How to Unclog a Shower Drain WITHOUT a Plunger or Drain Cleaner

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The most convenient way to unclog a shower drain is to call your plumber. Once he appears at your door with his snake auger, you can go back to your business and just let him wrestle with the clog. Mr. plumber has to do all the dirty work, but you're the one responsible for the pricey bill afterwards. It usually costs around $70 - $150 to hire a plumber to do this type of task. That's why many people choose to forgo a plumber and try to unclog their shower drains themselves. The plunger is a common "weapon" many homeowners use to battle clogged drains. Some clogs, however, might be too enormous and stubborn for this basic tool to handle. What about drain cleaners? They're usually quite effective, but some drain cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to you and the environment. Also, they tend to take a period of time to get the job done, and such delay can be very inconvenient for some people.

If your local plumber's service is too expensive, your plunger has failed you, and the drain cleaner can't fix your problem fast enough, there is another easy method to try. Something as simple as a garden hose can be a nifty plumbing tool if you know how to utilize it for this particular purpose. With some little tricks and a few blasts of water, your shower drain can once again be clean and unclogged.

Source

How Does a Shower Drain Get Clogged?

The wicked attraction between fallen hair and soap residue can end up causing you exasperation and grief. When you rinse the soap off your body, you may think it will go straight through the shower drain and disappear, but it's not always so. The soap residue can coagulate inside your shower drain and bind the hair together in a mass. This soapy and hairy mass will grow larger after every shower you take. It is a steady and subtle onslaught to your drain, the same way cholesterol slowly clogs your artery every time you eat junk food. Luckily, a clogged shower drain is not as big a tragedy as a clogged artery, and you can actually fix it yourself without professional help.

Needle-Nose Pliers
Needle-Nose Pliers

Tools for Unclogging a Shower Drain

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Garden hose
  • Small towel


How to Unclog a Shower Drain Without a Plunger or Drain Cleaner

Source
  • Open the prongs of your needle-nose pliers.
  • Insert them into the holes of the shower drain's strainer.
  • There're usually two ways to remove the strainer, depending on what type of strainer you have. Most of the time, you should be able to simply flip the strainer out with the pliers. For some models, however, you need to grip the strainer tightly with the pliers and twist it counterclockwise to unscrew it.


Source
  • Insert the garden hose into the shower drain as far as it can go.
  • Stuff the drain around the garden hose with a small towel.
  • Connect the other end of the hose to the sink's faucet and turn on the water to the highest pressure.
  • As the water is running into the shower drain, crimp and uncrimp the hose to dislodge the blockage with blasts of water.
  • Once you successfully unclog your shower drain, close the drain with the strainer. Follow the tips below to prevent your shower drain from getting clogged again.

***This unclogging technique only works for shower drains. As for a bathtub and shower combination, the drain system would normally be more complicated than this.***


How to Prevent a Shower Drain from Getting Clogged

  • When you just want to take a quick shower, a shower cap is your best friend. It can keep your hair from getting wet and prevent the drain from getting clogged.
  • Before jumping into the shower and washing your hair, brush or comb it first to get rid of all the loose hair. This will minimize the amount of hair you shed in the shower.
  • As much as you adore your dogs, don't wash them in your shower stall. You might want to go so far as to treat them as your equals, but unfortunately, shower stalls should always be reserved for humans only.
  • NEVER allow the bonding between the soap and hair in the drain to grow too large and too strong. You can nip it in the bud simply by pouring boiling water or some vinegar down your shower drain once a week.


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Comments 24 comments

marellen 5 years ago

Om.....wonderful hub and looks like it can work. Thank goodness this has never happened to me and I hope it doesn't. Awesome and thanks for sharing...


almasi profile image

almasi 5 years ago

Your awesome illustrations and awesome explanations have make this the first plumbing article I have ever enjoyed reading.

