How to Unclog a Shower Drain

By Ann Hills / a couple of years ago

While a plumber may be essential to fix or install many things in your home, their help isn’t always needed when it comes to unclogging drains. There are numerous tools and techniques at anyone’s disposal which can be used to unclog your shower drain. Oftentimes, shower drains are forgotten about until your showering session is ruined and you’ll have to unclog it before you can take another one. The causes of clogging are usually simple, making their solutions simpler than you’d think. Unfortunately, hair is usually the main cause of clogging as it can cling and block your drain easily. You won’t need a lot of tools to get rid of a clog. Since time is of the essence, the fastest way to unclog your drain is by unclogging it yourself, instead of waiting for someone to do it. If you are disgusted easily, mentally prepare yourself to see some things you’d rather not see and you should be good to go.

Here are the various ways that are used to unclog shower drains:

Boiling Water

Even if you use hot water in your showers, they are probably not enough to stop hair and soap gunk from forming in your drain. You’ll need to heat water until boiling point by using an outside source like a kettle or a pot. Once the water is hot enough, start pouring little by little, taking a few seconds between each pour. Pouring it gradually helps the boiling water to transfer the temperature to whatever’s clogging the drain. This high temperature is going to help dissolve and break up hair or soap clogging the drain. This method is only effective when you don’t have grease or big objects blocking the drain.

You can check this list for the best grease cleaners for your drain. Grease is more common than you’d think as some fat-based soaps can leave residue behind that can clog the drain over time. This method is effortless and should be started with first before you move on to other measures.

Baking Soda and Vinegar


Your household contains a lot of chemicals that can be used to create a powerful declogger solution. Get your lab coat and find some baking soda and vinegar. Mix 1/3 of a cup of baking soda with a third of vinegar and wait until the concoction gets foamy and fizzy. Once it starts fizzing, pour it down the clogged drain. It’s a chemical compound that’s more effective than boiling water and it will easily break up debris like hair and soap. The results are not instantaneous and may take some time, so it’s better to leave it an hour or two before flushing it with hot water.

Get Your Hands Dirty

Unfortunately, one of the most effective ways to unclog a drain is also the one that requires a tough stomach. Roll your sleeves up and wear some rubber gloves before you begin. You’ll have to remove the metallic shower drain cover before you put your hands in. Try to find something that is long and thin, like a metallic wire, and then proceed to insert it as deep as possible into the drain. Start circulating the wire to fish out any blockage like hair and gunk. Repeat the process as many times as it takes and then proceed to pour boiling water after you’re done. This method is effective because it can take out debris that is hard to be broken down by chemicals or boiling water.


Plunging alone rarely unclogs drains but it can still be used in conjunction with the abovementioned methods for best effect. You can use it to drain water that is standing due to the clog. You’ll want to use a plunger with an extra rubber band or you can use petroleum jelly at the circular ends to provide a strong seal. It doesn’t take a lot of time and it’s quick when it comes to draining the water left in the tub.

Hand Snake

A hand snake is a cable that is connected with a crank and it can be bought through many local stores for cheap prices. There is a great variety in lengths, from 6m to 30m, so pick one that is suitable for your drain. Remove the cover plate of the drain and push the snake inside the drain by turning the crank counterclockwise until it becomes difficult as it reaches the end. Once you’re sure you’ve reached the end, turn the crank clockwise and watch it fish all the debris and hair inside the clog. You can repeat this process as many times as you want. However, this will not work with big objects clogging the drain which may need a plumber to deal with.

Enzyme Cleaners

Biological cleaners are safe bacteria that can be used to break down the debris clogging down the drain. They take a lot of time, at least 8 hours, so make sure you don’t use the shower for at least 8 hours. The bacteria are sensitive to bleach and chemicals, so when you use any chemicals on your drain, wait for an hour or two before applying enzyme cleaners. This method is highly effective if you can wait for the bacteria to do their work.

Caustic Soda

This method requires following standard safety procedures as caustic soda is a dangerous substance that can easily burn and scar skin. Use rubber gloves, glasses, and clothes to protect your body. Add 3 cups of caustic soda to 3 liters of cold water and then stir until it becomes heated. Pour the concoction as it starts heating and then wait for half an hour before pouring boiling water down the drain. Caustic soda is strong enough to melt whatever it is that’s clogging your drain as long as it’s not a huge object.

Nothing can ruin a good shower after a hard day like a clogged drain. Fortunately, most clogged drains can be treated using household chemicals, boiling water, and local plumbing tools. If everything fails, it may be time to contact a plumber as unclogging the drain would probably require a more technical approach.

About the author

Ann Hills

My name is Ann Hills and I am a food blogger and a yoga teacher. When I was a child, I often got around my mother and watched her cooking in our kitchen. My mom always says to me that: “Kitchen is the heart of any home”. I strongly believe in her saying that’s reason why I prefer spending my money to make my home better than other stuff.

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