How to Clear a Shower Drain

Here at Scott English Plumbing, Inc., we get asked “how do I unclog my shower drain?” quite a lot. In fact, we get asked it so often that we decided to write up this little how-to blog post to help better explain the procedure to our customers. So, without further ado, let’s explore how you, the average homeowner, can clear your shower drain.

Step 1 – Determine the Source of the Clog

The first, and most obvious, step in clearing a shower drain is to determine what clogged it in the first place. There are several things that end up going down the shower drain that can cause a clog. Some of the most common sources of shower drain clogs include:

  • Hair
  • Soap scum
  • Hard water deposits
  • Trash and other waste

Once you have determined what is causing your drain clog, you can start attacking it at the source with the proper techniques for dealing with your type of clog.

Step 2 – Remove Hair Using a Hair Snake

If you are decently sure that hair is the cause of your clogged shower drain, then pop on over to your local hardware store and pick up a drain snake made specifically for hair. These snakes are usually plastic and have either barbed hooks or a ribbed texture in order to latch onto hair-based clogs. To use the snake, simply remove the guard for the drain and insert the snake as far as it will go into your pipe. Then remove it slowly to remove any hair. Repeat this process until the snake comes back up from the drain free of any hair.

Step 3 – Pour Boiling Water Down the Drain

The next step in clearing a shower drain is to simply pour some boiling water down the drain. Once you have removed any hair from your drain, then boil some water on the stove and simply pour the entire contents of the pot into the drain itself. The heat from the boiling water will help break up any stubborn clogs.

Step 4 – Use a Plunger

After you’ve poured some boiling water down your drain, the next step is to use a plunger to help free any remaining clog material. However, you want to make sure to use the right type of plunger for this job. The correct type of plunger to use for cleaning a shower (or sink) drain is called a cup plunger. When you imagine a plunger, this is most likely the type you think of. To plunge your shower drain, simply place the plunger over the drain and pump it like you would for a toilet clog. This creates suction (negative pressure) that can help pull clogs from the drain line.

Step 5 – Boiling Water Again

After you have plunged your shower drain, it’s time to pour another load of boiling water down it. Doing this a second time serves two purposes: it can further break apart and loosen existing clogs, and it also helps sanitize your drain line.

Step 6 – Call the Professionals

If you have tried all of the aforementioned procedures to no avail, then rather than reach for dangerous chemical drain cleaners simply call the Scott English Plumbing, Inc. team of drain cleaning professionals. We are always standing by to help and we don’t like clogged shower drains any more than you do. Give us a call and we’ll take care of your clogged shower drain right away!