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How to Unclog a Shower Drain?

Dealing with a clogged shower drain can be frustrating and inconvenient, but it’s a common problem that can be fixed without calling a plumber.

Whether you’re dealing with hair buildup or soap scum, unclogging shower drains is a task that can be tackled with a few simple tools and techniques.

This blog post will walk you through the steps of how to unclog a shower drain effectively and efficiently, so you can get back to enjoying your shower without any drainage issues.

Explanation of Why Shower Drain Clogs Occur

Shower drains clog occur for a variety of reasons.

Over time, substances like hair, soap scum, and hard water minerals can build up in the drain, eventually leading to a blockage.

Additionally, foreign objects like jewelry, small toys, or hygiene products can accidentally get lodged in the drain, causing a backup.

It’s essential to be aware of these potential causes and take preventative measures to avoid clogs in the first place and address them promptly when they occur.

Overview of the article

This article will cover the following main sections:

  • Common causes of shower drain clogs include hair buildup, soap scum, hard water buildup, and foreign objects
  • DIY solutions for unclogging a shower drain, including chemical drain cleaners, baking soda, vinegar, plungers, drain snakes, and natural drain cleaners
  • Preventative measures to avoid shower drain clogs, such as using a hair catcher, regularly cleaning the drain, and seeking professional drain cleaning.
  • Eco-friendly solutions for unclogging shower drains, including bio-enzymatic drain cleaners and hot water flushing

It’s essential to follow proper procedures for safety and effectiveness when attempting to unclog your shower drains.

We’ll provide step-by-step guides for each DIY solution and offer final tips for avoiding future clogs.

Common Causes of Shower Drain Clogs

A shower drain clog can be a frustrating and time-consuming problem to deal with.

It’s essential to understand what causes these clogs so you can prevent them from happening in the future.

Here are some of the most common causes of shower drain clogs:

Hair buildup in Shower Drain

One of the most common causes of shower drain clogs is hair buildup.

When you wash your hair in the shower, some of the hair will inevitably fall out and go down the drain.

Over time, this hair can accumulate and form a tangled mass that blocks the water from flowing through the drain.

To prevent hair buildup, you can use a hair catcher. A hair catcher is a device that fits over your shower drains and catches any hair that falls out during your shower.

You can easily remove the hair catcher after your shower, dispose of the collected hair, and replace the catcher.

Another tip for preventing hair buildup is to brush your hair before you shower.

This can help remove loose hairs that might fall out during your shower.

Soap scum

Another common cause of shower drain clogs is soap scum.

Soap scum is a white or gray film that can build up on the walls of your shower and the drain itself.

Over time, this scum can accumulate and create a blockage in the drain.

To prevent soap scum buildup, cleaning your shower regularly is essential.

You can use a soap scum remover to clean the walls and drain your shower.

Additionally, you can use mild soap or soap-free products, which are less likely to create soap scum.

Hard water buildup in Shower Drain

Hard water has a high concentration of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.

Over time, these minerals can build up on the shower walls and drain walls, creating a blockage.

You can install a water softener to prevent hard water buildup in your home.

A water softener is a device that removes minerals from your water, making it less likely to cause buildup in your shower.

Another option is to clean your shower drain with a vinegar solution regularly.

Vinegar is an acid that can dissolve mineral buildup and help clear your drain.

Foreign objects in Shower Drain

are another common cause of shower drain clogs. Small objects like toys or jewelry can accidentally fall down the drain and create a blockage.

Additionally, cotton swabs and dental floss should never be flushed down the drain, as they can tangle and create a clog.

To prevent foreign object buildup, you can use a drain cover. A drain cover fits over your shower drain and catches any objects that might accidentally fall down the drain.

Additionally, it’s essential to be cautious with small objects in the shower and avoid dropping anything down the drain.

DIY Solutions for Unclogging a Shower Drain

When a shower drain is clogged, there are several DIY solutions that you can try before calling a plumber.

These solutions are easy to implement and can save time and money.

Here are some of the most common DIY solutions for unclogging a shower drain:

Chemical Drain Cleaners for Unclogging a Shower Drain

Chemical drain cleaners are one of the most popular solutions for unclogging a shower drain.

They are readily available at most hardware stores and are relatively easy to use.

However, it’s important to note that these products contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful if not used properly.

