We’ve all been there: the bathroom sink or shower drain gets stopped up with hair clogs and soap scum, blocking the drain and causing water backups. It’s a frustrating and unpleasant problem.
You know you have to get rid of the stubborn clogs, but you don’t know how to clean a shower drain, and you don’t have a clue as to what the best drain cleaner for hair might be. Luckily for you, we’ve got you covered. Your experience shouldn’t have to be a bad one.
There are many ways to unclog shower drain, and in this article, we provide nine effective methods to unclog shower drains and sinks. With our help and advice, you can get rid of the standing water and get back to enjoying a clean and comfortable shower experience.
Clean Your Shower Drain Quickly with These Eight Tips
1. Learn How to Clean a Shower Drain with Boiling Water
Hair and soap scum comprise most drain clogs. Luckily for us, soap breaks down under hot water. Take advantage of this by pouring boiling water down the clogged shower drain.
The hot water often dislodges the clog and sends it down the pipes. Before trying this method, make sure that your shower drainpipe is metal, as cleaning drains with boiling water can damage PVC pipe.
Before you begin, make sure that you can lift the pot and pour the water without difficulty; you don’t want to drop a big container of boiling water! Remove the drain cover. If you have a funnel, place it in the drain.
Pour the water in a controlled, steady stream. If the water backs up, allow it to sit until it drains, and then resume pouring. This is how to unclog a drain with standing water.
This method is a solid first step, as it requires no harsh chemicals to clear the clog. Boiling water as a cleaning solution can take a bit of time, so be patient and give the water a chance to work before trying a stronger solution.
2. Unclog Shower Drains with Soda (Really!)
Believe it or not, a powerful DIY multi purpose cleaner is probably sitting in your refrigerator right now. Sodas such as Coca-Cola® or Pepsi® are mildly acidic, and you can use them to do all sorts of household chores. Among other uses, soda can dissolve stubborn clogs.
Pour the entire bottle of soda into the drain, and allow it to sit for at least an hour. Then, send water through to make sure the clog is gone and to clean the soda off the pipes. Because soda is caustic, leaving it for more than a few hours can result in pipe corrosion.
3. Use your Hands to Clear the Clog
Your hands are some of the best drain uncloggers around, and they’re easy to use! If you don’t mind getting a little grungy, you can often pull out the clog with your fingers.
If one of your water drains has a hair clog, take out the drain cover, put on a pair of rubber gloves, and fish around in the pipe. Pull out any hair or other clogs that you encounter, drop them in a plastic bag, and fish around some more.
Once you’ve pulled out all of the hair and soap scum that you can reach, try running water through the drain to determine whether the clog is still there.
4. Create a Makeshift Drain Snake with a Wire Coat Hanger
If the clog gets large enough, it will cause slow draining and result in water backup. If that occurs, the best option to tackle the problem might be a wire hanger.
Using the pliers, straighten the wire hanger, leaving the hook, and bend the other end into a small loop for a handle. Take out the shower drain cover, hold the snake by the circle, and insert the hook end into the drain.
Do your best not to push any debris further into the pipe, which could make the clog worse. Wiggle the hook end around and pull it out, and drop any collected hair and debris into a plastic bag. Repeat this until the snake comes out clean.
Take care when using this method. It’s an effective cleaning solution, but you could damage your pipes if you move the snake around violently. Gentleness and patience is the key here.
5. Push the Clog Away with a Plunger
Plungers often work better on toilets than they do on shower pipes because hair clots can make it difficult for the plunger to create a vacuum. This method uses no caustic chemicals or fancy equipment, though, so it is worth trying a plunger before using stronger solutions.
Remove most of the standing water if present, but leave a little water over the drain to help the plunger get a seal. Coat the plunger rim with petroleum jelly to increase the odds of a seal, as well. Remove the shower drain cover.
Plug up all drains nearby with rags and duct tape; doing so will increase the pressure when plunging. Get a good seal, and move the plunger with a rapid up-and-down motion for about a minute. Repeat this process as needed to unclog a shower drain.
6. Try the Best Drain Cleaner for Hair with this Vinegar and Baking Soda Method
Vinegar and baking soda make one of the best bathroom cleaner recipes around. It cleans tiles, removes mildew, disinfects, and cleans most bathroom surfaces. It is also perhaps the best drain cleaner for hair that doesn’t contain dangerous, caustic chemicals. As you can imagine, vinegar is a perfect choice to clean a shower drain.
Remove the cover. Pour the baking soda in the drain, and then pour the vinegar after it.
Allow it to work for at least a couple of hours, and then send water through the pipe to determine whether the clog has dislodged. Repeat until the clog is gone.
7. Try Commercial Chemicals
If the previous methods didn’t have enough drain cleaning power to resolve your issue, you might need to move on to commercial clog-removal products. Chemical cleaning products are robust and work quickly, but they are dangerous. Handle them with great care.
Never mix commercial drain cleaners, as doing so could result in a chemical reaction that produces toxic gas.
Open all bathroom windows to provide adequate ventilation. If there are no windows, wear the respirator while handling the cleaner. Remove the drain cover.
Consult the cleaner’s instructions, and pour the amount specified into the drain. Allow the agent to work on the clog for the time stated in the instructions.
8. You May Need to Call a Professional to Fix the Problem
Sometimes, you might run into a stubborn clog that won’t dislodge or dissolve. If you encounter a clog that refuses to go, you might have to bite the bullet and call a plumber.
You can find a quality plumber through many approaches. Try to get a referral from a friend, for example. You should also check a reputable online review site, and always verify that the plumber you selected is licensed.
A plumber visit can cost you a pretty penny, but the money you give to the plumber is nothing compared to how much you’ll have to pay them if they get called out to fix a pipe you broke because you kept trying to clean a shower drain even after it was clear that the clog wasn’t budging.
How Can I Prevent Future Clogs?
You can reduce effort and save money if you stop clogs before they start, of course. Here are a few preventative actions you can take to keep clogs from forming.
Bonus Clog Prevention Tips
Put a hair trap in the shower drain, and clean it regularly. You might also consider pouring a cup of vinegar down the drain after each shower to eat away at any debris in the pipe. Baking soda is a fine preventative; drop a ½ cup of baking soda down the shower drain each night, and chase it with a cup of hot water.
Also, it is useful to perform periodic drain flushes. Fill all tubs and sinks with warm water, and open the drains simultaneously to clear the pipes.
We hope you liked reading these tips on how to clean a shower drain. Nobody likes to clean shower pipes, but our advice will help you to take care of the problem with speed.
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