How to Unclog a Shower Drain in 5 Easy Ways

Do you shower in standing water? Your shower drain is most likely clogged. Follow these simple steps for how to unclog your shower drain before you call a plumber.
Shower head with running water

If you find yourself standing in water while showering, you may have a shower drain clog that is keeping water from exiting properly. Hair is the biggest enemy of the shower drain, so chances are good that hair is at the root of your shower drain problem. Before you call a plumber to save the day, here are a few tips for how to unclog that shower drain yourself.

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First, you’ll need to remove the drain screen or stopper to get access to the drain. Usually, a screwdriver is all that’s needed to dismantle the screen, stopper or cover. (Sometimes, a hair clog will come up with the screen or stopper and the problem is solved).

Look down the drain to see if you can find what’s causing the problem. Turn on the overhead light or use a flashlight to inspect the drain.  Once you've found the culprit, use one of these five tips for unclogging the shower drain yourself.

1. Use Your Fingers

If you see a hair clog, reach in with your fingers to pull it out. If you can’t reach it, try using a straightened wire coat hanger with a bent tip to catch the clog.

Unclogging a shower drain by hand

2. Plunger

You can also try to use a toilet plunger for unclogging the shower drain or at least move it closer to the surface where you can reach it. It may take a few minutes of consistent plunging to get results.

3. Plumbing Snake

A plumbing snake can also do the trick. A plumbing snake 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, one of the best ways to unclog a shower drain is to 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 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

You can also try a wet/dry shop vacuum (not a regular vacuum). Set it for vacuuming liquids, and place the hose over the drain before you turn it on. The suction from the wet/dry vacuum may release the clogged shower drain.

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.

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