How to Unclog a Shower Drain

Five Methods:Superficial ClogsWire SnakePlungerHand SnakeBaking Soda Solution

Shower drains can become clogged with minerals from hard water, hair and soap. Each of the methods below can help you unclog a shower drain. If the first method does not work, move on to subsequent solutions.

Method 1
Superficial Clogs

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    Wait for several minutes after showering so that the water can slowly drain. The project will be easier if the pipes are free of water.
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    Grab a screwdriver. Remove the drain stopper with the screwdriver.
    • If you have a drop stopper, lift the stopper and find the screw at tub level. Unscrew it and the top section of the device.
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    Use a flashlight to look down the drain. Most clogs are caused by hair. If the hair is sitting near the surface, remove it with your fingers.
    • If your shower clog is caused by a larger object that is caught in the drain, you may want to call a plumber. A homemade or purchased snake may not be able to remove solid objects.
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Method 2
Wire Snake

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    Find a wire hanger. Unwind it so that you have a long straight piece of stiff wire.
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    Use a pair of pliers to bend the very end of your wire. This is used to catch hair clogs, and will be easier if it is a very small hook.
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    Hold the flashlight with 1 hand. With the other hand, reach the wire snake into the drain, targeting any large clumps of hair.
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    Hook the hair and pull up. If the hair clog is tight enough to block water, it will stick together as you pull it up.
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    Repeat the process several times, until you no longer remove any hair. Pour a little water down the drain to see if water is moving more freely.

Method 3
Plunger

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    Make sure the outside of the drain is wet. If it is not evenly wet, pour some water into the tub.
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    Press a plunger around the drain. It should seal within the first few pumps.
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    Move the handle up and down 5 to 10 times.
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    Lift up the plunger. Look into the drain with your flashlight to see if there is anything you can remove with your wire hanger.
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    Try running water through the drain to see if the clog has loosened and dispersed.

Method 4
Hand Snake

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    Purchase a hand snake at your local hardware or home improvement store.
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    Place the snake at the mouth of the drain.
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    Feed the snake into the drain. Stop when you get resistance. You have reached the clog.
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    Turn the crank on the hand snake in a clockwise direction.
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    Continue turning the crank as you pull the snake out of the drain. Your clog should be carried up with the end of the snake.

Method 5
Baking Soda Solution

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    Attempt to clear the clog with homemade, natural drain cleaner before trying harsher chemical drain cleaners. Remember most shower clogs are made of hair, which can be loosened and pulled up.
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    Wait until the water is emptied from the pipes.
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    Pour 3/4 cup (292g) of baking soda down the shower drain.
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    Pour 1/2 cup (118ml) of distilled white vinegar down the drain.
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    Plug the drain with a rubber stopper while the chemical reaction takes place. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
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    Boil a kettle of water. Use approximately 2 to 4 cups (0.5 to 1l).
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    Remove the stopper. Pour the contents of the kettle down the shower drain at once. The water should remove the clog.
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    Use a flashlight to view any remaining clogs. Try to pull up loosened hair clogs with the wire hanger snake. Screw your drain back into place when the water runs freely.

Tips

  • Consider covering your drain with a fine wire mesh drain cover to avoid hair clogs in the future.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire hanger
  • Screwdriver
  • Flashlight
  • Plunger
  • Hand snake
  • Pliers
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Rubber stopper
  • Tea kettle
  • Water
  • Fine mesh drain cover


Article Info

Categories: Plumbing Drains Waste and Vents