional Plumber

If the above DIY methods fail to work, or you believe you’re not up to the task, you should call an expert plumber for drain cleaning services. While this is the least affordable option, it can save you time and hassle when nothing seems to work, and you don’t want to start messing around and potentially damage your home’s plumbing.

Knowing how to unclog a shower drain on your own can be very helpful, but sometimes you need help from a professional. If you need a reliable plumbing contractor to inspect and fix a clogged shower drain, don’t hesitate to contact Conejo Valley Home Services Plumbing & Rooter, your local plumber in the Conejo Valley and surrounding areas at (805) 499-0448.

Should I Use a Chemical Drain Cleaner?

While chemical drain cleaners are popular, affordable, and often work, they may not be the best solution in the long run.

While homeowners may rely on store-bought chemical drain cleaning products to unclog blocked drainages in their homes, the professionals at Conejo Valley Home Services Plumbing & Rooter recommend avoiding them. This is because they could corrode pipes over time, causing a bigger problem.

Preventing Future Clogged Drains

Once you have unclogged your shower drain, it is time to work on minimizing the chances of the problem recurring.

So what can you do to prevent future draining problems in your shower?

  • Put a hair guard over the shower drain. A hair guard would prevent the hair from entering and gathering in the shower drain. Clean the hair guard regularly for best results.
  • Run hot water down the shower drain regularly to flush out debris.
  • Use the vinegar and baking soda method at least once monthly as a preventative measure.
  • If your home’s water has a high mineral content, consider investing in a water softener.
  • Don’t treat your shower as a trash can.

Still Having Trouble with Your Clogged Drain? Contact the Experts at Conejo Valley Home Services Plumbing & Rooter!

Conejo Valley Home Services Plumbing & Rooter is your local emergency plumber specializing in drain cleaning, leak detection, hydro jetting, sewer maintenance, and repiping. Serving the Conejo Valley, San Fernando Valley, and surrounding areas, Conejo Valley Home Services Plumbing & Rooter brings over 40 years of experience combined with reliable emergency service 24 hours a day.

Give Conejo Valley Home Services Plumbing & Rooter a call for all of your plumbing issues at (805) 499-0448!

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15:43 29 Jun 23
Easy to set up an appointment. Came on time and called ahead when they were enroute. Work was done promptly and professionally. Technician kept working area clean and cleaned up after service.
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02:40 15 Jun 23
Professional and on time. Diagnosed the problem and gave several alternatives for repair.
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15:19 11 May 23
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01:12 05 Apr 23
Very professional and incredibly responsive. We were without hot water and they took care of our situation incredibly quickly. It was not a simple process and they put in overtime to get us done. Very happy and will certainly use them again.
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01:41 24 Mar 23
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04:08 19 Feb 23
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Linn GriffinLinn Griffin
04:30 08 Feb 23
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Terry HunsakerTerry Hunsaker
03:16 07 Feb 23
Exceptional service from making an appointment with Nancy to Nick repairing leak under kitchen sink. Extremely professional, arrived on time, wear booties (not necessary for me), offered to wear a mask, respectful and neat. Reasonable fair pricing which turned out to be nothing major. I will use them again if needed. Thank you.
Fred GARDERESFred GARDERES
17:29 22 Jan 23
Our 20 year old furnace broke down for good over the Christmas break. And it got wet and cold…This team was able to come and quote a new heating system and have it installed, in under 6 days!They were on time, very respectful, and kept us posted continuously throughout the project.We would definitely use them again, and we strongly recommend them!
Michael MartinezMichael Martinez
00:42 07 Jan 23
Art did an excellent job. He stayed late on a rainy day to ensure my drain was working. He talked me thru the entire process and took the extra time to locate the issue and fix it as best he could. He got our drain working and gave us the long term solution and cost. I’d definitely use this company and specifically Art again.
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