modern bathroom with shower

How to Clear A Clogged Shower Drain

You’re about to step into the shower, but there’s a puddle forming. It’s a clogged drain again! A blocked shower drain can result in stagnant water, which becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. But don’t worry; True Plumbing has got you covered. In this guide, you’ll learn what causes these annoying clogs, how to spot visible obstructions, and the different methods to unclog a shower drain. We’ll also discuss the environmental impact of drain chemicals and share tips on preventing future blockages. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

– Hair accumulation and soap residue are common causes of clogged shower drains.
– Hard water deposits and foreign objects can also contribute to blockages.
– Inspect the drain cover and pipe for visible obstructions before attempting to clear the clog.
– Natural solutions like vinegar and baking soda, as well as chemical cleaners, can be effective in unclogging shower drains.

Causes of Clogs

It’s important to understand that hair, soap scum, and mineral buildup are often the culprits behind a clogged shower drain. Hair accumulation is usually the main offender; your strands can easily get caught in the shower drain cover and form a tangled mess inside the pipes. Regularly brushing your hair before showering can help reduce this issue.

Then there’s soap residue. While it may seem harmless, over time it combines with minerals in water to create a stubborn blockage. This buildup is exacerbated by hard water deposits – calcium and magnesium particles that stick to pipe walls, gradually reducing the diameter of your drainage system.

Now let’s touch on foreign objects. Items like small toys or bottle caps can end up down your drain accidentally and cause an immediate blockage. Be mindful of what you allow near your shower drain.

Lastly, pipe scaling refers to internal rusting or corrosion within older metal pipes which flake off and contribute to clogs. Switching to plastic piping can prevent this problem from recurring.

Checking the drain for visible obstructions

You’ll want to start by inspecting the area for any noticeable blockages. This initial drain inspection is a crucial step in identifying the root cause of your drainage issues. If there’s visible obstruction, you’ve hit gold early on.

Remember, this is not just about surface level observation. It’s also about understanding the intricacies of your drainage system and how different components work together in drain maintenance.

As part of your inspection, focus on these areas:

Drain Cover: Check if hair or soap scum is clogging up the holes.
Pipe Interior: Use a flashlight to look inside for potential obstructions.
Drain Trap: Often hairballs or other items get stuck here causing slow draining.

If you spot clear obstructions during this phase, it makes obstruction identification easier. Clear what you can with gloves or a tool but don’t force anything that seems stuck as it may damage your pipes.

If nothing’s apparent from your visual inspection, don’t worry. Sometimes the issue isn’t immediately obvious and requires more thorough troubleshooting techniques. Drainage problems can be complex but remember every problem has a solution; it’s all about finding it!

Unclogging Solutions

You’ve checked your shower drain for visible obstructions, but now it’s time to delve into the world of unclogging solutions. Whether you’re keen on natural methods or you’re considering chemical alternatives, we’ll explore both routes in detail. Let’s dissect the pros and cons of each approach and find out which one is most effective for your specific problem.

Natural

baking soda vinegar drain cleaning
The fizzing reaction of baking soda and vinegar can help you clear out a clogged drain

Don’t worry, there’s a natural solution for your clogged drain that you can try using household items. Homemade concoctions are often effective and eco-friendly remedies. One popular DIY drain cleaner involves the use of baking soda and vinegar.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Half cup of vinegar
  • Half cup of baking soda
  • Boiling water

Pour the baking soda down the drain first, followed by the vinegar. The combination will cause a chemical reaction which can break up and dissolve the grime in your pipes. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes then rinse with boiling water by pouring it directly down the drain. This method leverages the effectiveness of vinegar and baking soda solution to clear clogs without damaging your plumbing system or harming the environment.

Chemical

If you’re looking for a quicker, albeit less eco-friendly solution, there’s always the option of using chemical cleaners. However, it’s crucial to prioritize chemical safety. Before starting, equip yourself with personal protective equipment like rubber gloves and goggles to guard against potential splashes or fumes.

Follow handling guidelines meticulously; read the product instructions carefully before application. Pour down the cleaner in measured quantities as too much could corrode your pipes. After use, ensure proper chemical disposal as per local regulations – never pour leftovers down the drain.

