What Causes a Clogged Shower Drain?
More often than not, a clogged shower drain is most likely the work of a large obstruction hindering the flow of water through the pipes. Oily substances and food scraps that solidify are the usual culprit for kitchens, but for a shower drain, the main cause for a clog would be obstruction from accumulated bath and drain material.
As you shower, you may notice loose strands of hair, oily conditioners, and shampoo residue that leave soap scum can go down the shower drain and clog it. These bath products, along with hair, lint from clothing, and general dust, can accumulate and congeal over time, leading to shower drain clogs. However, there are other causes to consider when dealing with a clogged drain.
If you've dropped a small piece of jewelry, used those coffee scrubs, or had quantities of toilet paper go down the drain, then chances are these are what is causing your drains to clog. If you can see the obstruction within reach, don't run the water just yet! You may be able to save your drains with a few simple tricks.
How to Unclog Shower Drain
Before you unclog a shower drain, remove the drain cover and make sure you have rubber gloves on. Remove any standing water from around the shower drain, and free up the shower area for you to have ample space to work with.
Plumber's Snake or Drain Snake
If you can easily see what is obstructing your drains, then you may be able to pull out the obstruction using a drain snake. A drain snake typically has barbed edges or a hook on the end to grab a hold of the obstructing object. Do your best attempt at hooking the obstruction using a drain snake, without pushing the obstruction further down the drain.
If you don't have access to a drain snake, then a bent wire coat hanger will work just as well. Bend the hanger to form a small hook, then use the hanger to remove the obstruction in a pinch! This method works best when you've dropped a ring or other valuable into the drain, and can help you get the item back.
Baking Soda and Vinegar Hack
If you can't see the clog, or you're not willing to stick anything down the grimey, slimy drain, do the baking soda and vinegar hack to clear out that clogged drain quickly and easily. Baking soda and distilled white vinegar makes for a terrific natural drain cleaner that will clean out the hair and soap scum, and deodorize the drain at the same time!
To clean clogged drains with this hack, first remove the drain cover. Pour 1-2 cups of baking soda straight into the drain. Immediately follow with the same amount of distilled white vinegar, then let the chemical reaction occur.
Allow the solution to sit for 10-15 minutes, then pour boiling water down the shower drain to clear out the clog. The boiling water should melt away any oily substance, and rinse off the shower drain with a steady water flow without the use of harmful chemicals.
Boiling Water and Salt
Sometimes, all you need is some boiling water to unclog your shower drains. Clogged shower drains are typically caused by oils from bath products that have accumulated and congealed over time. Pouring boiling water and rock salt down the shower drain can get the oil and hair clog out without any additional chemicals or ingredients.
If your drain does not have standing water, and is a slow drain, then you can pour a cup of rock salt down the drain, followed by a pot full of boiling water. The boiling water loosens the grime and any clog in the drain, while the salt acts as an abrasive scrubber that cleans through the underground pipes. This hack also clears the muck from the sides of the pipes, and deodorizes the main sewer line as well!
Drain Cleaning Solution
Take your drain stopper aside, don a pair of thick rubber gloves, and grab a strong drain cleaner that will eat away at the clog in a flash. When home remedies just won't work, use commercial drain cleaners that promise to get rid of any kind of drain clog - no matter the gravity of it!
However, because commercial drain cleaners are highly potent, we recommend you use gloves, masks, and protective eyewear when handling these as they may be corrosive to skin and lungs. Unclog a shower drain using the manufacturer's instructions, and rinse the shower area well afterwards to ensure there is no harmful residue from cleaning.
For drains that really won't unclog, or if you're not willing to work with harsh chemicals that may be harmful to your health when not used properly, avail of professional plumbing services instead. Professional plumbers can get rid of the clog with no hassle, and you'll have a quick-draining shower that works as good as new!
Professional plumbing services also come in handy when you've dropped a valuable down the drain that you want to get back. Plumbers will be able to get your jewelry or trinket from the drain, while fixing up the clog at the same time. For these cases, it is best to call a plumber instead of attempting to fix the problem yourself.
How to Prevent Clogged Shower Drains
There are easy ways to prevent drains from clogging, one of which is to use a slotted drain cover that allows water to pass through easily, but prevents debris and other small objects from entering your pipes. Slotted covers would be your first defense in preventing clogs.
Another way is to use a clog-prevention gadget, like a drain wig, to catch up long hair build up before it can form clogs in your pipes. These gadgets catch stray strands of hair, fibers, and other debris from going down the drain, and you can easily dispose of the gadget immediately after.
Above all, regular maintenance is the best way to prevent clogs from happening. Keep your pipes clean, and you'll be able to prevent future clogs from happening again. Regularly have your pipes checked for obstructions, and have professional cleaners maintain the cleanliness of your pipes to ensure your pipes are free from any accumulated debris.