If you find yourself standing in water while trying to take a relaxing shower, you may have a clog in your shower drain that is keeping the water from exiting properly. Hair is the biggest enemy of the shower drain, so the chances are good that it could be the root of your problem. Before you call a plumber to save the day, here are some of the best ways to unclog the shower drain yourself.
There are several ways to unclog a shower drain, but before you get started, you’ll need to remove the drain screen or stopper to gain access to the drain. Usually, a screwdriver is all that’s required to dismantle the screen, stopper, or cover. Sometimes a hair clog will come up with the screen or stopper, and the problem is solved.
If that doesn't do the trick, look down the drain to see if you can find what’s causing the problem. Turn on an overhead light or use a flashlight to inspect the drain. Once you've found the culprit, use one of these five home remedies to unclog the shower drain.
The Best Tools to Unclog the Shower Drain
1. Your Fingers
If you see a hair clog, reach in with your fingers to pull it out. Feel free to put some kitchen gloves on first. It’s going to be a little slimy from the soap and shampoo buildup! If you can’t reach it or don’t have gloves on hand, try using a straightened wire coat hanger with a bent tip to catch and unclog shower drain hair.
You can also try to use a toilet plunger to unclog the shower drain or at least move the blockage closer to the surface where you may be able to reach it. It may take a few minutes of constant plunging to get results.
3. Plumbing snake
A plumbing snake can also do the trick to unclog the shower drain. This tool can be purchased or rented at hardware or home improvement stores, and it is also handy for fixing toilet clogs.
4. Natural ingredients
If you think your clog might be caused by hair or other organic matter, try to unclog the shower drain with baking soda and vinegar. Go to the kitchen, grab some vinegar and baking soda, and heat a kettle of water. Pour about a cup of baking soda down the shower drain, followed by an equal amount of vinegar. Let the solution bubble and foam for a few minutes, and then follow with the kettle full of hot (but not boiling) water. Let the mixture sit for a couple of hours. If the drain still isn’t flowing freely, repeat the process. If you don’t have any vinegar, you can also try equal amounts of salt and baking soda, followed by hot (but not boiling) water.
5. Wet/dry shop vacuum
Try a wet/dry shop vacuum, which is one of the best ways to unclog a shower drain. These types of vacuums can suck up liquids as well as dry debris and can act as a powerful plunger for your drainage issues. Set the machine for vacuuming liquids, and make sure the appropriate liquid filter is on. Place the hose over the drain before you turn it on. The suction from the wet/dry vacuum should work its magic and bring the hair or other blockage to the top of the drain.
Performing DIY unclogging of shower drains is never a fun task. To avoid shower drain clogs, always run hot water down the drain at the end of each use. If your drain does not have a good screen or cover, you can purchase plastic or metal ones at most hardware and home improvement stores or in the household goods section of many grocery stores. Taking good care of your home’s plumbing can help save you time, money, and frustration.
For coverage of your home plumbing system’s everyday wear and tear, turn to American Home Shield’s® home warranty plans. Explore our pricing and plans to determine which one makes the most sense for your home and budget. The great news is that each of our plans includes plumbing coverage, so you’ll be all set.
For more plumbing tips beyond how to unclog a shower drain, check out how to do DIY shower and bathtub repair how to clean the showerhead.