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How to Clear a Clogged Shower Drain

Nothing can ruin your day like a clogged shower drain, when all you’re looking for is a long, hot shower to start things off right. The culprit is likely a combination of hair, body oils, soap, and shampoo residue, which accumulate over time until the clog is large enough to prevent the easy passage of water through your drainage system. There are a number of simple fixes you can try to clear the clog yourself before calling for a plumber, but the location and severity of the blockage may require the services of a professional.

Tips For Clearing A Clogged Shower Drain

Unclogging your shower drain isn’t for the faint of heart, as the thought of removing a soap-laden clump of hair can trigger the gag reflex for the inexperienced. Fortunately there are a number of solutions that can work to force the clog away from the drain opening, while others require you to take a more hands on approach.

Heat Things Up

Bring a full kettle or large pot of water to a boil and carefully pour the water in a slow steady stream down the bathtub drain. If the clog is petroleum or soap based, the boiling water should dissolve or liquefy the blockage and effectively clear your pipes.

Note: This remedy is for use only on metal pipes. PVC or ABS pipes may become distorted causing unwanted leaks from water that is hotter than 180 degrees. If you’re unsure of which type of pipes you have in your home, err on the side of caution and skip this step.

Get A Reaction

While caustic, chemical drain cleaners are harmful to your plumbing and the environment, there is a mild chemical reaction that can be used to clear a clogged shower drain. The combination of vinegar and baking soda can break up minor clogs when mixed in equal parts. Mix the two together (contents will react immediately) and pour down the drain before putting the stopper in place. Wait about an hour and fill the bathtub with hot water, then remove the stopper. The combination of the water pressure and the baking soda/vinegar mixture may serve to loosen the blockage.

Take The Plunge

After removing any visible hair that has accumulated around the drain opening, run enough water in to the tub to cover the bottom of the plunger. Holding a wet cloth over the holes in the overflow drain cover, place the plunger over the drain hole and plunge up and down several times to dislodge any buildup of hair, soap, or other debris.

Go Fishing

You can attempt to manually remove the clog by first removing the stopper. The crossbars below the stopper are a common collection place for hair, undissolved bits of soap, bandages, and other debris, and if you can see the blockage, all you need is the right tool to fish it out, including any of the following:

  • Crochet hook (make sure to have a firm grip to avoid dropping the utensil in the drain)
  • Needle nosed pliers
  • A coat hanger bent to a small hook.

Northern Virginia Plumbing Services

If, after trying a number of home remedies, your shower drain remains clogged, contact HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited for professional plumbing service. Customer satisfaction is guaranteed, and we offer 24/7 emergency service for when you need us most.

HVAC Unlimited Inc.
Professional and courteous. Patiently explained issue and showed me what the fix was. Definitely will use again.
Paul - Manassas, VA
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