Voted up and useful.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

Enjoyed seeing your work, thanks Om.


rsusan profile image

rsusan 5 years ago from South Africa

Good, clear explanation of something my dad has been doing for years, Om. It really works! Now, if someone can just tell me if there is an easy way to clean the tiles in the shower (without using something toxic), I will be content...


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

Very well written about to unclog a shower drain. Actually I had never knew about this and I don't have experience with this. Thanks for share this tips. Vote up and useful. Cheer...

Prasetio


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

I hate gooey hair scummy stuff! That's always the culprit and it's sticks to the drain pipes. I like your instructions. We often try to do our unclogging and fixing ourselves.


Robin profile image

Robin 5 years ago from San Francisco

What a great eco-friendly way of unclogging a shower! If our shower clogs up we will have to try this. Thanks for the step by step guide and for the original pictures!


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California

Big congrats on your staff pick win today! A great hub with a wonderful way to unplug the shower drain. I thought your diagrams were spectacular!

Cheers~

K9


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

How very clever! Why not harness the incredible power of water - makes so much sense. Thanks a million for a tip that I would use because I do not ever believe in using toxic chemicals. Love the illustrations!

Rated way up!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

Excellent hub and I am bookmarking it as we have problems with out shower occasionally. You explained this method very well. Rated up and useful.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Easy to follow and understand! Flag up!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

@marellen - You're so lucky! Well, if it does happen, now you know what to do about it!

@almasi - Thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed reading this.

@snakeslane - Thanks for the read and comment, snakslane.

@rsusan - Try using baking soda and white vinegar! They always work wonder.

@prasetio - You're very welcome, prasetio. Thanks for dropping by.

@Cardisa - It's great that you try to unclog your drains and fix little stuff around the house yourselves. You can save quite a bit of money this way.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

@Robin - Thanks so much for the read and sweet comment, Robin.

@k9keystrokes - Thanks! Glad you like my dorky diagrams.

@BkCreative - Yep, water is a very powerful and safe material when it comes to unclogging shower drains!

@Pamela - Thanks for dropping by, Pamela. Hope this little technique will work for you.

@dallas - Thanks a lot!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

Love your visuals. Brilliant idea using the garden hose and definitely cost-effective. Rated up.


rsusan profile image

rsusan 5 years ago from South Africa

Thanks, Om! Will try your tip for cleaning tiles. Thanks for your feedback.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

Congrats on the staff pick win! This technique will work for sure..but some types of bathroom sink faucets do not have the right kind of thread to mate up with a garden hose. In this case, it may be necessary to run the hose in through the nearest window.... ;-)

Good job on the article, and well-explained. Voted up & useful.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

@anglnwu - Thanks for the read and sweet comment, Angeline!

@rsusan - You're welcome!

@DzyMsLizzy - Ah, that's true. A washer supply faucet will probably work, though. I guess having a long hose is a plus. Thanks for pointing that out.


MAFLongfellow1 profile image

MAFLongfellow1 5 years ago from BYESVILLE

AWARD WINNING HUB, THANKS I NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT, EXCELLENT,MARILYN


Mrs. Menagerie profile image

Mrs. Menagerie 5 years ago from The Zoo

Ah ha! Very handy indeed!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago Author

Thanks a lot, MAFLongfellow and Mrs. Menagerie. :)


louromano profile image

louromano 4 years ago

Nice hub. Thanks for share this tips. Vote up and useful


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago Author

@louromano - Thanks for your kind words. Glad you find this helpful :)


The Drain Guys profile image

The Drain Guys 9 months ago from West Orange

Way to get creative, Om! Leveraging water like this helps clean clogs near your drain. Plumbers will often use a practice called hydro jetting which clears deeper clogs and cleans debris off pipes with high pressured water. Similarly, using a garden hose as a home remedy is a great idea!


Jack2016 4 weeks ago

I recently purchased Drain-FX and it cleared my drain easily & effectively. I bought it online after hearing about it on the Gary Sullivan show. It's eco friendly & reusuable. Cleared my sink & shower drains!

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