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How to Unclog Shower Drain

Shower drain with the cover pushed aside clogged with hair.

Is your morning routine disrupted by a stubborn clogged shower drain? Does standing water pool around your feet while you shower, making you dread the daily ritual? A clogged shower drain can be a frustrating and unpleasant problem to deal with, but fear not! We’ll walk you through how to unclog a shower drain naturally using simple household items. If these techniques don’t work, you can always schedule a drain cleaning service in Dallas, TX, with your friends at Pure Plumbing!

Understanding the Culprits Behind Clogged Shower Drains

Before we dive into the methods of unclogging a shower drain, it’s essential to understand what causes these pesky clogs in the first place. Several factors contribute to shower drain blockages, including:

Hair and Soap Scum

Hair is one of the primary culprits behind clogged shower drains. As you shower, hair naturally sheds and can accumulate in the drain combining with soap scum to create a stubborn clog.

Dirt and Debris

Over time, dirt, grime, and debris from your body and shower products can accumulate in the drain, reducing water flow and causing blockages.

Hard Water Deposits

Hard water can leave mineral deposits in your pipes and drains, leading to reduced water flow and potential clogs.

Foreign Objects

Sometimes, small objects or items like jewelry and shampoo caps can accidentally find their way into the drain, causing blockages.

Safety First: Gather Your Tools and Protective Gear

Before attempting to unclog your shower drain, gather the necessary tools and safety gear to ensure a smooth and safe process. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • Rubber gloves
  • Plunger
  • Bucket
  • Drain snake

Method 1: Remove Visible Blockages

Step 1: Remove the Shower Drain Cover

Start by removing the drain cover carefully. Depending on your shower design, you may need to use a screwdriver or simply lift the cover with your fingers.

Step 2: Reach In and Pull Out Debris

Put on your rubber gloves and reach into the drain. Use your fingers to pull out any visible hair, soap scum, or debris that you can reach. Dispose of these materials in a trash bag.

Method 2: Plunge the Drain

Step 1: Seal the Overflow Drain

If your shower has an overflow drain, use a wet cloth to seal it. This ensures that the plunging action is focused on the clog.

Step 2: Create a Seal

Place the plunger over the drain and press down firmly to create a seal. Ensure that there is enough water in the shower to cover the plunger’s cup.

Step 3: Plunge

With a firm grip on the plunger handle, push and pull it vigorously to create suction. Continue plunging for about a minute or until you feel the clog break free.

Method 3: Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

Step 1: Boiling Water Pre-Treatment

Before using baking soda and vinegar, boil a pot of water. Once it’s boiling, carefully pour it down the drain to help soften and break up the clog.

Step 2: Baking Soda Application

Measure about half a cup of baking soda and pour it into the drain.

Step 3: Vinegar Reaction

Follow the baking soda with a cup of distilled white vinegar. Be prepared for a fizzing chemical reaction as the two substances react to break down the clog.

Step 4: Let It Sit

Allow the baking soda and vinegar mixture to sit in the drain for about 15-20 minutes, working on loosening the clog.

Step 5: Boiling Water Flush

Boil another pot of water and pour it down the drain to flush away the dissolved clog and any remaining debris.

Method 4: Use a Drain Snake (aka Plumber’s Snake)

Step 1: Insert the Drain Snake

Insert the drain snake into the drain, pushing it as far as it will go. Use a hand crank to rotate the snake and break up or hook onto the clog.

Step 2: Pull Out the Clog

Slowly and carefully pull the drain snake out of the drain. You should ideally bring the clog out with it. Dispose of the clog in a trash bag.

Tip: Ever heard that a wire coat hanger can work in a pinch? A plumber’s snake is a tool designed for sink and shower drain clogs. Anything else — even something as delicate as a wire hanger — can damage your drains if used inappropriately.

Prevention Tips to Avoid Future Clogs

Now that you’ve successfully unclogged your shower drain, here are some preventive measures to help you avoid future clogs:

  • Install a drain cover: A drain cover with fine mesh can catch hair and debris before they enter the drain.
  • Regularly clean shower drain cover: Remove and clean the drain cover every few weeks to prevent buildup.
  • Use a hair catcher: Place a hair catcher or trap in your shower to catch hair before it reaches the drain.
  • Run hot water: After each shower, run hot water for a few minutes to help prevent soap scum buildup.
  • Consider a water softener: If hard water is a persistent issue, consider installing a water softener to reduce mineral deposits in your plumbing.

The Dangers of Liquid Drain Cleaner

While liquid drain cleaner may seem like a convenient solution to unclog your shower drain, it comes with several dangers and drawbacks that you should be aware of.

Most liquid drain cleaner contains harsh chemicals such as sodium hydroxide (lye) or sulfuric acid. These chemicals can cause skin and eye irritation, and their fumes can be harmful to inhale. Using them without proper protection can lead to injuries.

The chemicals in liquid drain cleaners are corrosive and can damage your plumbing over time. This can result in costly repairs or even the need to replace pipes.

Not only that, but liquid drain cleaner may not be effective against stubborn clogs, especially those caused by hair and soap scum. They often only provide a temporary solution and can leave behind residue that contributes to future clogs.

Many liquid drain cleaners are harmful to the environment. Improper disposal can contaminate water sources and harm aquatic life.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

While these DIY methods are effective for most clogs, there are situations where it’s best to call a professional plumber, such as:

  • Persistent clogs that won’t clear with DIY methods.
  • Clogs deep within your plumbing system or sewer line.
  • If you suspect tree roots are causing the blockage.
  • Anytime you’re unsure about handling plumbing issues yourself.

Enjoy a Clog-Free Shower With Pure Plumbing

A clogged shower drain can be a nuisance, but with the right tools and techniques, you can unclog it naturally and restore your daily showering routine. Remember to take preventive measures to avoid future clogs and, when in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Enjoy your clog-free showers, and may you never be late to work again due to a slow-draining shower!

If you’re facing a stubborn clog that refuses to budge, or if you’d rather leave the dirty work to professionals, consider scheduling drain cleaning services in Dallas, TX, with Pure Plumbing. Our expert plumbers have the skills and tools to tackle even the toughest drain clogs. Contact us today for reliable and efficient plumbing solutions.