How to Clear a Clogged Shower Drain
It often starts slowly. Just a little water standing around the drain during a shower. Eventually, the shower drain clogs entirely, leaving the homeowner wondering what to do. A plumber is always only a call away. But before reaching for the phone, handy types should try these easy tricks for clearing a clogged shower drain.
Start with Boiling Water
In a home with metal pipes, hot water is often all that’s needed for clogs. Boil water in an electric kettle or a pot on the stove. Pour a little water at a time down the clogged shower drain to dissolve soap scum. Don’t try this trick in showers and tubs with PVC plumbing since the heat affects the adhesive sealing the joints.
Try a Tool Next
Sometimes hot water won’t work with the home’s pipes or fails to move the clog. Buy an inexpensive snake or drain zip tool from a local hardware store to try next. Unscrew and remove any pop-up stoppers or drain covers to get better access. Feed the snake or zip tool into the drain until it hits the clog and snags it. After removing the first clump of material from the drain, keep snaking down for the tool’s full length to get everything. Run a little water to make sure the drain is clear before replacing drain covers and stoppers.
Grab a Plunger
A plunger is another great tool anyone can use to loosen a stubborn shower clog. Spread some petroleum jelly on the rim of the plunger for a stronger seal around the drain. This method also requires that the homeowner remove the shower drain before plunging. Once the drain is uncovered and the plunger is in place, fill the tub or shower floor with enough water to cover the plunger’s edge. Plunge for at least three to four minutes and then check the drain. Remove any scum and hair that’s come up and test the drain for flow. It may take a few rounds of plunging to remove everything.
Skip the Chemicals
Harsh drain chemicals claim to remove clogs with no effort. However, there’s a high chance of damage to the plumbing and shower drain cover. It’s also a bad idea for homeowners with septic tanks. Stick with simple hands-on methods or call a plumber for stubborn clogs. If wastewater rises up from the drain on its own, there is a sewage main clog or septic tank problem. Call a plumber rather than trying DIY methods.