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How to Unclog a Shower Drain

A clogged shower drain is a real annoyance for any home owner simply looking to take a shower. Shower drain clogs are caused by a buildup of soap and shampoo, dead skin cells, dirt and hair. Hair is easily the leading cause of shower drain clogs. Humans lose a lot of hair during a shower and when it goes down a shower drain, it usually collects in the drain trap – a U-shaped pipe below the shower floor that looks a lot like the trap below your vanity or bathroom sink. If you’re wondering how to unclog a shower drain, read through the below methods.


How to Unclog a Shower Drain

Unclog a Shower Drain with a Coat Hanger

You don’t need special tools to unclog a shower drain. You probably have what you need in your nearest closet. Using a straightened wire coat hanger can be an effective way to remove shower drain clogs.

  1. Straighten a wire coat hanger and bend one end into a hook no more than a half-inch wide.
  2. Remove the drain cover. If there are screws holding it in place, remove them and be careful not to drop the screws down the drain.
  3. Push the coat hanger hook down the drain until you hit the bottom of the trap.
  4. Twist the hanger back and forth and in a circular fashion and try to hook the clog.
  5. Carefully pull the hook up and out of the drain and shake the hair clog off into a waste basket.
  6. Repeat the process going deeper each time and adjusting the size of your hook until there is no more hair on the end of your hook.
  7. Run hot water down the drain to be sure the drain is no longer backing up.

If you are unable to unclog a shower drain using this method you may want to try a plunger instead.

Use a Plunger for Clogged Shower Drains

Learning how to unclog a shower drain can be as simple as plunging the drain. If you have a plunger at home, it can be a great way to fixed a clogged shower drain among other drains in your home.

  1. Plunge the drain with a sink plunger. A sink plunger is different from a toilet plunger and has a shallow red rubber cup and a shorter handle than a toilet plunger.
  2. To be effective, the plunger’s cup needs to be under at least an inch of water, so the best time to plunge a shower drain is when there is standing water in the shower pan.
  • Place the plunger cup over the drain to form a tight seal and plunge down once to release the air trapped in the plunger cup.
  • Grasp the plunger handle firmly and quickly pump the plunger up and down 15 to 20 times before pulling the plunger away from the drain.
  • If successful, the plunger will have pushed the clog through the pipe and you’ll see the water drain away quickly. If the water still doesn’t drain, repeat the process several more times or try the following methods.

Use Drain Cleaners for Shower Drain Clogs

You can also use chemical drain cleaner products and homemade drain cleaner solutions to fix a clogged shower drain. The directions on the bottles explain how to unclog a shower drain with drain opener chemicals. As you will be working with chemicals, this method is the most hazardous and should be done as a last resort.

  1. Wear rubber gloves and wear eye protection.
  2. Carefully follow the directions on the bottle.
  3. Avoid inhaling the chemical fumes.
  4. Be patient. Caustic chemicals often require a lot of time to work effectively.
  5. If the chemical drain opener doesn’t work and you have to call a plumber, be sure to inform him that you’ve poured chemicals into the drain and show him the bottle so he can take proper safety precautions.

Call a Plumbing Professional for Clogged Drains

Do you still have a clogged shower drain? If you've tried all the methods above and you are still fighting with a shower drain clog, it might be best to call a local plumbing professional at Roto-Rooter to help. Our trained plumbing experts are available 24/7 and can help you with all your plumbing needs, including clogged shower drains.