6 Ways to Unclog That Stubborn Shower Drain

Picture of Shower or Bath Drain

If you're reading this, it's likely you have a clogged shower drain. The more you wait and ignore it the more it builds up and the harder it is to remove.

There are many causes for this that we don't have much control over, like the dead skin cells and hair strands that we shed in every shower. While many of them successfully drain away, some can cling to the drainpipe, which can lead to a blockage over time. Some other common reasons are:

  • Soap scum gets deposited on the walls of pipes which then trap hair and skin cells – leading to a blockage.
  • Hard water deposits a range of minerals and micro solids on the walls of your drain pipe. If these aren’t cleaned away regularly then you could be heading for an ankle-deep shower.
  • Small items like toothpaste caps or razor coverings dropped down a shower drain can lead to difficulties draining the shower.

How do you know that your shower drain is clogged?

Here are some common signs to look for when you suspect a clogged drain:

  • You end up standing in a pool of water even after your shower is over, and it’s not disappearing as quickly as you’d expect.
  • The drain lets out an unpleasant odour, caused by some of the debris which is clinging to the pipes.
  • In more serious situations, you can experience bathroom flooding if water starts to seep through shower joints.

Have you removed everything you see that might be blocking the drain? If you've had no luck you might want to call for a plumber or stock up on a range of chemicals and start dumping them down the drain. These options should be your last resort. We have some tips and tricks for you to try before declaring it an emergency.

How to unclog your shower drain


1. Hot water

Start with the most basic solution. Pour some piping hot water down the drain to loosen blockages. In serious situations, this is unlikely to unblock a shower drain on its own but it’s generally a good start.

Be careful not to use water while it’s at boiling point as a large volume of this can cause your pipes to warp and distort. 

2. Plunge

If the blockage is near the plughole, a plunger will help draw it out. Once you have added water to the shower to submerge the plunger, you should begin plunging.

3. Baking soda & white vinegar

These two always have our back when it comes to home cleaning solutions. Fill a cup with baking soda and pour it down your drain. Wait two to three minutes and then add a cup of white vinegar. Watch the mixture bubble away. Put the plug in and let it do its work. After an hour or so, pour hot water (again, never boiling) down the drain to clear out any clogs of hair or gunk. You can repeat the process if it doesn’t completely clear out the contaminants. If that doesn’t cut it, continue reading.

4. Down the drain

It’s time to go in. Put on rubber gloves to keep yourself protected from chemical buildup and allergy-causing material. Take the cover off your plughole then use a flashlight to inspect if the blockage is within reach. If it’s not somewhere your hand can get to, use a hook. Our hack would be to use a wire coat hanger to pull out the clog. If that doesn’t work, get a plumber’s snake and insert that in. Push it in until it reaches the clog, then turn the handle and pull it back out.

5. Chemical combat

Now we’re at the last step before you call up the professionals. Your local supermarket or hardware store will have a range of drain unblockers. Follow the directions on the bottle, flush the drain and your blockage. 

Caution: Wear gloves while you do this step and be careful not to repeat regularly (we understand it can be tempting) as it will corrode your pipes over time.

6. Use a water filtering and softening shower head

Showery’s range of eco-friendly shower heads features cotton and mineral stone filtration systems. The shower filters remove dirt and other impurities from your shower water. These can build up in your drain and cause clogging. So if you’re looking to purify your water, it's time to upgrade! 

Explore the Showery range