How to Unclog a Shower Drain

Is the bottom of your shower still full by the time you’re done? Or maybe it’s even overflowing due to poor drainage during your shower? Either way, no one likes standing in a big puddle after every shower.

If you’ve ever experienced a blocked shower drain, you know that it’s basically a big swirling mess of sudsy hair and dirty water that just won’t go down the drain.

If this is the case, give the following DIY tricks a try before rushing to call your plumber. 

We do ask, however, that you keep in mind that each method is not always going to be a perfect solution, and if your shower drain is clogged to the point that it overflows when you shower, a professional plumber like the ones at Canuck Plumbing and Heating can help.

Although it can be tempting to drop by your hardware store and pick up a chemical solution, we recommend avoiding chemical drain cleaners as much as possible. They can be hard on your system, as well as the environment. If your clog is really stubborn, give us a call and we can provide you with an all-natural alternative called BioSmart.

Tips for Homeowners: How to Unclog Your Shower Drain

1. Remove and Clean Your Shower Drain Cover or Strainer

If you have a bathtub/shower combo, you can check out this guide, How to Unclog Your Bathtub Drain.

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However, if you have a stand alone shower unit with a large strainer or shower drain cover, you can start here. You will likely need a screwdriver to remove the screws that secure the strainer to the floor of your shower.

Chances are high that this strainer is full of hair and gunk that is slowing down the process and preventing proper drainage. Sometimes you can cure your clogged shower drain just by cleaning the strainer.

If a further clog is visible in the drain (check using a flashlight pointed down the drain), you can try removing it by hand (gloved, of course), or by using tweezers, wire, or pliers to pull it out.

Of course, if water continues to sit in the bottom of your shower, you can give the next method a try.

2. Use a Plunger to Unclog Your Shower Drain

The next trick to try is using a plunger to force the clog through your shower drain. To do this, simply take your plunger (make sure the rim around your shower drain is slightly wet, if not, run the shower a little bit), and press it over the drain until you create a tight seal.

Push and pull the plunger until (hopefully) dirty water and gunk are freed up from the drain. Don’t let the buildup go back down. Instead, use your hands (with rubber gloves on) to pick up the gunk and put it in a garbage bag.

If the clog is still inhibiting water flow, move on to the next method.

3. Use Baking Soda, Vinegar and Hot Water to Unclog Your Shower Drain

Just like unclogging your bathtub drain, you can use hot water, baking soda, and vinegar to bust through your shower clog.

Boil a pot or kettle of water, and pour it down your shower drain, being very careful not to splash it on yourself. This in itself can sometimes be enough to clear out a clog. Run some water to be sure.

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If not, pour a 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar down the drain. Let this sit for 30 minutes to an hour before pouring more boiling water down your shower drain. This should be enough time for the mixture to dissolve the clog.

If not, it’s time to try one last method.

4. Use a Drain Snake to Unclog Your Shower Drain

If you have a stand alone shower unit, the shape of the drain pipe may differ slightly from a bathtub shower combination.

However, a drain snake can still be useful for unclogging your shower drain. You can easily purchase a hand snake at your local hardware store. This will allow you to turn the handle and release more of the wire down into the drain.

Feed the snake into the drain until you feel resistance (the clog). Now that you feel the clog, turn the crank the opposite direction, hopefully pulling the clog out with it.

If, after a couple of tries, the clog is still there, it is best to call a professional plumber to come clean your shower drain.

To learn more about clearing a clogged shower drain, you can check out this video.

Are you tired of standing in dirty shower water due to a stubborn clog? Contact the experts at Canuck Plumbing and Heating today! We are dedicated to serving the residential and commercial needs of Fort Saskatchewan and Edmonton.

8 replies
  1. Cherry
    Cherry says:

    Hi Canuck Plumbing,

    Thank you for posting this very useful tips on treating clogged drains. These are very helpful since every home is experiencing this plumbing problems. I don’t know that vinegar and baking soda is also use for unclogging drains, I only knew and I am using the hot water treatment. I should try it whenever I’ll be experiencing clogging. I should share this very informative article to my friends. Keep on posting.

  2. Shwan Marsh
    Shwan Marsh says:

    If you have a shower, you’ll get an obstructed shower drain at some point or another. Before you go after unforgiving chemicals that can harm your channels or pipes, first attempt the procedures to unclog shower drain naturally.


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