How To Unclog a Shower Drain: The Ultimate Tips

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Just as any other plumbing fixture in your home can become clogged, the shower drain is no exception.

So what’s causing the blockage?

All the yucky stuff, such as soap scum, mineral buildup, debris, dirt, tree roots, and objects, can be challenging to move, especially when wrapped with all the hair that goes down the drain.

You are reading this because your drain is due to be cleaned. How to unclog a shower drain?

We’ve got just the tips for you!

Table of Contents

Signs Of a Clogged Shower Drain

Red flags such as unpleasant odors, standing water, and slow draining signify a clogged shower drain.

Don’t just yet call a plumber.

When it comes to clogged drains, the majority of problems can easily be solved with the proper toolset.

The buildup caused by scum accumulated over time is the main problem for your drainage.

To keep it from getting clogged, it’s essential to get into a habit of cleaning your shower drain often.

Or else?

The clogs can become worse over time and cause severe damage. That’s why you want to avoid being introduced to such problems and act as soon as possible.

Surely you don’t want to end up with a flooded bathroom. A repeatedly clogged drain can be an indicator of a serious blockage.

Perhaps your main sewer line.

Usually, that’s not the case, and there are remedies that we’ll go over, so follow through.

1.  Plunger Method

If you have a seriously bobbed-up shower, the plunger is what you should be reaching for to get the job done right.

Whatever might be stuck in your shower drain, causing the clog, a plunger will help loosen the yuckiness with the force of pressurized water in both directions.

Here’s How To Unclog a Shower Drain With a Plunger

If you haven’t used a plunger yet, there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Here’s how to use one properly. Let’s get plunging!

  • Remove the overflow plate.
    • You’ll need a screwdriver for the screws that hold it down. Be sure to store them at a safe place, so you don’t lose them.
  • Inspect the drain.
    • Take a careful look into it for any stuck objects that might cause the clog for their removal.
  • Maximize efficiency.
    • You can achieve that by using a wet towel to cover the overflow drain. That’s one way to ensure the force from the plunger remains on the clogged spot.
  • Create a tighter seal.
    • To improve the plunger’s force, you can use a small amount of petroleum jelly by lining it on the cup’s rim.
  • Submerge the plunger.
    • Do so, by placing it over the shower drain and submerge it in the standing water.
  • FORCE the air out!
    • Start by gently pushing down on the handle. Progress the pressure as you continue to plunge, directing down the drain without breaking the seal. 
  • Lifted the plunger.
    • As an indicator of a cleared clog, the drainage should consume the water quickly, and you should hear the pipes begin to empty.

2.  Wire Hanger Method

This method is especially useful for unreachable spots by bare hands.


… if you have a badly clogged shower drain filled with a bunch of hair, it’s time to go fishing.

Well, not that kind of fishing, but fishing some hair in your drain with a wire hanger. 

Here’s How To Unclog a Shower Drain With a Wire Hanger

  • Put a pair of gloves on.
    • That’ll help protect yourself from the wire and dirt. Then grab a screwdriver and slowly remove the drain cover. 
  • Grab a coat hanger.
    • Yes, as unbelievable as it sounds, you’ll need a one, a cheap one will do it, and a pair of pliers.
  • Undo the twist.
    • Start by undoing the twist part of the wire coat hanger and straighten it out.  
  • Create a hook.
    • At the end of the wire, you’ll need the hook to be long enough in order to make the hair an easy catch.
  • Slide the wire down.
    • Try to catch as much hair as possible by performing a twisted circular motion before pulling out. 

3.  Plumbers’ Snake Method

Down the list, we go with another method to unclog your drain.

When it comes to expertise, you don’t need to have a special degree to perform this task.

It has a high success rate, and it’s relatively cheap.

This convenient device can usually be found at a home center.

Here’s How To Unclog a Shower Drain With a Snake

  • When working with drains, there are all kinds of nasty bacteria, so make sure that you protect yourself at all times and wear gloves.
  • Remove the shower strainer first, snap it loose if it’s made from plastic, or use a screwdriver if the screws hold it down in place.
  • You’ll want to tighten the locknut on it and push the snake down your drain till it reaches the clog, and you feel resistance.
  • Once the debris and hair are hooked, start rotating the snake’s handle clockwise to clear the clog by bringing it up.
  • Ensure that the clog is entirely removed by running hot water to test the pipes.

4.  Method To Clear The Blockage By Hand

While mineral buildup removal with hands doesn’t have a high success rate, you can effectively remove small objects and hair from your drain. 

Here’s How To Unclog a Shower Drain by Hand

  • First, you’ll need to remove your grille cover and ensure that the water has drained. 
  • Simply pop the grille with a screwdriver if it’s made from plastic. If your grille has screws, use a screwdriver and store them aside safely, so you don’t lose them.
  • Perform a visual audit to locate the clog.
  • Once the clog is located (usually hair hanging around the surface), wear gloves before getting dirty.
  • Pull out the clog if it’s within reach by using your fingers.

5.  Wet/Dry Vacuum Method

With a vacuum, you can successfully clean a clogged drain!


… not a regular vacuum, but a wet/dry shop vacuum. 

Here’s How To Unclog a Shower Drain With a Wet/Dry Vacuum

  • You’ll need to adjust it properly to vacuuming liquids.
  • Next, you will need to place the hose over the drain. 
  • Set the vacuum to the highest suction degree before turning it on for its maximal performance. 
  • This method can easily release the clogged shower drain by pulling small objects or hair stuck in it.

