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The Toilet Plunger: A Best-Kept Plumbing Secret for Clogged Showers

December 14, 2015

If you or anyone you live with has long hair, you probably already know that smelly shower and bathtub clogs are a fact of life. Over time, hair combined with soap and shampoo creates an icky scum that accumulates inside the walls of your bathroom drain pipes. A shower's plumbing system is completely adequate to handle all the water from a shower, so if it starts to drain more slowly than usual and leaves you in standing water at the end of your shower, you know that a clog is affecting your drain. Luckily, a simple household tool can help you get things flowing again… and it should already be in the bathroom.

Use a Plunger

Using a plunger is the first step to take for shower clogs. If you plunge your shower drain at the first sign of it moving slowly, you can avoid or postpone the need to take apart the drain assembly or call a Roto-Rooter plumber. We recommend every home have a toilet plunger that has a funnel on the end for the most effective toilet plunging. You can use this same plunger in the shower or bathtub. Simply fold the funnel into the plunger cup.

Effective Techniques for Using a Plunger

While plunging may seem intuitive, many individuals do not use their plunger effectively. When you use a plunger, you need an airtight seal for the pressure generated by the plunger to move the clog. Make sure you pay attention to the following techniques:

  • Use a wet rag to block the overflow opening in a shower/tub combination.
  • Put three or four inches of water in the bottom of the tub or shower to help give a better seal.
  • Make sure the plunger seals tightly around the drain opening and keep the seal intact while plunging.
  • Start with a soft plunge to get the air out of the plunger then plunge vigorously 10 to 15 times.
  • Repeat this process three or four times before you move on to other methods.

Other Remedies

You can reduce the frequency of a shower clog by following these preventative maintenance steps:

  • Put a strainer over the drain to catch hair.
  • Pour three to five boiling hot gallons of water down the drain once a week to help loosen and dissolve grime that is accumulating on the edge of the pipes.
  • Use an environmentally friendly drain cleaner once a month to help prevent grime from building up in the first place. You can call our Roto-Rooter plumbers for an effective product if you aren’t sure which product you should select.
  • Pour a small amount of bleach into the drain and let it sit overnight in the p-trap. Be careful to avoid getting bleach on stainless steel fixtures since it can stain them.

Got a clog you can’t clear? Roto-Rooter professionals are available 24 hours a day to handle any bathroom plumbing emergency. We’ll get there fast and fix the problem right. Give us a call at 800-768-6911 or schedule a service with Roto-Rooter online.

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