Here are some precautions you should take when using chemical drain cleaners:

  • Wear protective gear: Always wear rubber gloves and eye protection when using chemical drain cleaners.
  • Ensure proper ventilation: Chemical drain cleaners can emit fumes that can be harmful when inhaled. Make sure the area is well-ventilated before using the product.
  • Follow the instructions carefully: Chemical drain cleaners have specific instructions for use. Follow them carefully to avoid any accidents.

To use a chemical drain cleaner, pour the product into the drain and let it sit for the recommended time.

Then, flush the drain with hot water to remove any remaining debris.

Baking Soda and Vinegar for Unclogging a Shower Drain

Baking soda and vinegar are natural cleaning agents used to unclog a shower drain. Here’s how to use them:

  1. Pour half a cup of baking soda into the drain.
  2. Follow it with half a cup of vinegar.
  3. Cover the drain with a cloth or a drain stopper to prevent the mixture from escaping.
  4. Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes.
  5. Flush the drain with hot water to remove any remaining debris.

This solution is not only effective but also eco-friendly.

Unclog a Shower Drain With a Hanger

According to some sources, you can unclog a shower drain with a hanger by following these steps:

  1. Straighten the hanger and create a hook at the end using a pair of pliers.
  2. Push the hanger into the drain and try to hook it onto the debris clogging it.
  3. Pull the hanger out of the drain with the debris attached if successful.
  4. You may have to repeat the process to clear the blockage completely.

This method may not work if the clog is too deep or caused by something other than hair or soap scum. In that case, you may need to try other methods, such as boiling water, a plunger, a drain snake, or a chemical drain cleaner.

Be careful not to use boiling water if you have PVC pipes, as the heat can damage them. Also, wear gloves and eye protection when handling chemicals or debris from the drain.


A plunger is another effective tool for unclogging shower drains. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Fill the shower with enough water to cover the bottom of the plunger.
  2. Place the plunger over the drain and press down firmly to create a seal.
  3. Push and pull the plunger up and down vigorously for about 30 seconds.
  4. Release the plunger and check if the water drains.

If the water drains, flush the drain with hot water to remove any remaining debris.

Drain Snake

A drain snake is a tool that can be used to remove stubborn clogs from shower drains. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Insert the drain snake into the drain and rotate it clockwise.
  2. Continue pushing the snake down the drain until you feel resistance.
  3. Rotate the snake counterclockwise to break up the clog.
  4. Continue pushing and pulling the snake until you feel it move freely.
  5. Remove the snake and flush the drain with hot water to remove any remaining debris.

Natural Drain Cleaners for Unclogging a Shower Drain

If you prefer natural solutions, you can make your drain cleaners at home using simple ingredients like baking soda, lemon juice, salt, and vinegar.

Here are two recipes:

Baking soda and lemon juice:

  1. Mix half a cup of baking soda with half a cup of lemon juice.
  2. Pour the mixture into the drain and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  3. Flush the drain with hot water to remove any remaining debris.

Salt and vinegar:

  1. Mix half a cup of salt with half a cup of vinegar.
  2. Pour the mixture into the drain and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  3. Flush the drain with hot water to remove any remaining debris.

These natural solutions are safe for the environment and your pipes.

Preventative Measures to Avoid Shower Drain Clogs

To avoid dealing with shower drain clogs, it’s essential to take preventative measures to clear your drains.

By taking the following steps, you can help ensure that your shower drains remain free of clogs and function properly for years to come.

Hair Catcher in Shower Drain

A hair catcher is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent shower drain clogs.

As the name suggests, a hair catcher is a small device that catches hair before it can go down the drain, preventing hair buildup from occurring.

Hair catchers are available in various styles and materials, including silicone, metal, and plastic.

To install a hair catcher, place it over the drain and secure it with screws or adhesive.

Ensure the hair catcher is flush with the shower floor to catch all hair that goes down the drain.

Regular Cleaning

Another important preventative measure for avoiding shower drains clogs is regularly cleaning your drains.

Over time, hair, soap scum, and other debris can accumulate in your drain, leading to clogs.

You can help prevent these materials from building up and causing clogs by cleaning your drains regularly.

To unclog your shower drains, use a drain brush or other tool to remove any hair or other debris that may have accumulated in the drain.

Then, flush the drain with hot water to help remove any remaining buildup.

Professional Drain Cleaning

If you cannot clear a stubborn shower drains clog or want to ensure that your drains remain clear and functioning properly, consider having your drains professionally cleaned.

