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Shower Drain Clogs
Do you find that you are consistently dealing with clogged shower drains? Are you aware of how shower drains become clogged? Shower drains can clog for many reasons, including the build-up of hair, minerals in hard water, and soap in your drain.
Hair is usually the biggest culprit, which you can simply remove by pulling out with your hands. You can also try utilising a wire hanger, a plunger, or a hand snake to unclog your shower drain. You can also apply other methods, such as using a baking soda and vinegar solution.
One of the remedies mentioned should work in the majority of cases. We will go over each of the methods you can apply to unclog your shower drain in detail. Just read on to find out. However, if neither works for your shower drain clog, then reach out to a reliable plumber near you.
Clogged Shower Drains: What Causes Them?
A lot of stuff that we don't think about goes down our shower drains. Everyday soap, for example, is frequently lined with grease, fats, or oils of some kind. The substances accumulate in the shower drain over time and bind to other garbage. These fat pockets collect body hair, grime, and mineral deposits, causing your shower drain to clog.
These obstructions can cause leaks if they get large enough and your pipes are weak. A single little leak might waste up to around 45460 litres of water every year. Furthermore, these leaks encourage root systems that grow beneath your home. Small tree roots can develop into these crevices, obstructing your plumbing system even more.
Therefore, it is vital in order to ensure that you unclog your shower drain as soon as you notice that it is clogged. Moreover, if you notice that your drain pipes are leaking or believe that they are weak, have them fixed as soon as possible to avoid the issue from escalating and costing you thousands in repairs.
Unclogging A Shower Drain
Method One: Using your hands
As previously mentioned, hair build-up is the most common cause of shower drain blockages. To unclog your shower drain using only your hands, follow the steps below:
Step One: Allow any remaining water to drain
If you have just showered, allow several minutes for the water to drain. If the pipes are clear of water, it will be easier to clear the clog. If the water does not drain, plunging or snaking might be necessary.
Step Two: Remove the drain stopper
Now, remove the drain stopper with a screwdriver or your hands. If your drain is fastened with screws, you will need a screwdriver. On the other hand, some drain covers simply unscrew or lift out with your hands. Replace the lid in the open position and unscrew any remaining screws. Then, remove the cover. If you have a tub and it has a drop stopper, lift it and look for the screw at tub level. Remove the top piece of the gadget and unscrew it.
Step Three: Pull the blockage out
Simply pull the hair or gunk out with your fingers if it's close to the surface. Put on rubber gloves if you don't want to touch the gunk with your bare hands.
Method Two: Using a wire hanger
Clogs that are deeper than you can reach with your hands will require the use of a wire snake.
Step One: Create a makeshift hook
You can create a makeshift hook by unwinding and straightening a wire hanger. Simply unwind the loops and straighten up the wire as much as possible with needle-nose pliers. To make it simpler to capture hair, you can add a little hook about 14 inches (0.64 cm) long at the end of the wire. If you don't have a wire hanger, a plastic drain snake with a hair-pulling hook on the end can be purchased. These may be found in any hardware shop.
Note: Ensure that you wear a pair of rubber gloves to avoid being scratched by the wire and to avoid touching any dirt you pull up from the drain.
Step Two: Use a flashlight to find the blockage
With one hand, hold a flashlight to observe where the blockages are. Then, with the hook side down, reach into the drain and target any huge clumps of hair and gunk. Wiggle the wire clockwise around in the drain to make it go deeper. Pull it out by feeling for it to hook onto the clog. The clog will stick together as you draw it up if it is tight enough to restrict water. To remove all of the clog's fragments, you might have to repeat this method multiple times.
Step Three: Check if the blockage is cleared
To confirm that the clog is gone, turn on the water. You are good to go if water flows freely down the drain.
Step Four: Replace the drain cover
Finally, replace the drain cover and continue to use the shower as usual. However, if the water still won't flow, there's a blockage further down the drain, and you will need to plunge, use a hand snake, or use a baking soda and vinegar solution to clear it out.
Method Three: Using a cup plunger
If your shower drain is not draining, the best tool for the unclogging job is a plunger with a simple rubber cup attached to a wooden handle. To unclog your shower drain using a cup plunger, follow the steps below:
Step One: Place the plunger around the bottom of the flange
Fold the extra rubber ring around the bottom of a flange plunger into the cup if it has one. The plunger will clear the drain of whatever is obstructing it. If you might have dumped harmful substances like bleach down the drain, a plunger will also bring these up. Remember that they have the potential to splash and inflict burns.
Step Two: Block the overflow with a damp cloth
Now take a damp cloth and block the overflow drain. If you have a tub that has an overflow drain, you may break the suction provided by a plunger. Therefore, cover it with a moist towel to ensure it is completely closed. If the drain is dry, wet the outside with water or petroleum jelly. The drain's outside may be damp after a recent shower. Pour some water into the tub if it isn't uniformly wet. To get a better seal, dab a small amount of petroleum jelly around the edge of the plunger's cup.
