A blocked shower drain is the most common problem the human community faces. A large blockage can cause a clogged toilet or sink, but shower drains usually slow down when hair, lint, or bath product residue accumulates over time. You generally call a plumber to fix it up, but at most times, you can easily fix the problem by yourself.
Clogged shower drains happen all the time and can be very irritating to clean. Regular cleaning of drains is to be carried out even if there are no signs of blockage, as this will ensure a greater degree of blockage prevention. Natural cleaning should also be done once a month or at least alternately so that waste does not accumulate in the pipeline. It is better to prevent clogged drains than to try to find ways to unclog them.
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Common reasons for shower drain blockages
Most common reason for a clogged drain is improper use or maintenance.
- Solid waste- People throw solid waste in the shower or do not build a strong spring foundation when making a drainage system.
- Skincare products- Constant use of shower accessories also doubles the number of clogs, such as soap scum or skin flakes etc.
- Human Hair- Hair from men and women continues to be the number one cause of drain blockages as it is virtually indestructible. It thus remains stuck in pipes for extended periods.
- Rusting- You use poor-quality plumbing or need better care of it. Rust is also caused by water not being able to flow moderately through the drain.
- Low pressure- Another solid reason for less water flowing down the drains is that the force of the water is too low to push the waste out of the pipes. To stop this, you must ensure a heavy, strong flow of water through the drain so that it does not entirely block the flow.
Signs of a Blocked Shower Drain
Some of the most common signs of a Blocked shower drain are:
- Slow drainage- You’ve probably noticed this when you’re standing in ankle-deep water in the middle of the shower. If the water takes a long time to drain, maybe your hands are clogged! Water pooling around the drain A less obvious sign that your shower drain is clogged is water pooling around the drain. It’s subtle, and you might even think it’s a bad bathroom. However, this is often a warning sign of impending blockage. Be sharp and catch early.
- Foul smell- Unpleasant smells come from the drain. Have you ever stepped into the shower and noticed a lingering foul smell? A clogged drain often causes an unpleasant odour. This is caused by debris and bacteria left in the pipes, which can cause a musty smell. So, if you notice an unusual smell coming from your drain, it’s time to check for blockages.
- Sound of Bubbles- Bubbling sounds coming from the drain. These sounds are caused by trapped air escaping as the water tries to drain. Hearing the drain pipe gurgling like a coffee maker could be a sign of a blockage.
- Low water pressure- Significant drop in water pressure. A clogged drain can sometimes affect the water pressure in your shower. If there is a blockage in the system, it can prevent water flow and lead to low pressure. So, if your normally vigorous shower is now more of a trickle, it could be a clog.
- Pipe blockage- Is there water in your shower all the time? This could mean that your pipes are blocked. These backups often look like small floods and can be quite nasty to clean up. If this happens often, it’s time to examine the shower drain.
DIY Tools and Materials
If you want to clean your blocked shower drains by yourself, the mentioned tools and materials could be handy for your cleaning.
- Toilet plunger
- Drain snake
- Baking soda
- Distilled white vinegar
- Chlorine bleaching powder
- General cleaner
- Commercial drain cleaner
Step-by-Step Guide: How to Unblock a Shower Drain
- Preparing the area- Blockage can be caused by hair, grease and soap build-up. Other possible causes include accumulating dirt or minerals from water or tree roots growing through small cracks in underground pipes. You may need to remove the drain cover to access the drain hole.
- Removing visible debris- Just pour some hot water on your blocked metal pipes. You can drain the water without removing the shower drain covers.
After the boiling water has run down the drain, take a shower to see if the clog has emptied. If the drain is still clogged, the problem could be a tangled bar of soap or hair you can pull out with your fingers.
- Using a plunger- Use a plunger to clean your clogged shower drains, and if you’re having trouble getting a good seal, put some Vaseline on the edge of the cup. Then, spray enough water into the shower to cover the cup’s rim. Quickly move the plunger handle up and down to eject the plug. Before replacing the drain cover, spray water in the shower to ensure the blockage is gone.
- Employing a drain snake- The best way to clear clogged shower drains is to use a drain snake and push the snake down the drain until it hits the plug. Move it clockwise and If you start feeling resistance, the snake gathers logs. When the resistance decreases, it often means that the snake has cleared the drain. Turn the handle one more full turn to make sure the plug is closed.
Then, turn the handle anti-clockwise to move the snake out of the drain. Move slowly, so don’t lose the logs. Pour down some hot water, and your shower drain is cleared of blockage.
- Using a Zip-It tool- You should try a chemical drain to remove shower blockage. Wear rubber gloves and safety glasses when using chemicals to unclog your shower drain. Read and follow label instructions and make sure you have good ventilation in your washroom to avoid inhaling fumes.
Always remember to get professional help if you need help fixing the shower blockage.
Natural and Homemade Drain Cleaning Solutions
A simple and affordable natural drain cleaner uses baking soda powder with white vinegar.
Equal portions of baking soda and vinegar must be gushed down the drain.
Push the baking soda as far as possible with a spoon if necessary. After adding the vinegar, quickly turn off or close the drain to force the reaction through the tube. Wait about 30 minutes, then pour 2 liters of boiling water down the drain.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
You can avoid some common mistakes in future to keep away the blockage in shower drains.
- Place a drain net or bank roller over the shower drain to collect loose hair. Empty it regularly. Brush your hair before showering.
- Mix half a cup vinegar and half a cup baking soda in a heatproof cup and pour down the drain once a month.
- Pour boiling water from your metal pipes into the pot, little by little, about once a week. This helps remove substances such as grease, soap and debris before they form a clog.
- Do not pour wastewater containing dirt and debris down the shower drain.
Eco-Friendly Drain Cleaning Products
To avoid hard chemicals that are sodium hydroxide-based, there are safer alternatives.
- A plunger or mechanical drain snake with elbow grease is better than sodium hydroxide compounds.
- Another option is to choose any enzymatic biological cleaner that is easily available in the market. They use a natural mixture of bacteria and enzymes to open and keep the drain clean.
If you notice a drainage problem, start with simple solutions to clear the build-up. Simple treatments are the easiest, are often effective, and can be done safely and regularly to prevent build-up. Regular use of natural cleaners, boiling water, and placing a drain net can quickly be implemented to avoid regular blockage at your shower drain.
When to Call a Professional to unblock shower drains?
If you see black gunk coming out of your drain and have tried cleaning it yourself, but the clogging is still there, call professional help to unblock the shower drains.
What can dissolve hair in a drain?
The baking soda and vinegar in your shower drain can easily dissolve the hairs.
Why is my shower drain suddenly so slow?
It is a sign that your shower drain is blocked.
Why should you never use baking soda and vinegar to unclog a drain?
To avoid permanent damage to your drain pipes, you should avoid frequently using baking soda and vinegar.
How do you unblock a drain naturally?
Use any enzymatic biological cleaner to unblock a drain naturally.