You were taking a shower and realised that water was rising above your feet. There’s something wrong inside the pipe, making it hard for water to flow down the drain. Water sloshing around your feet isn’t something enjoyable, and you’re looking to get rid of it as soon as possible.
If your shower drain is blocked and you’re unsure how to unblock it, this blog post is for you. We’ll highlight some of the most popular techniques to help you clear the drain without using any professional assistance or tools.
But let’s first take a quick look at some common reasons why shower drains get blocked.
Common causes of a blocked shower drain
Here is what causes a blockage in most cases:
There’s nothing much you can do about the hairs that fall out and go down the drain. With time, hair starts accumulating in pipes and eventually forms a blockage. People with long hair are more likely to face this problem. Whatsoever, hair buildups are the most common reason people face shower drain blockage.
Foreign objects can also cause a clog. Items like baby diapers, soap bars, soap scum, and small toys can get stuck in the pipe and block water flow. However, you can easily prevent foreign objects from entering the drain with the help of a shower strainer.
Limescale deposits are another major cause of drain blockages. People living in hard water areas often complain about the limescale buildups. It takes some time for calcium deposits to grow and reach a level where they start affecting water flow.
How to unblock a shower drain: 5 easy methods
Before you go ahead and try a method, be sure to remove the shower drain protector and inspect the pipe. Here is what you need to do next:
1. Remove superficial clog with your hands
The drain stopper can be removed with hands. Use a screwdriver in case the shower drain cover is attached with screws. Lift the cover and inspect the pipe with a flashlight. If you see hair buildup around the surface, remove it with your hand. Wear gloves to make the job easier. You would be able to unblock the drain if the hair buildup is what caused the blockage.
You can also use a wire coat hanger to create a nice little hook by straightening it up. Use the wire hanger to reach and pull out the hair. If you don’t have a wire hanger, get a plastic drain snake with a hook to perform this action. Wear protective gloves to avoid scratches.
Use a flashlight to locate the clog. A good technique is to insert the wire into the drain with the hook side down and then wiggle it around clumps of hair. Hair sticks together when they turn into a clog. You’ll be able to pull it up.
If you still fail to unblock the drain after removing hair buildups, then there must be a clog deeper down in the pipe. A wire snake wouldn’t be able to reach that clog.
2. Use a drain plunger
A drain plunger with a simple rubber cup is a classical plumbing tool used to unblock drains with hydraulic pressure. When you use it the right way and pull it up, it pulls the drain water upward. Water is forced downward when you push the plunger down. All you need to do is pull it up and push it down a few times. Unblocking a shower drain with a drain plunger is a little technical process. Here is what you need to make it simple and easy:
- Place the plunger in a way that its cup covers the drain opening.
- Use petroleum jelly around the edge of the cup of the plunger to create a tighter seal.
- Once pressed around the drain opening, pump the handle gently.
- Move the handle up and down a few times, then push with force for around 20 seconds.
- Make sure you don’t break the seal.
- Now lift up the plunger.
- Remove the clog with your hands or with a wire snake.
These techniques work most of the time and bring up whatever is clogging the drain. To check whether or not your shower drain is fully unblocked, turn on the shower and see how it drains.
3. Try a hand snake
If the plunger didn’t work or you don’t have a plunger, consider using a hand snake or a plumbing snake. You can easily find one at nearby hardware or home improvement store. It is a long cable with a hand crank. The following are easy steps you need to follow in order to get your shower drain unblocked with a plumber’s snake:
- Remove the drain cover and overflow plate.
- Insert the cable into the drain until you feel resistance.
- The end of the snake will latch onto the hair.
- Crank the handle clockwise to reel in the cable.
- Remove the clog from the end of the cable with your hands.
4. Prepare a homemade cleaning solution
We can find a variety of drain cleaners in the market. However, it’s not advisable to use them unless a professional plumber recommends it. Those chemical drain cleaners can hurt your drainage pipes.
So, if nothing has worked for you and the blockage is still there, make a cleaning solution using two simple kitchen items: baking soda and white vinegar. Follow these steps to unblock your shower drain:
- Pour hot water down the drain to prepare it for the next step.