Step Three: Firmly press the plunger around the drain
To completely cover the drain, press the plunger around it. If your tub has a lot of standing water, use a bucket to drain some of it before you plunge. This will prevent you from being splashed. When you start pumping, the cup will seal.
Step Four: Start plunging
Begin by softly pumping the plunger handle, then increase the force. Move the handle up and down gingerly a few times to force air out. Then, for approximately 20 seconds, push hard. However, be careful not to break the seal by pushing too hard.
Step Five: Remove any material by lifting the plunger
Remove any material you can reach by lifting the plunger. If the plunging worked, whatever was obstructing your drain was removed. If you can't reach the clog with your hands, use a wire snake to get it out. You can use a flashlight to get a good look.
Step Six: Check if the blockage is gone
Finally, turn on the water and see if it drains to ensure that everything has been flushed out. If the water doesn't drain, use a hand snake or baking soda and vinegar solution.
Method Four: Using a hand snake
A hand snake can be found at any hardware or home improvement store. A plumber's snake, also known as a cable auger, is a long cable with a hand crank attached to it. They range in length from around 25 to 100 feet (around 7.6 to 30.5 m). For a shower drain, you should go for a greater length. After you've tried a wire snake and plunging, use a hand snake.
Step One: Remove the drain cap
Start by removing the drain cap and overflow plate. Remove the drain cover with a screwdriver or manually lift it out, depending on the type. Remove the overflow plate as well. If there is a knob, you will need to unscrew the plate from the tub. You can do this with a screwdriver or your hands. The stopper linkage will be raised by removing the overflow plate. Remove this as well.
Step Two: Feed the snake into the overflow
Feed the snake into the overflow drain until resistance is encountered. Turn the hand crank anticlockwise to move the wire ahead. You have reached the clog when you sense resistance. Push harder until you are sure the cable can't go any farther.
Step Three: Pull the snake out by turning the crank
Pull the hand snake out by turning the crank in a clockwise motion. This will bring up any clogs and reel in the cable. You can use your hands to remove the clog from the wire's end.
Call a plumber if you think the blockage is caused by a larger object caught further down in the pipe than a hand snake can reach.
Method Five: Using vinegar and baking soda solution
Step One: Boil some water
The first step is to boil water. If you have just taken a shower, wait until any soapy water has drained. Pour the boiling water down the drain after that. You will flush the drain with hot water to prepare it for the baking soda and vinegar combination.
Step Two: Put baking soda in the drain
Then, pour around 3/4 cup of baking soda (292 g) straight down the shower drain. Allow a few minutes to pass to ensure that all of the dry powder you had poured has fully settled into the drain.
Step Three: Pour vinegar into the drain
Proceed to pour around 1/2 cup (118 mL) of distilled white vinegar and around 1/2 cup (118 mL) of hot water down the drain. The vinegar reacts with the baking soda right away and begins to bubble. Use hot water to flush as much vinegar as possible back down the drain.
Note: You can also combine the baking soda and vinegar in a measuring cup and dump it down the drain right away. Make sure to flush the mixture down the drain with hot water.
Step Four: Cover the drain
While the chemical reaction occurs, cover the drain with a rubber stopper. Allow for at least 1 hour of rest time, or overnight if possible. The fizzing will aid in the removal of any filth that has accumulated. The longer the liquid sits in the pipes, the more build-up it will dissolve.
Step Five: Flush hot water down the drain
You should pour more hot water down the drain once the solution has sat overnight. Bring about 2 to 4 cups (0.5 to 1 L) of water to a boil. Then, remove the stopper from the kettle and immediately dump the contents down the shower drain. You should remove the obstruction with running water. You can also turn on the hot water faucet in your tub to rinse off the remaining solution.
Step Six: Use a combination of methods
If required, snake, plunge or remove obstructions using your hands. If the baking soda and vinegar mixture fails to work, you might have to snake or plunge the drain. With your hands, remove any obstructions that are near the surface.
Call a plumber if all else fails.
Hire A Professional To Fix Shower Drain Clogs
If none of the above solutions work, you will need professional drain unclogging services to unclog your shower drain. Unfortunately, this indicates that the clog is either too deep or too large for you to access. Such a clog can even expose an entire system of leaking drain pipes that need to be replaced in some circumstances.
Therefore, you should seek expert assistance from a plumber. Moreover, if you are at all concerned about body hair and gunk build-up, we recommend bypassing the DIY options and reaching out to a plumber right away. The material that emerges from drains is not for the faint of heart.
As already mentioned, some shower drain clogs are simply too tough to manage without professional assistance. So, if you are worried that you won't be able to successfully unclog your shower drain on your own, it's advisable to hire a reliable plumber in your locality.