When your shower is not draining properly, your first inclination may be to call a plumber.
Well, what if we told you that you can probably fix this issue yourself?
First things first: how do you know if you have a clogged drain? Simple: you’ll find yourself standing in a puddle during a shower. This is a classic indicator of a clump of dirt, hair, soap, and/or grease somewhere in your pipes.
As annoying as they seem, clogged drain issues are easy to solve. Chances are, you already have all the tools you’ll need in your house. Plus, most viable solutions only take a few minutes to complete.
Don’t believe us? Here are eight simple fixes for a clogged shower drain!
1. Use a Plunger
We won’t lie to you—using a plunger to clear a clog has a low success rate. That said, it’s so easy to do that it’s always worth a try!
Before you get to business, add a thin layer of petroleum jelly around the suction pad. This will help with keeping the plunger in place. Then, add water to the shower and start plunging vigorously for about a minute.
The effectiveness of this method will depend on the nature of the blockage. If you’re dealing with a hair clog, for instance, you may not get enough suction. Plunging also depends on the design of the drain and where the clog is.
2. Pour Boiling Water
Sometimes, pouring boiling water down the drain will break down the clog. Either way, this is another method that doesn’t require much effort.
All you need to do is boil some water and pour it down the drain. Ideally, you should use a funnel or something else to contain the water. This will prevent it from spilling over your bathtub or shower accessories.
By itself, boiling water is unlikely to clear a clogged drain. Still, it may break down soap or grease that’s holding the clog together. In this case, one of the other methods we outlined here will finish the job.
3. Improvise a Hook
Using a hook is one of the oldest methods for cleaning a shower drain. Unlike the previous two tips, it has a fairly high success rate as well.
First, you’ll need to make your hook. The simplest way to do so is to fashion a hook at the end of a wire coat hanger. Once your hook is ready, stick it down the drain and try to “fish out” the clog.
This is one of the most effective ways to deal with clogs made of hair and dirt. However, it won’t help with clogs caused by mineral build-up.
4. Pour Baking Soda and Vinegar
When it comes to shower problems, using baking soda and vinegar is a common solution. Think of it as a natural alternative to cleaning chemicals.
Start by pouring a cup of baking soda down the shower drain. Wait for a few minutes, then follow it up with a cup of vinegar. Give the treatment a couple of hours to work, then top it off with some boiling water.
With some luck, this ecologically preferable method should get rid of the clog. If you have plastic pipes in your bathroom, this won’t cause them any damage.
5. Remove the Clog By Hand
This is another method that’s more likely to work than not. A word of advice, though: you’ll want to wear rubber gloves for it.
Your first move should be to remove the shower drain cover. Some drain covers have a screw in the middle, so have a screwdriver ready. If there are no screws, you can use a screwdriver to pry the cover off.
Once you’ve removed the cover, use a flashlight to look inside the drain. If the clog is within reach, try to pull it out with your fingers. This is an effective way of removing small objects or hair.
6. Go With Chemicals
Some drain issues are so annoying that they require the best solutions. One of these solutions is to use a commercial drain cleaner.
You can find chemical cleaners in most supermarkets and hardware stores. Follow the directions on the packaging to find out how much you need to pour down the drain. Don’t mix chemicals—this could create a poisonous gas.
As long as you’re following instructions, using chemicals is easy enough. That said, they can damage your drainage system, especially if used repeatedly.
7. Use a Plumbers’ Snake
You may know a plumbers’ snake as an “electric eel” or “toilet jack.” No plumber leaves the house without it, but you can also use it yourself.
Before using the snake, remove the drain cover as explained above. Then, push the snake down the drain until you encounter resistance. Once you reach the clog, turn the handle and bring the snake back up.
To make sure you solved the issue, run some water to test the drain. Sometimes, the snake will only break up the clog, leaving a part of it in the pipes. Other times, the snake will push the clog down the drain instead of bringing it up.
8. Call a Plumber
Already tried all the methods on this list without much success? If so, your best bet is to contact a residential plumber.
Of course, you can also contact a plumber earlier than that. For example, many people aren’t comfortable using chemicals or taking their drain apart. Even if you are, calling a plumber is the only option that’s guaranteed to work.
If you intend to contact a plumbing service, do it as soon as possible. As a general rule, drain issues will only get worse over time. The sooner you deal with the problem, the easier it should be to resolve.
Other Things to Try if Your Shower Is Not Draining
The above eight methods are the only reliable ways of clearing a clogged shower drain. Doing anything else is a risk to your drainage system. If you want to avoid future clogs, consider getting a drain protector.
Want to know more about what happens if your shower is not draining? Need your shower drain unclogged right away? We can help you—contact us here, and we’ll get back to you soon!