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Unclog Your Shower Drain Easily
A blocked drain is not a pleasant sight and can even cause your home to smell really bad. It is pretty uncomfortable when you are taking your shower, and there is a pool of dirty, soapy, standing water around your ankles. When there is a blockage in your shower drain, you would want it cleared up quickly. It helps if you know how to unclog the shower drain.
Here are some steps to guide you in clearing a blocked drain. This article will also discuss the signs of clogged shower drains, the causes of blocked drains, how to unclog shower drains, and when to invite a professional plumber.
Signs Of Clogged Shower Drains
- One clear sign is when you have standing water in your shower for several minutes after turning off the faucet. The drain blockage makes the shower drain slowly and causes a pool of water.
- A blocked shower drain may emit an unpleasant smell. This happens when there is debris clogging the inner wall of the pipes.
- When the drain blockage is severe, it can result in bathroom flooding.
- Standing water may begin to seep through shower joints. Consequently, leaks start developing.
- Standing shower water can creep into walls through voids in the shower grout or caulking. This can cause severe and expensive damage.
Causes Of Blocked Drains
Typically, shower drain blockages are caused by a build-up of dirt, soap scum, grease, and hair. Long hair quickly causes clogged drains. Soap makes the hair stick to the drain walls easily. In time, the blocked drain becomes serious as more water gets obstructed by the clog.
Mineral build-up is also another common cause of drain clogs. Others include tree roots and general decay, both of which can compromise main drainage pipes. Repeated shower drain clogs that repair jobs do not seem to handle could be a sign of a seriously blocked drain.
What You Can And Cannot Put Down The Drain?
If you suddenly have blocked drains, wastewater might reverse its flow within the pipes and overflow out of your shower drain. This is quite an unpleasant occurrence that can be a cause of many health hazards for you and your family. Ideally, the first step in avoiding an emergency plumbing situation like a blocked drain is to understand what you can and cannot put down the drain.
Explicitly speaking, water, soapy dishwashing water, or greywater from laundries and bathrooms will cause little to no problem to your drains. That being said, a clogged drain can often be due to coffee grounds, cooking oil, foreign objects, food scraps, and other hard items that have made their way into your main sewage line.
These substances are likely causing blockages in your shower drain or around your home as all drains lead to the main line. Therefore, if your primary sewer drain is blocked, you are probably going to experience blockages in your shower drain.
Ways To Unclog Shower Drains
Begin by removing the drain screen or stopper. Do this by using a screwdriver to detach the screen, drain stopper, or drain cover. Sometimes, you can use an overhead light or flashlight to find out the reason for the clog. Then, try the following fixes:
Pull out the clog by hand
This method works well for small objects or hair.
Use a plunger or plumbing snake
A toilet plunger can come in handy for unclogging a blocked drain. Likewise, a plumber’s snake can be helpful. Just push the drain snake down into the drain until you can reach the clog. Then, turn the handle and bring it back up. Finally, run water down the drain to conclusively remove the clog.
Use a wire hanger
Similarly, you can use a wire hanger to remove hair, organic matter, and other clogs. A thin wire coat hanger or a crochet hook works well as improvised tools. The piece of wire can fish out the clog. You can bend the hanger at the end to make a small hook. This hook is what you insert down the drain.
- First, put on a pair of rubber gloves. Keep a plastic bag available to put in the debris pulled out.
- Second, if there is a shower drain cover, remove it by unscrewing it. Remember to keep the screws safely aside.
- Next, insert the hooked end of your wire hanger down the drain. Use a slight twisting motion when doing this.
- Now, slowly tug upwards and pull any hair clump or debris out. You can deposit them into a plastic bag. Repeat the process until you clear out the clog.
Pour in boiled water
Pour boiled water into the drain. Use this to check if the shower drain is unclogged. If the draining rate is somewhat slow, you have more work to do.
Begin by placing a funnel over the drain. This will channel the boiled water properly and avoid spilling the boiling water.
Pour in baking soda and vinegar
You may need more than the methods mentioned above for stubborn clogs especially. A baking soda and vinegar mixture is an easy natural way to dissolve clogs. You do not have to use harsh chemicals. More so, it is effective against deeper and bigger drain clogs. Just pour in a cup of baking soda down the clogged drain.
