Simple Ways to Fix a Clogged Shower Drain
If you find that every time you shower you are stood in a puddle of water, your shower drain
is in obvious need of some attention. Often, the cause of a clogged drain is an accumulation of hair and soap scum, but don’t be tempted to use a liquid drain cleaner. Anything corrosive enough to dissolve a blockage is likely to do damage to your pipes and the environment. Fortunately, you need not necessarily call out a plumber as there are some simple ways to fix a clogged shower drain without resorting to chemicals.
Where to Start
Although it may seem icky, the best place to start is to use your hand to reach into the shower drain and see if you can pick up any material in the grate. You should also check if the grate is too wide and is allowing debris to be washed into the drain. Some grates can be easily removed by loosening a couple of screws, so you can open it up and remove any clogged hair and debris by hand.
If this hasn’t cleared your clogged shower drain, the next simple step is to use a plunger. A plunger won’t be as effective on a shower drain as it would be on a toilet, but it may provide enough pressure to shift a clog. Alternatively, you could use a zip snake, which is a plastic barbed strip. This can be passed into the drain as it has a loop on one end so you can hold it. As the zip snake is moved through the drain, it will snare any hair so it can be pulled out as you remove it.
Using a Plumbing Snake
If the simple fixes above still haven’t relieved a clogged shower drain, then you need to get a little more serious. In the case of a blocked shower, the next logical step is to use a snake. Plumbing snakes are available in a wide range of sizes and prices. Generally, a ¼ inch snake should sort out any clogs in your shower. This size should be sufficient to pass into the floor drain and through to the trap. Your snake will have a rigid wire head, which is a coil with a point, which is designed to snag any obstruction and allow you to pull it back.
More expensive snakes will often have interchanging heads, but as a do it yourselfer, you are unlikely to need this feature. This type of snake is typically for plumbers
who require bigger snakes for more complex tasks.
Hand snakes need to be fed it by hand and usually have a hand crank to allow you to spin the cable for corners or when you reach a clog. Power snakes can be manually fed through the trap and then automatically fed into the drain. Powered snakes can be spun in either direction and retracted without cranking. Just take care not to have too much cable between the drain hole and the snake end as there is a risk that it will catch on your clothing or spin uncontrollably.
Once you have snagged the clog, all you need to do is retract the snake to see what has been accumulating in your drain.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solutions.