We all know the signs of a clogged drain—water moves through the sink, shower or tub drain at a snail’s pace, or just sits there in a sad, little pool.
Even worse, foul odors emerge from down under, a warning that hair, soap, and heavens-knows-what are coating pipes and forming clogs. EW!
The best way to fix a clogged shower drain is to prevent it from clogging in the first place. Here are some tips and tricks to prevent shower clogs , and what to do if you see a clog.
1. Use a Hair Catcher
One of the most common causes of drain clogs in showers and bathtubs is hair. To keep hair clogs from forming, start by installing a small mesh screen over any drains.
This small device is placed over your drain and catches stray hairs before they can flow down into your plumbing system. You’ll need to empty it every week, but that’s a small price to pay for a clog-free shower drain.
Check out these Shower Drain Hair Catchers.
Other helpful hacks:
1 | Try Removing any excess hair by brushing before showering or bathing can also help.
2 | Place a used fabric softener sheet over the drain. The hair will stick to the sheet. When done, toss the sheet in the trash.
2. Use a Plunger
You can easily unclog your bathtub drain with a basic plunger.
1. Cover the overflow drain
The first step in this process is to cover the overflow drain. You can do this by tearing off a piece or two of ordinary duct tape and covering the overflow opening, making sure to seal the edges of the tape against the porcelain or acrylic surface of the tub.
2. Clean the strainer
Secondly, you want to wash and clean the strainer or stopper to remove any excess gunk. Remove any screws securing the strainer with the proper screwdriver. Twist and lift the stopper to remove it. Scrub the strainer and stopper to remove any hair and soap scum.
3. Fill your tub with 3-4 inches of water
The purpose here is to allow the plumber to suction to the drain. You want to fill the tub with just enough water to submerge the plunger.
3. Use the plunger!!
Use the plunger to suction out any debris. You will have to use some force here! Be careful as you may get splashed from the excess water. Most likely, dirty water and gunk will rush out of the drain while you are plunging it.
If no obstructions are coming out of the drain, you may need to use a different method.
3. Use Natural Solutions
If you do notice a minor blockage in your shower drain, there are a couple of tricks that might remove it. Rather than use harsh chemicals, you can try one of the following to loosen the clog:
1 | Pour boiling hot water down the drain. Then turn on the shower on a warm setting for about five minutes.
2 | P our one cup of bleach into the drain at night. Did you know that bleach dissolves hair? This is due to the chemical makeup of the two. Bleach is a “basic” chemical and hair is “acidic”. The neutralization reaction between an acid and a base produces a salt and water. Bleach can dissolve any fiber that has acidic properties.
3 | Pour ¾ cup of baking soda and ½ cup vinegar down the drain. Plug the drain for about 30 minutes, then pour boiling water down the drain.
Here’s some other options.
4. Call a Plumber
If these techniques are not successful, and your clog doesn’t improve, call an experienced plumber for drain line and water line repairs.
Typically a plumber will use a piece of equipment called a plumber’s snake. The plumber’s snake is a long, usually around 50 feet long, steel cable with a hand crank. Most home plumber’s snakes are hand-operated, and probably have a rotatable handle or even a crank.
Plumber’s snakes work by entering the drain directly to physically contact and then clear away the obstructions. You manually insert the auger end of the snake into the drain and then begin uncoiling by rotating the handle. As the snake uncoils, the auger moves further through the drain pipe, until it breaks through the obstruction.
Don’t let shower clogs ruin your day. Try a few tips above, and if you can’t clear the clog on your own, call a local plumber.