After that, wait a few minutes and pour in a cup of white vinegar. Wait a few hours, so the mixture dissolves the clog. Then, rinse out with hot running water. Repeat the process after several hours if the drain is still clogged. Alternatively, you can replace vinegar with an equal amount of salt. Ensure that you observe safety as you use this approach. Put on rubber gloves and goggles. This will prevent a splash of either boiling water or the baking soda and vinegar mixture on you.
Use a wet/dry shop vacuum
You can additionally use a wet-dry vacuum to get rid of clogs. However, it is not the same as using a regular vacuum. Before turning the vacuum on, set it onto the vacuuming liquids option. Next, place the hose over the drain. Now, turn it on. The wet/dry vacuum will use its suction to clear out the clogged shower drain.
As a last stop-gap measure, you may need to use bleach. This applies especially when the hot water and baking soda-vinegar methods are ineffective. Just pour a cup of bleach down the drain. Let it work for up to an hour. After that, wear a mask and put on rubber gloves.
Get a toilet scrubber and scrub the drain hole. Just insert it and scrub the sides of the pipe. To wrap it up, get a sponge and scrub areas around the shower drain and the drain lid.
Use commercial drain cleaners
Finally, there are many commercial drain cleaners out there to help you clear your shower drain. They are quite effective in removing minor blockages. Remember to read and follow the instructions on the label. Take basic safety precautions and wear rubber gloves and goggles as necessary.
Also, keep the room well ventilated. Another essential safety precaution is not to mix the chemicals. This could release poisonous gas. Note that repeated use of these chemicals can damage your drainage pipes and shower fittings. Again, they can be hazardous to your health. Also, they contaminate the environment. As such, you should not resort to them if you have not tried everything else.
Besides, minimising their future use by avoiding blockages is preferable. Alternatively, rather than using chemicals, invite a professional plumber if your shower drain is seriously blocked. This is preferable to using some of these toxic chemicals.
Clog Prevention Tips For Shower Drains
Keeping your shower drain clear of hair and soap scum is essential. Clearing smaller shower drain clogs prevent serious cases of blockage from happening. Here are a few steps to prevent clogging in shower drains.
Make use of boiled water
First, you can pour boiling water down the shower drain. This is such an easy preventative measure that averts clogging. The high water temperature will dissolve the soap scum and break up the dirt build-up causing a clog. After that, the debris can easily wash away. Run hot water with good water pressure once a week and keep serious shower drain clogs away.
Use a plunger regularly
Second, line the seal of your plunger with petroleum jelly. This creates better air suction. Thus, the plunger becomes more effective. Cool tip: you can use a plunger to remove hair blockages. If you do this regularly, hair build-up will reduce, and your bathroom will not flood.
Another helpful tip is to remove any hair caught in drain covers immediately after your shower. Something also equally important is to prevent clogging of your shower drain by brushing your hair before washing to remove loose strands.
Get a drain protector
If you don’t have one already, consider purchasing a drain protector. It will act as a sieve to catch hair and prevent other debris from clogging up the drain.
Secure your dish soap
Soap does a lot to stick knots of hair together to form larger clumps. Thus, they play a massive role in contributing to drain clogs. So, securing your dish soap is an excellent preventive measure. Moreover, loose soap creates a film on your shower floor and can cause accidental slips.
Clean the drain monthly
Using vinegar and baking soda to clean the drain once a month is an excellent preventative measure.
Hire A Professional Drain Cleaning Service
Proper regular maintenance can help prevent clogging in shower drains. You may also practice your DIY skills to unclog your shower drains. But there are times when you may need a professional drain cleaning. For instance, a blockage in your main sewer line may lead to persistent clogging of your shower drain.
If left unattended, your home and sewer system may be compromised. It is also probable that you may notice a smell coming from your drainage system. Now, that could be a sign of sewer system backups or of your whole drainage system backing up. In addition, several drains and toilets in your building may no longer drain or flush properly.
Clearly, this is not a plumbing problem you may fix yourself. Moreover, there may be severe health hazards involved. Thus, you can invite a professional plumbing company that offers drain clearing and cleaning solutions. They may also provide hydro-jetting technology to clear out drain blockages more effectively.
Their services are not restricted to shower drains or showerheads only. They can also take a look at your bathtub sink and bathtub drain.