How to Snake a Shower Drain Easily and Effectively

Has it ever happened to you that water in your shower drain goes into the drain slower than it runs out from the shower? This means that your shower drain has been clogged.

According to BOCA (American Plumbing Code), the shower drain’s diameter in the USA must be 1½ inches. This is adjusted with the size of pipes in the USA. Anyway, some say that the diameter of the shower drains is more often 2 inches. 

The reasons for clogged shower drain are numerous, but the most common ones are hair and the feminine products like moisturizers, body creams, hair removal creams, skin remains, or even the nails. ​

If you have pets it can be their whiskers, or dirt of completely different origin. If you have kids, you can find even more imaginative things in your drain, such as clay or plasticine, beads etc.

As I said, there are numerous things that can clog your shower drain, and that increases the reasons for calling a plumber. Fortunately, with the devices for snaking that can be easily purchased and with the simple instruction available on the Internet such as this one, you can easily save money on a plumber.

how to snake a shower drain

Why choose snaking over other unclogging methods? 

As previously mentioned, the shower drains normally are 1 ½ inches to 2 inches wide, and for that reason, you cannot put anything wider than 1 ½ inches in it. Therefore you cannot reach the dirt by any other method.

If the dirt is ingrained, you cannot unclog it by simpler methods, like plungers or the chemical fluids. Also, the plunger requires more strength than the snaking device.

There are different snaking devices. Some of them are meant for a single use, which is more hygienic than the plunger which is designed for more uses. 

On the other hand, unclogging with a plunger is faster, and the one with chemical fluids is easier and less messy. Thus, I am advising that you first try with the other two ways and if the drain still remains clogged - use the snaking as the guaranteed method for success. 

Toilet Auger vs Snake

How to Snake a Shower Drain

3 Different Drain snaking devices

There are a couple of different ways for snaking, and there are cheaper and more expensive ones. Also, there are snaking devices that work with a drill/ automatic screwdriver, and those that work autonomously.

Thus, everything depends on you, how much money you want to spend on it, and if you have a screwdriver or you want a single use snaking device for more hygienic reasons.

I will show you a couple of different snaking devices with their advantages and their flaws so you can come up with the one that perfectly fits you.

1. Omont Drain Snake Clog Remover Drain Snake 

This set contains one stainless steel cleaner with the 0.9-inch width and the 24 inches of length and goes along with five other plastic drain snake tools that are meant for hair removal from the drain.

Since the hair is the most common reason for clogged shower drain, this package can be quite useful.

The following video shows how the hair removal snaking devices work. Therefore, if you or someone in your household has long hair, you should consider purchasing this item.

Also, this snaking device works without the drill and therefore, if you do not have one already, you can use this type of snaking device and not spend additional money on the drill.

This set can be used multiple times. The plastic ones  are for single use only, which means you can use it 5 different times. The metal one is for multiple uses, and since it is made from stainless steel it is a high quality one.

2. LDR Industries 512 1025 Drum Auger

This product is representative of a more expensive option, yet more precise one. This is the product that works with a screwdriver or any other drill. It is quite useful for the household and therefore it is money well spent.

Anyhow, this snake drain has a length of 25 feet, and the width of ¼ inch. It perfectly fits in any drain, tube or sink. It is made of stainless steel and has a lifetime guarantee. This device works without making any additional mess, and if you are queasy, you should consider that as an advanced option.

It is easy to use if you know how to use a drill. You put the drill on the opposite side from the one where snake goes, and then you can use it in your drain.

3. VEVOR 26 Ft Portable Electric Drain Auger Best fit 0.8” (20mm)  

If you are considering being a professional plumber and you do not want to invest too much money at once, this is the right machine for you.

It is electric, works with 110V, and has high cleaning possibility. It has 26 feet long snake, and its width fits best with the pipes from 0.8 up to 2.6 inches, which is, according to BOCA, almost every drain in any household.

This device is quite an investment for your household if you do not want to use just for your sink.

How to use Drain snaking devices properly?

We assume that you decided what snaking device to purchase or you already have one, yet the question remains: How to use it properly, without making additional damage to your pipes?

I am bringing you a very concise instruction for the proper use.

  1. You should remove any grate that covers your shower drain. If it is held by screws you should use a screwdriver.
  2. If you see any dirt on the grate after you open it, you should clean it in detail.
  3. After that you can slowly put the snake cable into the drain.
  4. When you feel the resistance, you should start to rotate the snake, until the drain opens. Be careful, if you press the cable too much, the clog can push the cable back and it can hit you. 
  5. When you break the clog, continue to rotate and push it further since there is a possibility that there is more than one clog.
  6. After you make sure that there are no more clogs, remove the cable slowly and beware of the hair and the other dirt that may be attached to the cable. It can make an additional mess if you are not careful, no matter which snaking device you use.

If you still have any additional questions, I am suggesting reading the manual that goes with your snaking device, because the proper usage can depend on the type of the snaking device.

Testing the shower drain

After you finished with the snaking, you should check if the water runs freely into the drain. If not, repeat the process.

That probably means that you missed some clogs and pulled back the cable too soon. If water runs freely, that means that you succeeded, and you can reattach the grate again.

Conclusion: How to Snake a Shower Drain

If you decide on snaking, instead of other methods of unclogging the shower drain, you should carefully check the offer of snaking devices. Make sure how much money you want to spend on buying a device.

Check all the options and make sure that the diameter of the snaking device isn’t too wide, or too short for your pipes. If you are buying a snaking device, make sure that it fits all pipes in your household, not just with shower drain so you can use it for unplugging all pipes.

Once you purchased the device, you should carefully read the manual that goes with it and read this article for common pieces of advice that can be applied with each snake driver.

The most important thing is to use it slowly to avoid any possible injuries. Also, some people try to use the snaking device through the grate, and it is most often a cause of damaging both the cable and the grate. Therefore, you must reattach the grate before you start snaking.