Lastly, adhere to recommended storage conditions on the product label for any unused chemicals. Keeping them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight can prevent deterioration or accidental spills.

Plunger Method

plunger in shower

First off, you’ll need to grab a plunger for this method. But not just any plunger will do. There are various plunger types available in the market and for your shower drain, choose either an accordion or flat-bottomed style.

Before you begin the pre-plunge preparations, ensure there’s enough water in the shower to submerge the base of your plunger. This creates a proper seal and generates effective suction. You should also block other outlets like overflow drains with damp rags.

Now onto the plunging technique:

  1. Position your chosen plunger over the drain ensuring a tight seal.
  2. Apply strong pressure down then pull up quickly but without breaking the seal.
  3. Repeat this vigorous pumping action around 15-20 times.

If successful, you’ll notice water draining swiftly from your shower. To confirm, pour more water and watch if it drains faster than before.

For post-plunge cleaning, rinse your plunger thoroughly with hot water and bleach it to kill germs before storage. In case plunging isn’t working out for you, consider using a plumber’s snake or hand auger as great Plunger alternatives. These tools can prove particularly useful when dealing with stubborn clogs deep within pipes.

Snake or Auger Method

drain snake plumber

You’ll find the drain snake or auger method quite effective when you’re dealing with stubborn blockages that are far down your pipes. Auger selection is crucial; choosing the right size and type for your specific issue will make a difference.

Consider this table to guide you:

Auger TypePipe SizeBlockage Type
Hand SpinSmallSoft
ToiletLargeHard
DrumAnyTough
PowerAnySevere

Your chosen auger must fit comfortably within the pipe yet be stout enough to tackle the blockage. Practice caution with your auger technique. Don’t force it; let it do its job gradually, otherwise, you risk damaging your pipes.

Drain Snake maintenance is vital – always clean it before and after use to prevent rust and prolong its usefulness. If all else fails, don’t hesitate to resort to professional snaking services. They have more advanced tools and techniques that can handle severe blockages efficiently.

Lastly, remember auger safety: wear gloves, keep your workspace clean, and never touch the cable while in operation.

Environmental Impact of Chemicals

Let’s shift gears and discuss the environmental impact of chemicals, particularly those often used in drain cleaning solutions. When you pour these down your sinks, they don’t just vanish; they leave a chemical footprint. These substances can lead to significant health implications for both humans and animals if improperly managed.

Chemical Footprint: The residues left behind from these solutions can contaminate groundwater, affecting both plant and animal life.
Health Implications: Long-term exposure to these chemicals might lead to various health issues, including respiratory problems or skin irritation.
Ecosystem Disruption: They can disrupt aquatic ecosystems by killing beneficial bacteria necessary for water purification.

Clog Prevention Tips

Now, you’ve learnt about the environmental impacts of chemicals and their harmful effects. Let’s switch gears a bit to explore some prevention tips for avoiding clogged shower drains. With proper drain maintenance, the use of soap alternatives, careful water usage, hair catchers and routine inspections, you can save yourself from future hassles.

Here’s a table summarizing these preventive measures:

Preventive MeasuresPurposeFrequency
Drain MaintenanceTo clear debris buildup reducing chances of clogsWeekly/Monthly
Soap AlternativesSoaps that don’t leave residue preventing blockage formationAs needed
Water UsageConserving water reduces pressure on drains thus less sediment build-up.Daily
Hair CatchersPrevents hair from entering and blocking drains.Install once, clean regularly
Routine InspectionsEarly detection of potential issues prevents major problems.Annually

Final Thoughts

You’ve got this! By identifying the cause, checking for obstructions, and using the plunger or snake method, you’ve conquered that pesky shower drain clog. Remember, chemical solutions can harm the environment. So let’s keep our drains clear with regular maintenance and mindful usage.

If you’re still struggling with a clogged drain, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 404-998-9291. Our team of plumbing experts is ready to help you say goodbye to clogs for good.

Ryan Hanson

Ryan Hanson

Ryan Hanson is a Licensed Master Plumber and founder of True Plumbing in Atlanta.