6.  Boiling Water Method

Clogs caused by soap scum and grease can be effectively cleared with boiling water.

You’ll want to inspect the clog and see how significant it is.

If your drain is badly clogged with all kinds of buildups wrapped in hair, this method may not work for you.

Before getting started:

Make sure that your piping system is made from metal. It’s worthy of keeping in mind that boiling water isn’t recommended for PVC pipes, as it can cause joints to become loose. 

Here’s How To Unclog a Shower Drain with Boiling Water

  • Use a saucepan or stockpot to bring water to a boil.
  • Pour the water down the drain, which will help dissolve the gunk.
  • The best practice to avoid damage to surrounding items in your shower is to use a water container as you pour water. A funnel should do the work to prevent spilling.
  • If your blockage is severe, you’ll want to mix boiling water with some natural cleaners, which brings us to the next method below.

7.  Baking Soda And Vinegar Natural Method

If you’re looking to avoid strong chemical products, then this homemade natural remedy is a great alternative to clear your blockage.

This method is particularly useful for clogs that are caused by hair or other organic matter.

While this is a great method for damage prevention on plastic pipes, chemicals might still end up being your solution as a last resort.

Here’s How To Unclog a Shower Drain with Baking Soda and Vinegar

  • You’ll need to pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain.
  • Following with the same dosage of ½ cup pour distilled vinegar down the drain.
  • Once the solution has created a foam full of bubbles, pour hot water on top of it.
  • For maximum effect, it’s preferable to let the mixture work its magic for a few hours.
  • If successfully dissolved, pour heated water (not boiling) to clean out the drain.

8.  Commercial Cleaners Method

Using harsh chemicals might not be a preferable method because they’re potential harm to our body and pipes as well.


If you have a severe drain blockage and not much time available, it’ll get the job done in no time.

These commercial drain blockage remedies are available in a wide variety of options. They can be acquired at your local supermarket and are often found at hardware stores.

Here’s How To Unclog a Shower Drain with Chemicals

  • As a rule of thumb, it’s very important to have your room ventilated when working with chemicals.
  • Skin precaution can’t be skipped either, so make sure to protect your hands with rubber made gloves. 
  • Before pouring chemicals down the drain carefully, take the time to read the label and follow the instructions provided to avoid unwanted production of hazards.
  • For maximum results, it’s essential to determine the appropriate measure, which also helps to avoid repeating the procedure. 
  • While the products are not expensive, keep in mind that repeated use of chemicals is likely to damage the pipes over time, which will break the bank. 

9.  Zip Tie Method

For this gross but fundamental and cheap homemade hack, you’ll need a few standard old zip ties and gloves to protect yourself from drain scum.

None likes a messy floor, mostly not a bunch of gunk, so make sure to grab a trash can before you start snaking the drain. 

Here’s How To Unclog a Shower Drain with Zip Tie

  • To remove clogs from your drain, you’ll need to cut a long zip tie, so it’s sharp at the end and form it like a side cutter.
  • Then cut a nice angle so it’ll grab all the gunk, but not all the way through, and you’ll want to do that a few times throughout the zip tie.
  • Flip it around and go in between the marks you’ve already cut, so you’re giving both sides barb’s that’ll do the hair catching trick.
  • Bend the zip tie around to make the barb’s go out, and you’re ready for some action.
  • Jam it down as deep as you can and wiggle it around before pulling up all the nasty hair.
  • You’ll want to repeat the process a few times until the blockage is gone.

10.  Unclog a Shower Drain With Enzyme (biological) Cleaners

If your clock is not running out and natural eco-friendly cleaners are what you’re looking for, then this method will cure your clogged shower drain and should be your go-to option.

With Enzyme cleaners, not only do you avoid the dirty and hard work, but they can also be very effective.

These bio-enzymatic cleaners, with the use of harmless bacteria, digest waste, stains, and soils.

Specifically designed enzymes break down debris and soils into small pieces created from the good bacteria, essentially clearing the pipes.

This biological method requires patience as it does take time to work.

With that being said, simultaneous usage of chemicals and enzymes is a no-go because the good bacteria and biological cleaners are effective less with the presence of commercial cleaners.

Take into account…

You shouldn’t use the shower for a minimum of eight hours once the enzymatic cleaners have been applied.

11.  Call a Plumber

Obviously, calling a plumber might not be an ideal option, especially if you’re trying to save the expenses that come with it.


… having a blocked drain can be a traumatic and unpleasant experience, and you might need to go with the least affordable option as a last resort.

Keep in mind that it’s not all that bad.

Calling a professional is the least trouble and can also save you money down the road. 

Hopefully, these methods have helped you solve the issue. We would love to hear from you!

Please throw us a question in the comments below and share your success stories about which method worked best for your shower drain!

How to Prevent Future Shower Clogs?

With very little work, you can save time and effort.

Make it a prevention habit and pay regular attention to your drain, which is always better than remedy.

There’s so much hair being shed into the drain, so you’ll be better off buying a hair catcher to protect your plumbing system.

A small price to pay is a bi-weekly clearance of it.

While a hair catcher will do most of the part for debris and hair entering your drain, there’s no stopping the oil, shampoo, or soap flowing through, easily clogging the drain with over time buildup.

Weekly flushing with boiling water can certainly help with the addition of baking soda. Loosen any gunk with this simple plumbing maintenance method to prevent clogs.

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