- Take 290 grams of baking soda and dump it into the drain.
- Let the soda sit there for a few minutes.
- Now pour half a cup of white vinegar down the drain.
- Right after that, pour half a cup of hot water to flush the vinegar.
- Use the rubber stopper to plug the drain white vinegar and baking soda are doing their job.
- Let the mixture be there for at least an hour.
- Remove the rubber stopper and pour one litre of hot water down the drain at once.
A mix of vinegar and baking soda is a natural cleaning solution to avoid blocked drains. If you don’t have any tool to reach or clear the clog, use these liquids to fix blocked drain-related problems.
Important note: don’t use boiling, boiling water to flush your drain as it can melt your PVC pipes.
5. Call a drainage company
Drain blockages can be complicated and hard to remove. Households can’t always unblock a drain using these DIY techniques. If you don’t have the energy or time to care for a clogged shower drain or these techniques fail to clear the clog, call a drainage expert immediately.
At Flow Drain, we use highly specialised equipment to clear some of them ost
How to avoid a blocked shower drain in the future
You’ve already seen how much inconvenience a blocked drain can create. You indeed don’t have time to battle with stubborn blockages now and then. So, what you can do is to avoid things that block a drain. Here are some tips for you to prevent a blocked shower drain down the road:
- Since hair buildups are the most common reason for blockage in shower drains, avoid combing or brushing your hair in the shower. If you have to, hold the ends of your hair in one hand.
- Reduce the amount of debris that goes down your shower drain. Don’t clean comb or brush in the shower – use a bin instead.
- Don’t let kids play with really small toys or objects that can pass down your shower drain stopper. Small pieces of jewellery like piercing studs can also cause a blockage.
- Use a proper drain cover that only allows water to go down the drain. Consider replacing an old, rotten drain cover with a new one. Mesh drain screens usually are good at catching stray hair before they enter the drain.
- Flush your drains regularly to prevent shower residue from developing into hard deposits.
- Keep your drainage system properly maintained. Households often don’t pay attention to their drainage systems. With time, small objects like hair, debris or limescale keep building up in the drains and eventually grow into an ugly blockage. So, keep inspecting your drainage pipes from time to time to avoid any significant blockage.
Frequently asked questions
People ask so many questions when it comes to shower drain blockage. We’ve decided to answer some of them right here in this post.
- What can I put down my shower drain to unclog it?
You have two options: use a commercial drain cleaner or rely on a more natural, environment-friendly solution such as a mix of vinegar and caustic soda. We recommend the use of a harsh chemical-free solution to protect your drainpipe and health.
- What can dissolve hair in a drain?
A drain cleaner can dissolve hair clog in a drain. But why use a cleanser when you can achieve this goal by combining vinegar and baking soda. Just pour a cup of baking soda down the clogged drain. Let it sit there for a few minutes, and then add a cup of vinegar. After waiting for a few hours, flush the drain with hot water. It is probably the best way to unclog a shower drain naturally.
- Can I pour boiling water down the drain?
It is not advisable to pour boiling water down the drain. If you’re unable to clear the clog, call a professional drainage company to get the clog removed without damaging your plumbing systems.
- How do you unblock a shower drain with standing water?
It’s hard to apply the techniques mentioned above when you have a large pool of standing water in your shower. To drain water, wear a pair of gloves and try to remove any debris, soap, or hair that are blocking the drain. Wait for the standing water to drain. You can also use a toilet plunger to clear a drain quickly.
- Why is water not going down my shower drain?
The water isn’t going down your shower drain because it is clogged. You have to unblock the drain. Please follow the above-mentioned DIY methods to unblock a shower drain. Call a reliable drainage company to get immediate solutions.
About Flow Drains
Flow Drains is one of the most reputable drainage companies in the UK. Sharing valuable information with households is just a small part of doing. Our primary focus is to ensure our customers get fast, dependable, and affordable services 24/7. If you’re in the UK and looking for a quick response drainage company to unblock your shower drain, feel free to reach us at 0208-050-3195.