In most cases, a shower drain stops draining due to dirt, hair, grime, or soap scum buildup. Knowing how to fix a clogged shower drain is an important skill for any homeowner. Luckily, there are plenty of DIY methods to address a slow-draining or clogged shower.
In some scenarios, professional help is needed. John C. Flood offers a full suite of professional plumbing services to keep your home in the best shape possible. You can always reach out for assistance with clogged drains.
Read on to find the answers to your shower drain questions, including “Why is my shower not draining?” and “How to fix a clogged shower drain?”
Why is My Shower Not Draining?
The first step in learning how to fix a clogged shower drain is to understand why it’s clogged in the first place. Here are a few possible reasons:
As you use your shower, it’s normal for hair, grease, or soap scum to build up in your shower drain. All of these things are capable of causing your shower to drain slowly or not at all. This is the most common culprit of a slow draining shower.
If you have trees around your home, their roots may have advanced enough to cause gaps in your underground pipes. This is a serious plumbing issue and requires immediate professional attention to resolve.
Mineral Build-Up or Decaying Pipes
If your home’s plumbing system is old, there can be a lot of mineral buildups that cause the drain to slow. You could even have some signs of decay in your plumbing that require professional attention.
If you see any black, gross sludge pooling out of your drain, this is a possible sign of a sewage clog. If you ever see this, stop using your shower and contact a professional plumber right away. Sewage clogs can create serious health issues and are also a sign that your plumbing system isn’t operating as it should.
You may have to remove the drain cover on your shower drain to see and remove this debris. A screwdriver is often required to remove certain drain covers. Always use rubber gloves and exercise caution as you learn how to fix a clogged shower drain. It’s important to be careful you don’t damage your drain.
How to Fix a Clogged Shower Drain
1. Begin by Removing Trapped Hair and Debris
The first step to fixing a clogged shower drain is to check for any trapped debris and remove it. If you see a soapy mass of tangled hair on the surface of your drain, you can easily remove this. The obstruction should be the only thing causing your shower to stop draining.
If this doesn’t resolve the issue, then you may need to go a little deeper. Unscrew or open the drain cover. Check to see if there is any clog that you can remove with your fingers. If you see a clog a little deeper that’s too far to reach with your hand, you can create a hook using a wire coat hanger. Fish out any of the debris before replacing the shower drain cover.
Run your shower to see if this resolves your issue. If not, move on to the following steps.
2. Use Boiling Water
Put a pot or a tea kettle on the stove and start boiling some water to help resolve your clogged drain. Some clogs in your shower drain are too deep to snag with a finger or coat hanger, but some boiling water can clear away soap scum deep in the drain. Without taking the shower drain cover off, pour some boiling water down the drain and see if it resolves your problem.
Keep in mind that you should avoid pouring boiling water down a drain that has PVC pipes. The immense heat of boiling water can be too hot, causing damage to your piping. If your shower is connected to PVC piping, try turning your shower on at its hottest setting instead.
If this doesn’t resolve your clogged drain, move on to the next step.
3. Try a Drain Snake
A drain snake can be a great way to clear a clogged shower drain. All you need is a power drill to operate the plumber’s snake properly. Alternatively, you can use a plastic drain snake by hand to clear away the clog.
Start by inserting the drain snake until it encounters the obstruction. You should be able to feel some resistance. To secure the clog, turn the handle of the drain snake a few times. Once you do this, keep pushing the snake down the drain until you fully feel resistance.
This means you’ve likely encountered the full blockage. The snake has typically cleared the clog when the resistance starts to lessen again. Spin the handle a few more times to be sure you’ve captured all of the clogs.
Remove the drain snake slowly to avoid losing any big bit of the clog. Take out the debris after the snake has fully emerged. Pour some hot water down the drain to test if the clog is gone. If it is, replace the drain cover. If you’re still dealing with a clog, move on to the next step.
4. Vinegar and Baking Soda
Use equal parts baking soda and vinegar to create your own cleaning solution. After removing the drain cover, sprinkle in the baking soda and then follow with the vinegar. It should begin fizzing right away. Let the solution sit for an hour or more before running hot water down the drain.
When to Call a Professional for a Clogged Shower Drain
In most cases, you can teach yourself how to fix a clogged shower drain with DIY methods. If all of the above methods failed to resolve your clogged shower drain, then you may have a more serious issue.
If that’s the case, you’ll need the help of a professional. John C. Flood can help get your shower draining like normal. Reach out today to schedule an inspection or repair visit.