Home Guides How To Unclog A Shower Drain

It is a very uncomfortable experience having your shower water collecting at your ankles especially the foamy one that has soap and dirt. Unfortunately a clogged shower drain happens to all of us due to a collection of hair, soap and other particles that stick together and block the drain. So once this happens, what is the best way to unclog a shower drain?

Unclogging shower drain

The easiest option would be to call a plumber. Plumbers have studied how to unclog shower drains and many have been doing this for long. The only problem is they will need to be paid and a number of home owners would much rather save on the pluming bill and do the unclogging themselves. If you are one of those home owners, then this is should set you on your way to unclogging that drain.

The Options you have:

  • Use a plunger
  • A wire or coat hunger
  • Remove cover and clean the drain
  • Pour hot water
  • Vinegar and baking soda
  • Drain snake
  • Drain cleaner/ Chemicals

How to Employ the Options:

A Plunger

Using a plunger is very easy, simply put the plunger over the drain hole and run the water (preferably warm water) then push down and pull up the plunger to suck up whatever may be blocking the drain. Do this about 10 times to ensure that the entire drain system is cleared. Whatever comes out of the pipe should be removed and thrown away, do not try to wash it down the drain, it will only creating blockage with time.

A wire or Coat Hunger/Drain claw

If you have a wire about a meter long and the diameter of a coat hunger, this will help but in the absence of such a wire, most homes have coat hungers, you can sacrifice one of them to help clean the drain. Straighten the wire but make a small hook at one end the push the wire down the drain, hook first and use the hook to pull out whatever maybe causing the clog. In most cases it is hair. Keep on doing this until the water begins to flow freely. If you are using a drain claw (this can be purchased from a hardware store) just push it down the drain and keep on twisting it. The drain claw is designed to trap hair and similar participles that may cause clogging, you can then pull them out and you drain should be clear.

Remove Drain cover and Clean

Since hair is usually the cause of blockage, it makes sense to simply remove the drain cover/sieve and clean the drain. To do this you will need a pair of thin pliers to hold onto the grill of the drain cover and then twist anticlockwise till it is unscrewed. Once the cover is off you will be able to see what is clogging the drain pipe, you can then use a wire or something similar to clear the drain.

Pour Hot Water

This will be effective if the drain is not too clogged. Do not use boiling water however as this may melt sealing wax in the pipes. Let the water stand in the kettle for about 5 minutes before you pour it down the drain and after 5 – 10 minutes you can use a plunger.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

This works based on the fizzy reaction from the combination of vinegar and baking soda. Pour 1/3 a cup of vinegar into a pitcher or similar container and add an equal amount of baking soda into the container then immediately pour the contents down the drain before the fizz dies out. Speed is of the essence for this to be successful.

Drain snake

You can find a drain snake at a hardware store and most plumbers use this most of the time. A drain snake can go up to 25 feet into the drain unclogging the entire system.

Cleaning Chemicals

You can also opt to purchase drain cleaning chemicals from the hardware store and pour down the drain. Be warned however that these may have an effect on your skin so wear cloves and follow the instructions provided to the later.


Like the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure” the best way to unclog a shower drain would be to prevent it from getting clogged in the first place by following these tips:

  • First comb your hair before you jump into the shower to get rid of loose hair that would end up clogging the drain.
  • Do not wash animals in the shower
  • Pour hot water down the drain at least once a week
  • Don’t wait for it to get so clogged before you use the plunger

One or all of these methods should be effective but if all fails, call in the plumber he knows best how to unclog a shower drain.

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