How to Unclog a Shower Drain

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. For more information, please visit our Disclaimer Page.

Clogged drains are certainly at the top of the least interesting chores you have to finish! However, pretending that the problem doesn’t exist won’t magically make it disappear, which is why you need to be actionable and creative in thinking.

Calling the plumber certainly is the simplest solution to do, but… Why spend more money, when you can save it by trying to fix the issue yourself?

There are many simple tips which proved to be helpful, so here comes the practical list of ways how to unclog a shower drain.

As you will see, the ingredients and objects used to fix the problems are mainly those found in every household. Even if you have to buy some of them, they are a certainly cheaper option than calling the plumber.

Moreover, you can borrow them, which also puts them on the list of budget-friendly options.

how to unclog a shower drain

What causes a shower drain to clog?

Know thy enemy is the rule that you can apply in many aspects of your life. The same goes for unblocking the shower drains. If you want to apply any of the solutions we are about to describe, prior to this you need to know what caused the problem in the first place.

The most common causes of blocked pipes are build-ups which consist of dirt, hair and soap scum. This nasty mixture increases and obstructs the passage making the problem become worse over time.

Unlike the toilet, where the cause of the clog can also be an object, here the most common clog is of organic origin.

But, it may happen occasionally that a small object such an earring or some other piece of jewellery ends up inside. Such a small object itself is not a problem, but it can add toughness to an existing clog.

So, now that you have officially met the enemy, you can get down to defeating it. Here are all the tips we could think of!

Pro Tip

clog demolisher shower drain

We recommend you check out the Clog Demolisher. It uses high pressure air to naturally unclog your drains and pipes, without the need for harmful chemicals.

Just pump the air and press the trigger. It's so simple!

How to Unclog a Shower Drain

Solution number 1 - Boil thy enemy

Now, this may sound like some scary ritual, but in fact, it’s about pouring the hot water into the drainage.

The water of adequate temperature proved to be highly efficient in breaking those mixtures of soap scum, hair, and dirt.

As a matter of fact, if you do this regularly, about once a week, you minimize the possibility for a clog to appear.

Just a small note - mind the water temperature, as the water that's too hot may damage the pipes.

Solution number 2 – Try with a good old plunger

To continue with simple ideas, what works for a toilet also works for a shower. There are many different types of plungers, but make sure you get the quality one if you want it to work properly.

The suction you create by using this gadget is powerful enough to loosen the clog and move it.  We warmly advise you to use this method once in a while as prevention.

You can do it after every showering, or at least two to three times a week.


Solution number 3 – Prepare the unclogging potion

Don’t worry, it’s not like you will be playing witches and magicians!

What you will be doing is making quite a simple but powerful mixture using some natural ingredients. Use a cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar.

Pour this down the drain and leave it working overnight or for a few hours. After this, pour some hot water, and it should be unblocked. This is an excellent alternative to some heavy chemicals.

Solution number 4 – Baking soda and salt 

So far you have realized that we are suggesting quite reasonable, simple and practical solutions. Even though we name them in some exotic way, they are still very common and applicable.

If you want to try luck with another natural solution, then use baking soda and salt, a cup of each. 

Pour this combination into the drain and leave it about 10 to 20 minutes. Add some boiling water, and you will have quite an interesting chemical reaction right before your eyes. The one that was powerful enough to dissolve the boring clogs.

baking soda

Solution number 5 – Try with dish detergent

You normally use dish detergent to wash the dishes, quite logically, but you can also use it to unclog the blocked shower. This liquid serves as an excellent lubricant. 

Moreover, it works more than fine in breaking up the greasy residue which caused the block in the first place. Of course, don’t forget to pour the boiling water.


Solution number 6 – Fashionable coat hanger

No, we don’t want you to dress up and clean the nasty clogs! Quite the opposite - a dirty job requires old clothes!

We just wanted to point out to an item that is regularly used to put clothes on it. But, thanks to somebody who decided to think outside the box, we now have a wire coat hanger to be quite a useful item in fixing this issue.

How to Snake a Toilet with a Hanger

You need to straighten it and make some sort of a fishing hook. Now, get down to “fishing”, making sure you won’t push the clog further, but pull it out instead. Read more about it here.

Solution number 7 – Now you need a vacuum cleaner

This powerful device has multiple uses, and one of them is fighting clogs. Of course, it has to be a wet/dry, not the common one. If the clog is not a too stubborn one, this machine should do the job and pull it out.

Solution number 8 – Time for a snake

Don’t go immediately start looking for an exotic animal which eats the clogs (yuck, gross!), it’s a tool we are talking about!

It works pretty much the same as the wire coat hanger we mentioned earlier. However, the significant difference is the length of this tool. Comparing to the hanger, the drain snake is longer which means it can reach some further spots.

Read our complete guide on how to snake a shower drain.


Solution number 9 – Enzyme-based products for the win 

You have tried all the DIY mixtures, but they still won’t unblock the pipes? What do you do? Opt for some heavy chemicals? No! At least not yet!

When dealing with clogs or dirt of any other type, you need to be highly aware of your own health and the environment.

This means that you should choose some less dangerous liquids when dealing with this situation. You will find enzyme-based products to be highly popular.

They are a combination of enzymes and bacteria, which means they are completely natural. These products are certainly less hazardous than the majority of liquids you can find.

All you need to do is follow the instructions and leave them to work as said. They have numerous positive reviews in generals, which means they do the job, as long as you use them as written.

Solution number 10 - When nothing else works

You have patiently tried all the above-mentioned methods, even repeated them few times, but the clog is still out there, giving you headaches. Provided that you really did try all the tips and none of them works, there are two possible ways to deal with the situation:

1. Use some heavy chemicals

As we said, this is definitely the last thing to opt for. These liquids have numerous strong and dangerous ingredients, which are, to be honest, powerful but very harmful. They are bad both for your own health and for the environment as well.

That’s why this shouldn’t be your first choice. Click here for a list of the best drain cleaners for shower.

2. Call the plumber

Okay, if absolutely none of the methods we described works, it’s just the right moment to call the professional to have the job done.

Don’t look at this as a personal failure, as sometimes the problem is beyond the limits of us amateurs. After all, that’s why the professionals are for.

Final thoughts: How to Unclog a Shower Drain

As you can see, calling the plumber is absolutely the last thing to do when this problem occurs. There are many practical and simple solutions hidden all around you, and now that you know where and what to look for, it’s much simpler, isn’t it?

Applying the first and the second solution on regular basis will significantly minimize the chances for some serious block to occur. However, sometimes it’s up to pipes, gravity or some other reason that may not be so obvious that this issue keeps on repeating.

Trying the luck with any of the solutions we gave you here certainly is cheaper than calling the plumber, but be aware that some of the methods we described here require time.

Time means patience here. If you opt for those DIY or enzyme-based solutions, leave the working as instructed, otherwise, you won’t have the problem solved.

So, now that you have this practical list of tips on how to unclog a shower drain, there’s at least one thing less to worry about when it comes to household chores.

Related: How to Dissolve Hair in Shower Drains