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How to Unclog a Shower Drain?

If you find yourself standing ankle-deep in a pool of lukewarm, dirty, foamy water after taking your morning shower, you may have a shower drain clog that keeps water from draining out properly. Generally, it happens by accumulating hair and soap scum that has gathered for some time. Several things are responsible for clogging the shower drain, like hair, minerals from hard water, and soap. Especially long hair is the most important issue. It wraps throughout particular parts of the drain; it can be complicated to pull it out. On the other side, there are many different ways out of this clogging issue, and here I will explain some straightforward tips to get rid of this problem.

What Causes Blocked Shower Drains?

Shower drain clogged can be formed by things like hair, pet hair, soap scum, trash, dirt, and various other things. All of these things can be a reason for the slow draining out of the water and unpleasant odors. Long hair is a typical culprit of the clogged drain, wrapping adjacent portions of the sewerage system and filling with clusters of soap and dirt becoming more challenging to remove.

Regular Soaps

Soap is one of the main reasons for blocked drains. Regular soaps contain wax, talc, and fats, which can build up in your drain, creating clogs and reducing water flow.

Hair Build-up

It usually wraps around other dirt, mainly fat or waxes from the soap, and makes clogs. If you have long hair, then there is no wonder hair is blocking the sewer. Hair buildup in showers is one of the most common causes of a blocked drain. But, by putting a protective cover over the plughole, the problem can solve.

Dirt Building in Pipes 

This problem is not built up right away; dirt grows up over time and sticks on the walls of pipes in shower drainpipes, making edges and developing blockages.

Minerals Build-up

These are inevitable components of hard water. Melted minerals in water build up and make unresolved clots, consequently blocking drains.

How to Unclog Shower Drain Quickly?

Boiling Water to Unblock Shower Drains

Using boiling water is perhaps one of the easiest ways to unblock shower drains.

Boiling water is excellent for clearing soap scum and other clogs. It can resolve the grease or soap that is holding the clog together and clear the blockage.


  1. Take a tea kettle or a large saucepan with water, and make it to a boil.
  2. Pour the boiling water directly down the drain a little bit at a time, allowing the hot water to work its way through the clog within each pour.

The hot temperature of the water will break up and dissolve the debris that is blocking the drain. Try this only if your pipes contain metal; don’t use boiling water if the sewerage system has PVC pipes, as it can cause joints to loosen.

Remove the Blockage by Hand

If the blockage becomes seen right inside the drains, you have a higher chance of pulling out the clogs by hand. To perform this, wear rubber gloves; remove the sewer cover and use a torchlight to see inside the drain if a clog has been seen and it is at a reachable distance; pull it out by fingers.

Uprooting shower drain clogs by hand can be a helpful method for decreasing blockage incidence. The common debris that blocks the drains are small objects and hair, so pull these out and flush the pipes by running the shower for a time.

Baking Soda and White Vinegar

A more difficult clog may need a different approach than just boiling water or using a hand. Baking soda and vinegar can be a solution to that. A combination of baking soda and vinegar is a straightforward way to eliminate hair clogs without using harsh chemicals. First, Pour a cup of baking soda down the clogged drain, instantly followed by a cup of distilled vinegar. The combination will produce a bubbling action that will work to remove the blockage. Wait for an hour for the mixture to dissolve the blockage, and then pour hot water down the drain to wash away the clogs.

Plunger for a Clogged Shower Drain

Using a toilet plunger can be an efficient method to remove hair clogs from the shower drain or move them nearer to the surface so that you can get them. Often this method has a high rate of success. It will take a few minutes of regular plunging to achieve results.

Put the plunger on the drain opening so its cup can cover it. Fill the shower basin or tub with enough water to submerge the plunger’s edge. Add petroleum jelly around the edge of the rubber cup for better sealing. Start rapidly pumping up and down for a few minutes to make suction and push the blockage through the drain. Flush the water and wait to see if the drains are clear now.

