How Do You Unblock a Badly Clogged Shower?

a shower head spraying water

What can I do if my shower is clogged?

Homeowners in and around the Santa Clarita, California area may encounter clogged shower drains for several reasons, whether you have guests in the house and a few more people are using your shower or you’re experiencing a build-up of materials such as soap and other scum it’s always inconvenient to find you need clogged shower drain cleaning. Keeping that in mind, there are a few things you can do to prevent a clog in your shower and some things you can do if you find yourself dealing with a clogged shower drain.

What causes a clogged shower drain?

Not only is a clogged shower drain inconvenient, but it is also gross to be standing in dirty water as it slowly tries to drain! What can cause this inconvenient and unsightly situation? Most clogged shower drains are caused by a combination of the following substances: 

  • Dirt
  • Grease
  • Hair
  • Skin flakes
  • Soap scum 
  • Toothpaste

Other possible causes of clogged shower drains are clogs from other areas of the plumbing too, such as things that are flushed down the toilets, poured down the kitchen drains, and even underground. Some examples of what causes clogs that can also be blamed for a clogged shower drain are: : 

  • Flushable diapers and wipes
  • Flushing hygiene products
  • Improper use of the garbage disposal
  • Fat, grease, and oil down the kitchen drain
  • Tree roots

How can a badly clogged shower drain be cleared?

 Luckily, there are several methods you can try to clear a clogged shower drain before calling in a professional. Start by checking the drain for any visible obstructions, often you’ll find hair clumped together. You can remove this yourself with your fingers, a pair of pliers, or a wire clothes hanger. If you don’t see anything obvious, then try the following: 

  • Auger or Snake:  You can purchase or rent an auger or drain snake, also referred to as a plumber’s snake, from your local hardware or big box home improvement store. This is a flexible, retractable drill-type tool that you will place into the drain, and by turning a hand crank, a wire-type cable goes down the drain. It will either bust through the clog so that it washes on through or pull up what could be, by connection, causing the clogged shower drain. 
  • Boiling Water: If the auger or drain snake method is unsuccessful, pour a pan of boiling hot water into the drain. This will dissolve any soap scum and break the clog apart so that the drain can flow. You may need to repeat this two or three times. 
  • Natural Drain Cleaner: If these two methods aren’t successful, do not try an over-the-counter chemical drain product.  A natural drain cleaner that has a proven success rate is to pour one cup of boiling hot water down the drain, wait 15 to 20 minutes, then follow with one cup of white vinegar, and then one cup of baking soda. After another 15 to 20 minutes, pour boiling water down the drain again. 

If none of these methods result in an unclogged shower drain or any other drain, your only option is to call a professional plumber. 

Why baking soda and vinegar should NOT be used to unclog a drain?

While this is a proven mixture of all-natural ingredients for clearing a clogged shower drain, there are some possible downsides. The mixture of baking soda and white vinegar creates a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas. That gas can build up inside the pipes, pressure builds up, and could result in cracked pipes and leaks. 

Will a clogged shower eventually drain on its own?

If the clog isn’t severe, it is possible that slowly, the drain will eventually clear on its own.  If the water hasn’t drained within an hour, start with the auger or plumbing snake method described above, and on through the other steps if needed. 

Why are chemical drain cleaners not recommended? 

Chemical drain cleaners contain lye, sulfuric acid, and other active ingredients that can cause pipes to corrode, crack, or even burst. Yes, they eat through and clear clogged shower drains and other drains, but they are also eating the interior of the pipes. You’ll damage the surrounding plumbing, and end up replacing some, or all of the plumbing, as well the surrounding cabinetry, flooring, and/or walls.

Washing It All Down

To prevent, or minimize the possibility of clogged shower drains, or any drain, follow a ritual of pouring baking soda and white vinegar into all the drains once a month. This will keep any buildup from becoming a major clog and a total nightmare.  

Also, there are preventive measures you can take including placing drain strainers in each drain to catch any fat, grease, oil, hair, and food particles. Be careful of what is poured down the bathroom or kitchen sinks, and avoid flushing things like diapers, and feminine hygiene items, and flushable wipes down the toilet. Meanwhile, if you find yourself in need of clogged shower drain cleaning in Santa Clarita, California you can always reach out to us. Call today at 661-201-6016 if you need assistance.