Professional drain cleaning services use specialized equipment and techniques to remove even the toughest clogs and ensure clear drains.

Benefits of professional drain cleaning include a more thorough cleaning than what can typically be achieved with DIY methods—an inspection for potential issues that may lead to clogs in the future.

It is recommended to have your drains professionally cleaned every 1-2 years to maintain optimal function and prevent clogs from forming.

Eco-Friendly Solutions for Unclogging a Shower Drain

Bio-Enzymatic Drain Cleaners

Another eco-friendly option for unclogging shower drains is using bio-enzymatic drain cleaners.

These cleaners are made from natural enzymes that break down organic matter, including hair and soap scum, in the drain.

They are safe for pipes and the environment, making them a popular choice for those who want to avoid harsh chemicals.

How bio-enzymatic drain cleaners work

Bio-enzymatic drain cleaners contain live enzymes that break down the organic matter in the drain.

These enzymes eat away at the clog, breaking it into smaller pieces that can be easily flushed away.

Benefits of using bio-enzymatic drain cleaners

  • Environmentally friendly: Unlike chemical drain cleaners, bio-enzymatic cleaners are made from natural ingredients that are safe for the environment.
  • Safe for pipes: Bio-enzymatic cleaners are gentle on pipes and won’t cause damage or corrosion over time.

Step-by-step guide for using bio-enzymatic drain cleaners

  1. Purchase a bio-enzymatic drain cleaner from a home improvement store or online retailer.
  2. Pour the recommended cleaner down the drain and wait for the recommended time (usually several hours or overnight).
  3. Flush the drain with hot water to rinse away any remaining debris.

Hot Water Flushing

Hot water flushing is a green and easy way to clear shower drain blockages. It effectively dissolves soap scum and debris, providing a safe and affordable solution.

How hot water flushing works

Hot water helps to break down and dissolve soap scum and other buildups in the drain.

It can also help flush away any loose debris in the drain.

Benefits of using hot water flushing

  • Simple and cost-effective: Hot water flushing is a simple and low-cost method for unclogging a shower drain.
  • Safe for pipes: Hot water won’t damage or corrode pipes, making it a safe option for maintaining clear drains.

Step-by-step guide for using hot water flushing

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove.
  2. Carefully pour the hot water down the drain, not splashing or burning yourself.
  3. Wait a few minutes for the water to work through the drain and remove any buildup.
  4. Repeat as necessary until the drain is clear.


What causes shower drains to clog?

The most common cause of clogged shower drains is hair, which can accumulate with soap, grease, and minerals from hard water.

How do I unclog a shower drain with boiling water?

Boiling water can dissolve some clogs in metal pipes. Pour it down the drain slowly and carefully. Do not use it on PVC pipes.

How do I unclog a shower drain with baking soda and vinegar?

Baking soda and vinegar can create a fizzing reaction, loosening hair and organic matter. Pour baking soda down the drain, followed by vinegar, and then boiling water afterward.

 How do I unclog a shower drain with a wire hanger?

A wire hanger can be used to fish out hair and debris from the drain. Straighten out the hanger and make a small hook at the end. Insert it into the drain and pull out the clog.

How do I unclog a shower drain with a plunger or a snake?

A plunger or a snake can be used to dislodge deeper clogs in the drain. Place the plunger over the drain and pump it up and down. Or twist the snake into the drain to break up the clog.


A clogged shower drain can be a frustrating and unpleasant problem, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be quickly resolved.

Following the preventative measures outlined in this article, such as using a hair catcher and regularly cleaning the drain, you can help prevent clogs from occurring in the first place.

And if a clog does occur, there are a variety of DIY and eco-friendly solutions you can try before resorting to chemical drain cleaners or calling a professional.

By taking the time to maintain your shower drains and following proper procedures for safety and effectiveness, you can keep your bathroom clean and functional for years to come.


Joseph A. Bartel
Joseph A. Bartel

Hi, I'm Joseph and I'm passionate about home improvement, particularly bathroom and toilet spaces. With over eight years of experience, I've acquired knowledge in various projects, cleaning tips, plumbing solutions, and fixture installations. I'd love to share this knowledge with you, whether it's selecting the right cleaning products, troubleshooting plumbing issues, or upgrading your bathroom fixtures. Let me help you create a sparkling and functional bathroom and toilet space.