Using a Plumber Snake

It is a cheap technique for removing clogs that do not require much spending. This method works more often than not. It has a pretty high success rate. You can find this cheap, simple, helpful tool with a hook in a hardware store. For home use, 25 to 100 feet long cable is enough.

Follow these guidelines for removing the blockage shower drain by the plumber’s snake:

Remove the drain cover. Push the cable down into the pipe until it does not go any farther; it has hit the clog. Crank the snake’s handle anticlockwise to grip the clog; continue to crank until the clog is out of the drain. Repeat as needed. Flow hot water into the drain to test the drain, and check that the clog has been removed. 

Remove Clogs by Using a Coat Hanger Hook.

Cleaning up shower drain blockage with a coat hanger hook is one of the oldest methods. Yet very effective. If you tried cleaning the clogs by hand but could not do it successfully, it is worth trying with a bent coat hanger. Wear rubber gloves and use pliers to untwist the hanger to straighten, and make a 0.25 inches long hook at one end so that the wire can fit down the plughole. 

Draw the hook into the drain, try to fish up hair and debris, and bring it out. Remove the clogs by pushing the hanger until it hits the blockage. Then twist the coat hanger to hook the clogs up and bring it out of the drain. If the hair clog sticks to the pipe, do this again to remove everything. Flash the hot water to check if the drain is free from blockage. Unluckily, if the minerals cause the clog, the wire coat hanger can not solve it.

Unclog Shower Drain by Using Enzyme (Biological) Cleaners

Enzyme (biological) cleaners can be a good and effective method for unclogging shower drains. Most people do not try this method because it takes a long time to get the first result. But it is worth trying because it is a natural, eco-friendly alternative for cleansing drains clogged by grease. Moreover, there is no need to engage in messy work.

The method is reasonable and straightforward and indicates the usage of harmless bacteria and enzymes to clear pipes. Bear in mind that bleach and chemicals kill both bacteria and enzymes, causing them to be less efficient. That is why do not use them together. Once you use enzyme cleaners, you should not use a shower for at least eight hours.

Using Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide)

Caustic soda (Sodium hydroxide) is a dangerous composite and may cause awful burns on the skin. Hence, anyone should not handle it without guarding their hands and eyes with rubber gloves and glasses.

However, caustic soda is very handy in unblocking sewers. Make a solution with three cups of caustic soda to 0.75 gallons (2.8 L) of cold water. Wait till it begins warming while mixing it with a stick or spoon.

Pour the mixture into the sewer, and wait for 30 minutes before flowing boiling water. Repeat the procedure if needed.

Using Chemicals

If you are unsuccessful in unclogging the shower drain by implementing an eco-friendly and traditional way, you need to look for commercial chemicals. A wide range of commercial products is specifically designed to clear shower drain blockage. It is available in various supermarkets and hardware stores.

Cleaning shower drain blockage using chemical cleaners is a fast, smooth and affordable method; it is suitable if you are busy with regular work and can not spend much time fixing the problem. 

Determine the required amount of chemicals, pour them down the drain, and give them to work. Follow the label instructions and ensure not to use too much. Never mix different chemicals to prevent the production of harmful gases. The proper dosage is vital. Be careful when working with chemicals, make sure the room is well-ventilated, and wear gloves and goggles.

Nevertheless, using chemicals often may cause damage to the drainage pipes over time. Though It looks cheap at first glance, damaging the sewerage pipes can cost. 

Drain Blocking Protection 

The best method to repair the clogged shower drain is to prevent it from the block. Placing a drain screen is the best way to protect clogged shower drains. This screen will prevent all kinds of trash and hair from reaching the sewerage system and create a blockage for the sewerage drain.

It is an easy task to place a drain screen. Buy some that can easily fit atop the plug hole. Nevertheless, one should have to be aware that the screen must be regularly cleaned for its effectiveness. There are different ways to prevent shower blockages and maintain the drain clean for more lasting.

Call a plumber

If all of the methods described above have had no impact on the draining activity, it is time to call a professional plumber.

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.