How To Unclog a Shower Drain

Having trouble with a clogged shower drain? You’re certainly not alone. This common issue has been the bane of many a morning routine for Aussies across the nation.

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as standing in stagnant, ankle-deep water as you try to enjoy a refreshing morning shower to start the day. Or, worse yet, waiting impatiently for the water to finally drain away after you’ve switched off the taps. But don’t worry – we’ve compiled some helpful and budget-friendly tips on how to tackle this common household problem yourself.

From simple DIY methods to unclog your blocked shower, to knowing when to call in the professionals, we’ve got you covered with some effective drainage solutions.

Unblock Shower Drains with Boiling Water

First and foremost, start simple. The easiest methods can often be more effective than you might imagine. With this in mind, the first approach to try when dealing with a clogged shower drain involves boiling water.

All you need to do is put the kettle on, wait for the water to boil, and then pour it carefully down the clogged drain. If your blockage is minor, meaning it consists of basic materials like soap scum, hair and grime, the water’s heat can help dissolve it and restore free flow through your pipes. Easy as that!

However, a word of caution here: if your home has PVC pipes, extreme heat can potentially soften them. So, make sure to pour the boiling water in stages, enabling it to work through the blockage, rather than all at once. This way, you give the pipes time to cool down, preventing any potential damage.

Use a Plunger

A plunger isn’t just handy for unblocking toilets; it can work wonders on clogged shower drains too. Plungers use air pressure to dislodge troublesome blockages. To use this method, first make sure you’re using the right type of plunger (a toilet plunger has an extra part that won’t work as effectively for a shower blockage), then ensure there’s enough water in the shower to cover the base of the plunger.

This helps to create a strong seal. The next step is to remove the shower grates, position the plunger over the drain and give it a few vigorous pumps. This action can help to dislodge the blockage and get your water flowing freely again.

As the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Using a plunger can take a few attempts to break up the clog, especially if it’s been building up for a while. As with all DIY methods, patience is key.

Baking Soda + Vinegar = Unblocked Drain

Should you find the blockage particularly stubborn against hot water and the plunger, it’s time to break out the heavy artillery. And by heavy artillery, I mean common household items baking soda and vinegar. This dynamic duo creates a fizzing reaction that can help dislodge and break up blockages in your shower drain. Here’s what you need to do, step by step:

  • First, pour half a cup of baking soda down the hole. For this approach to be successful, you need to ensure that the soda makes its way down the drain as far as possible. Make sure you take any shower grates off before you begin.
  • Second step is to follow it up with half a cup of white vinegar. As the vinegar reacts with the baking soda, it produces a fizzing action that can help to break down the persistent blockage.
  • The next step is probably the easiest of all. All you need to do now is wait about 15-20 minutes for the mixture to do its job. This is a good time to put the kettle back on, this time for a coffee, or catch up on a quick episode of your favourite show.
  • Finally, rinse with hot water to wash away the clog and residue. This method can be surprisingly effective, and it’s a safe, eco-friendly option to unclog your shower.

If you’ve tried all three approaches – boiling water, plunger and baking soda + vinegar – and the clog still exists, you may be facing a more serious blockage that requires professional expertise.

Arranging a licensed plumber that specialises in blocked drains could be your best course of action. They will typically have specific tools and equipment – everything from drain snakes to hydro jet cleaners – to locate, diagnose and resolve any deep-set clogs.

What About Chemical Cleaners?

Of course, there are numerous chemical-based cleaning products that you can buy from the supermarket that get the job done as well. However, while they can be especially effective at clearing away stubborn blockages, we recommend using them as a last-resort DIY option.

The potential impact they can have, not only on your pipes but also on the environment, make chemical drain cleaners an option you should use sparingly.

If you do opt to go down this path, always remember two things:

  1. Follow the instructions on the product label to the letter.
  2. Never mix different products together as the different chemicals could potentially result in a dangerous reaction.

The Victorian Government offers some helpful information on safe chemical use in the home, which may be worth reading before trying with your shower drain.

Blocked Drain Prevention is Better Than Cure

While unclogging your shower drain can often be a straightforward process, wouldn’t it be great to avoid the issue completely? As with many things in life, prevention is better than cure, and that is particularly true of blocked drains in the home. So, here are a few preventive measures you can adopt:

  • Regular cleaning: A consistent and easy cleaning routine can do wonders in preventing clogs. Make sure to clean your shower drain regularly, removing floor wastes such as hair, soap scum, and other debris before they get a chance to build up and cause a blockage.
  • Use a drain cover: Covers or strangers for shower drains are simple tools that can save you a lot of hassle. They work by catching hair and larger particles, preventing them from going down your shower drain and leading to a potential clog.
  • Periodic hot water flush: Make it a habit to pour boiling water down your drain once a week. This regular maintenance can help dissolve minor clogs before they become significant issues. Just remember to be cautious if you have PVC pipes, and pour the water gradually to avoid causing any damage.

Implementing these measures will not only keep the water beneath your shower grates running smoothly but also save you from potential plumbing issues down the line.

Unblocking a shower drain doesn’t have to be a stressful task. With the right drainage solutions and preventive measures, you can easily keep your water flowing freely.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work.