Still or slow-moving water on your shower floor is a clear indication your shower drain has is clogged. This is mainly caused by accumulating hairs in the gutter, scum, or dirt.
You can unclog a shower drain using a plunger, a mixture of baking soda, vinegar and water, a drain snake, and a wet/dry vacuum. Following are the steps for each method plus tips to prevent shower drain clogs
Baking Soda, Vinegar and Hot Water
Using natural ingredients is a somewhat more natural solution as compared to using cleaning chemicals. Unlike using the plunger, this is a more relaxed approach. It would be best to have the following; a pair of gloves, baking soda, vinegar, a rag, and boiling water. Below is a detailed procedure of what you need to do;
- Clear any blockage in the drain. This is made up of any remnants in the drain, such as hairs and hair products, bathroom products, or scum. With a pair of gloves, collect and dispose of any debris out might have been found.
- Remove any water from the floor. This is to make it possible for the chemical reaction to be able to take place. With standing water present you cleaning the drain is hard. You can empty the water into a bucket using a mop or so and dispose of it outside or a working drain.
- Prepare the baking soda and vinegar. Using home ingredients is preferred to using store-bought chemicals. Measure one cup of baking soda (180g) and a cup of vinegar (240 ml). Any vinegar can be used in the mixture; the more acidic, the more effective it is.
- Pour half the cup of vinegar and baking soda down the drain. Take 90grams of baking soda and pour it into the drain. With the use of a stick, metal rod, or skewer, and have all the baking soda filled down the drain. You then pour 120ml of the vinegar into the drain as well.
- Cover it with a rag and listen for the fizzing sound.
- When the fizzing sound stops, take the rag off and pour the remainder of the baking soda and vinegar. Do not forget to cover the drain with a rag after and repeat the same process.
- Pour hot water into your drain after 30 minutes. After the last chemical process is done and fizzing stops. Let your drain sit for at least 30 minutes and have hot water pass-through for a minute or two; let sit and then have cold water run through for 1-2 minutes. This is supposed to clear any clogs and remnants of the chemicals still present in the drain.
Unclogging Shower Drain with a Plunger
When it comes to removing clogged drains, the plunger is the oldest and most reliable method. All you need is a pair of gloves and a plunger and, well, a lot of effort. Plungers work on suction power; it sucks anything stuck in the drain and clears it up.
The procedure below shows how to use a plunger;
- Remove the blockage from the drain. While wearing gloves, go to the drain and pick out any remnants that may be blocking it. In doing this, you may solve the standing water problem, but if the water remains, you have more to do.
- Clear all the standing water. You have to remove all the standing water first before you can do anything else. With a bucket and a mop, you can clear out all the standing water. You can dispose of it on a functioning drain or outside.
- Clean the overflow drain. It usually sits below the tap for when water levels in the drain and helps get rid of excess water. Opening it you should see a long coil that runs down to the drain, remove any debris you find. A clogged overflow drain can also contribute to having standing water. Plug it with a rag to prevent more water from using that path. Not all drains have an overflow drain. If you do not have one, then move on to the next part.
- Start plunging into the drain by pushing it in and out. Have the plunger positioned over it to cover the entire drain. The rubber suction cup prevents any air from escaping. Keep going at it until you clear the drain. When the pipes begin to empty, you should be able to tell if the drain is clear. It requires a lot of patience as it is rarely fast but is considered very effective once you hear your drain clear remove the plunger.
- Have hot then cold water run through your drain for 5-10 minutes. The hot water is to clear any blockages that may have remained after the plunging. Then have cold water run through for 5 minutes.
Do not use boiling water if you have polyvinyl chloride pipes, as it may cause joints to weaken.
Using a Drain Snake
Also known as a plumber’s snake is a lean and flexible hand tool used to clear clogs. The shower drain size is often 2 inches or more, making it easy to have a small-sized drain snake inserted where the clogs are found. You will need the following; a screwdriver, rubber gloves, rag, and a drain snake with either ¼ inch or 5/16 inch cables.
- Remove the shower grate. This is usually the metal or plastic plate that covers the drain opening. It is traditionally held in place with simple screws that can be undone with a screwdriver. Using gloves, remove any material collected in the drain or stuck on the shower grate and then dispose of it.
- Insert drain snake. Take the cable and run it through the drain until you meet resistance. Secure the cable clamp on the tool handle slowly to twist the cable in the drain. The cable should be able to drill itself further into the drain. Do not be too hard or vigorous; the cable may double back on itself.
- Auger it with the drain snake. As the cable goes down the drain, loosen the handle to have it extend further into the drain. Secure the cord again and repeat the motion to force it further. Most clogs are located in the drain, and you do not have to go a long way into the drain. You should be able to feel it once the drain clears as you can hear water draining out.
- Have water run through the drain. Let the water run past the snake cable and watch the speed it clears in. If it is slow or backs up then it means you may still have a few clogs in your system and should try rerunning your drain snake.
- Extract the drain snake. When you feel the cable move past the clog then have the direction of the cable move in the opposite direction and slowly remove it, extracting any hairs and debris. Clean it off and dispose of the dirt and rinse off and dry it with a dry cloth.
- Flush the drain. Have cold water run through for at least a minute or two to test the drain before installing the shower gate back. This will flush out any remnant or debris that remained in the drain after being loosened by the drain snake.
- Use a wet/dry shop vacuum.
This has got to be among the easiest way to unclog a shower drain. The only item you need to have is the vacuum. First of all, you have to understand that this isn’t the standard vacuum. Check if the vacuum you have is the one specified.
You first start by plugging it in and set it to vacuuming for liquids. Place the nozzle over the drain and have it suck out all the water. While it does this, the clogs may be sucked out and have the shower drain cleared.
With all the above information, I hope you are able to clear the clogged shower drain with ease. To avoid clogs, always let hot water run down the drain for a minute or two after use. If your drain does not have a quality screen, you can replace it. If all the above methods do not work, then have a plumber check it out.
Tips to Avoid Shower Drain Clogging and Standing Water
Dealing with shower clogs is an experience most people would rather not go through. By giving your drain a little more attention, this can be avoided. Here are a few tips to keep your drain clog-free.
Regular Drain Clearing.
Simply pour half a cup of baking soda, followed by half a cup of vinegar, and seal the drain. After the reaction takes place, let the drain sit for about thirty minutes before flushing hot water. The reaction helps removes any clogs down the drain that may build up get worse with time. This should be done every couple of weeks.
This prevention measure also gets rid of dirty odors.
Add a Mesh Drain Screen
The easiest way of dealing with clogs is reducing the amount of dirt that goes through—having a mesh drain installed applies this concept. It is a small device that sits in your drain and catches whatever debris got past the shower grate. You should empty it once or twice a month.
Flushing the Drain Regularly
A mesh screen may catch all debris, but it cannot stop oils and soaps from flowing through, which may easily cause build-ups. Weekly flushing keeps your drain clear. Have hot water run down the drain for two minutes; wait five minutes before letting hot water flow for another two minutes.
Doing these easy steps within the required period or start noticing slow drainage odor should have you a clear drain.
More on Shower Drain
- How to Remove Shower Drain Cover
- How to Dissolve and Remove Hair in the Shower Drain
- Shower Drain Smells Like Mildew: Causes & Fixes
- Shower Drain Smells Like Rotten Eggs: Causes & Fixes
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