Shower drains are one of the most frequently used fixtures in a bathroom, and over time they can become clogged with hair, soap residue, and other debris. When a shower drain becomes clogged, water can back up and cause a range of issues, from slow drainage to standing water in the shower.
Fortunately, in many cases, you can unclog a shower drain yourself without the need for professional plumbing services. However, the method of unclogging will depend on the cause of the clog and the severity of the blockage. Some clogs may be easily removed with a plunger or a drain snake. Others may require the use of chemical drain cleaners or the help of a professional plumber.
The Most Common Causes of a Shower Drain Becoming Clogged
The most common cause of a clogged shower drain is hair. Believe it or not, men and women shed hair daily and rubbing your hands through your hair as you shower causes some hair to fall to the floor and into the drain. Over time, the hair sticks to the drain and accumulates.
Another common cause of shower drain clogs is the accumulation of minerals and debris in hard water. If your home has hard water, mineral deposits can accumulate inside your pipes and on your showerhead, eventually leading to clogs.
In some cases, foreign objects such as jewelry or small toys may accidentally fall down the drain and become lodged in the pipes, causing a clog.
Finally, if your plumbing system is old or damaged, it may be more prone to clogs and backups. Corroded pipes, tree root invasion, or shifting soil can all cause damage to your plumbing system, leading to clogs and other issues. So, now how do you unclog your shower drain?
First, You Will Need to Remove the Drain Cover on the Shower Floor
The method of removing a shower drain cover will vary depending on the type of drain cover you have. Here are some general steps you can follow:
- Determine the type of drain cover: Some shower drain covers are held in place with screws, while others are simply snapped in place. You may need a screwdriver or a pair of pliers to remove the cover.
- Locate the screws: If your drain cover has screws, look for them around the edge of the cover. They may be visible or hidden under a removable center cap.
- Remove the screws: Use a screwdriver to remove the screws. If the screws are rusted or stripped, you can try using a pair of pliers or a screw extractor to remove them.
- Lift the cover: Once the screws are removed, you should be able to lift the drain cover out of the drain. If the cover is stuck, you can try using a flathead screwdriver to gently pry it loose.
- Clean the drain: With the cover removed, you can use a flashlight to look down the drain and check for any visible clogs or debris. If you see any, you can use a pair of pliers or tweezers to remove them.
Note: If you are unsure about how to remove your shower drain cover or if you encounter any difficulty, it’s always best to consult a professional plumber for assistance.
How To Unclog Your Shower Drain
Here are some steps you can take to unclog your shower drain:
- Remove visible debris: Start by removing any visible hair or debris that you can see in the drain. You can use a pair of pliers or tweezers to pull out any hair or other debris that may be trapped in the drain.
- Use a plunger: If the blockage is not too severe, you can try using a plunger to remove the clog. First, make sure there is enough water in the shower to cover the plunger’s suction cup. Next, place the plunger over the drain and plunge up and down vigorously for several minutes. If successful, the suction should pull the clog out.
- Try a drain snake: If the plunger doesn’t work, you can try using a drain snake to break up and remove the clog. Insert the snake into the drain and twist it around until you feel resistance. Keep turning the snake until it breaks through the clog.
- Use a chemical drain cleaner: If the above methods do not work, you can try using a chemical drain cleaner. Follow the instructions on the label carefully, and be sure to wear gloves and protective eyewear. Chemical drain cleaners can be effective but may damage your pipes over time.
- Call a professional: If none of these methods work, or if you suspect a more significant problem, it’s time to call a professional plumber. They have specialized tools and expertise that can handle even the toughest clogs and will ensure the long-term health of your plumbing system.
Can Chemical Drain Cleaners Be Used with PVC Pipes?
Chemical drain cleaners can be effective in breaking down clogs. But they can also damage your pipes over time. This is particularly true for PVC pipes, which are more susceptible to chemical damage than other types of pipes. While many drain cleaner containers specify their product can be used on all pipes, some caution is advised when it comes to PVC pipes.
Some chemical drain cleaners can cause the PVC pipes to soften or weaken, leading to cracks or even leaks, especially when used frequently. Additionally, chemical drain cleaners can also damage the glues and seals that hold PVC pipes together, causing them to come apart.
Therefore, it’s generally not recommended to use chemical drain cleaners with PVC pipes unless you know that the specific cleaner is safe to use with PVC pipes. Alternatively, you can try other methods like using a plunger or a drain snake, or seek the help of a professional plumber who can use specialized tools to clear the clog without damaging your pipes.
This article helps understand the various cleaning tools and what might work best for you.