Do you have a blocked shower drain and you’re looking for a fast method to fix it? If so, then look no further as this blog post will give you 7 different effective methods that actually work, as well as tips on how to prevent drain blockages in the future.

Why Do Shower Drains Get Blocked?

Have you ever found yourself standing in ankle-deep soapy water because your shower isn’t draining? Before we discuss the different methods on how to unclog your shower drain, I think it’s important to understand the most common reasons why your shower drains get blocked in the first place. Understanding this will allow you to prevent future blockages, saving you from having to go through the hassle of unblocking a shower drain again.

There are a few reasons why your shower drain may get blocked such as a soap scum build-up, hard water, and other debris. But the main culprit to nauseating clogged shower drains is hair and dead skin cells from your body.

Every shower you take, skin cells and hair will fall from your body into the shower. Over time, the skin cells and hair can get stuck to the side of the pipes, causing a blockage which doesn’t allow the water to drain properly. This is much more common for individuals with longer hair, as longer hair is much more likely to get stuck in the pipes rather than travel through them.  

How to Effectively and Quickly Unblock a Shower Drain

1. Unclog Your Shower Drain by Hand

The first method to try is unclogging the shower drain by hand. If matted hair is something that makes you feel queasy, I would skip both this and the next step! 

Ensure you are wearing rubber gloves, and unscrew the drain cover. Some drain covers simply twist to remove and some will require a screwdriver to remove them, if that’s the case then make sure you have one handy. Once the cover is removed, use a flashlight to see if you can spot what’s causing the blockage. If it’s a build-up of hair close to the drain entrance then you should have no trouble using your fingers to remove the hair. 

If the blockage is too deep for you to reach, you may require another tool to help, such as a coat hanger. 


2. Clearing Waste from the Shower Drain with a Coat Hanger

The next logical step to clearing the blockage if you can’t reach it by hand is to use a coat hanger. Using a coat hanger is the oldest trick in the book, but it’s still used as it’s an effective method to unclog drains. 

Wired coat hangers are great for clearing debris from the shower drain as you can unwrap the hanger, leaving the hook intact, making it a long tool which can easily fit down a drain, relatively deep. 

Push the wire down the drain until you feel it hit the blockage, gently twist the hanger and then pull it back to the surface. Whatever is blocking the drain should have come up with the hanger, but do bear in mind that this method may not always work, depending on what’s causing the blockage. 

3. Using Hot Water to Clear Blockages 

Another common method to unblocking your drain is to use hot water. Using hot water can loosen up any soap scum that’s stuck to the side of the pipes, causing a blockage. The loosened soap scum may mean that anything stuck to the side of the pipes will travel with the hot water and free up the pipes. 

The key to this method is using water that’s a little cooler than boiling point. Boil the kettle and leave it for 5 minutes before pouring it down the drain. If the water is too hot, it may cause the pipes to warp, causing you an even more complex and expensive issue.

4. Unblocking a Shower Drain With a Plunger

Using a plunger to unblock a drain is one of the most common methods, as it’s effective. The plunger uses suction to bring any debris stuck in the pipe to the top of the surface, allowing water to move freely again. 

If you’re struggling with generating enough suction from the plunger, apply Vaseline around the edge of the plunger to create a tight seal. This will improve the suction of the plunger and create a better grip, increasing the chances of unclogging the drain. 


5. Using Baking Soda and Vinegar to Clear the Blockage 

Baking soda and vinegar is an efficient way of clearing shower drain blockages. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by the same amount of vinegar and instantly add the drain cover back on. To enhance its effectiveness leave the mixture to sit for a few hours. It’s a good idea to use this method when nobody will need to use the shower during this time. 

After a while, remove the drain cover and clear it with hot water to flush the mixture away. The blockage should then be cleared and the water should flow as normal. If this method isn’t effective, you may need a stronger solution such as a drain cleaner solution. 

6. Using Drain Unblocker Chemicals to Clear Blockages 

If a homemade remedy such as baking soda and vinegar doesn’t clear the blockage, you may require a stronger solution as a last resort. Your local supermarket is likely to sell a drain unblocker liquid. 

When handling harsh chemicals, it’s advised to wear gloves and eye protection as getting these chemicals on your skin or in your eyes can be damaging. Always follow safety precautions and instructions on the bottle of the product you use. 

Using drain-unblocking products shouldn’t be a regular occurrence because these harsh chemicals can cause damage to your pipework as they can corrode pipes over time. 

Once the product is used, you should clear the pipe with hot water. If this method doesn’t work, there may be an underlying issue which would require a professional to resolve the issue. 

7. Calling Professionals for Help 

If none of the previous methods work, at this stage it’s worth calling your local domestic drain unblocking company. An expert drainage engineer will be able to diagnose and resolve the issue when you haven’t been able to solve it yourself. 


How to Prevent Shower Drain Blockages in the Future

Blocked shower drains are an inconvenient problem that many homeowners face. To prevent a shower drain blockage from occurring again, these tips may help you avoid it.

  • Using a drain cover – this is an inexpensive method that will stop hair and other debris from entering the drain
  • Avoid using oily shampoos and conditioners – these products can build up within the pipework, increasing the chance of a blockage 
  • Comb your hair before showering – this may seem strange but combing your hair before showering will remove any loose hairs on your head that are likely to fall off within the shower

If you need help unblocking your shower drain, we offer 24/7 reliable domestic drainage and plumbing services across South West and South Wales with no call-out charge and a fixed hourly rate. 

Get in touch with our experienced drainage and plumbing team today.