5 Common Causes For A Clogged Shower Drain (And 5 Ways To Fix It)

5 Common Causes For A Clogged Shower Drain (And 5 Ways To Fix It)

A clogged shower drain is probably the most common plumbing issue you can have. A constant source of frustration, the excess water can stagnate, leading to contamination and deterioration of your entire home’s drain system. In other words, it’s time to take care of your plumbing before it takes care of you!

With a clogged shower drain, the water in the shower won’t drain as quickly as it should. You may have a clogged shower drain if you have noticed that the water stays in the rain much longer than it used to. This is especially common with shower filters, as they can clog up with minerals in the water.

When you have a clogged shower drain, you can often clean it yourself with the methods below.

Top 5 Causes of Clogged Shower Drains

  1. Hairballs – The most likely cause of a clogged drain is a clump of tangled hair. You will likely have clogged drains if you have a lot of hair. Hairballs can be very difficult to clean and cause clogs and build-up in your drain system.
  2. Soap Buildup – Another prevalent cause of a clogged shower drain is soap build-up. If you don’t clean your shower drains frequently, soap can build up and eventually become stuck in the gutter.
  3. Dirt Buildup – If your shower gets a lot of heavy-duty, use washing off pets, muddy kids, or other sources of thick filth; that residue can build up over time.
  4. Mineral Accumulation – If your shower has a lot of hard water, mineral deposits can build up in the drain and cause blockages if you don’t have adequate water softening.
  5. Trash – Everyone accidentally drops a cap, razor cover, jewelry, or other small bits of debris down the drain. These items get jammed in the pipe quickly, leading to a clog. When you notice something has fallen into the drain, turn off the water immediately and attempt to retrieve the item. Some showers come with grills to prevent this from happening. If you don’t have one, invest in something like a drain basket for this reason.

How To Fix Clogged Shower Drains

Method 1: Pull The Clog Out By Hand

If you can see the clog, there is a chance you can pull it out by hand. Use gloves and eye protection before attempting this method. Make sure the shower has no water, either by slowly waiting for it to drain away or bailing it out with a bucket. Remove the drain grill and pull out the source of the clog. Remember to replace the grill and test to ensure the water flows down easily.

Method 2: Pour in Some Boiling Water

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to remove a clog is with a bucket of boiling water. Warning: Do not use this method if you have PVC pipes. If it drains slowly but not entirely, try a larger stream. If the water drains too quickly, try a smaller stream. Repeat this process until you find the right size stream that allows the clog to clear completely. Once you have determined the right stream size, you can decrease the water you use to keep the drain unclogged. If the water doesn’t seem to move at all then it’s time to try a different method.

Method 3: Use Vinegar and Baking Soda

The following method requires some mixing and preparation. You will need an empty container such as a spray bottle and a bowl of vinegar. Mix up 1 part vinegar to 1 part baking soda and pour the solution into the drain after removing the drain cover. The chemical reaction should immediately start fizzing. Leave the key in the drain for an hour, then test that it’s clear by running it in some hot water.

Method 4: Try a Plunger

Plungers can clear clogged shower drains as well as they can earn a toilet stop. First, spread some petroleum jelly on the end of the plunger to ensure it will create a good seal over the drain. Next, provide enough water in the basin to cover the lip of the plunger, then move the plunger up and down up to 12 times to loosen the clog. You may have to do this several times.

Warning: Do not use a plunger if you have already poured any dangerous chemicals down your drain. It can make hazardous fluids splash back onto you and result in serious injury. As always, you should be wearing protective gear like gloves and eye-protective glasses is wise.

Method 5: Call A Professional

If none of the above steps work, it may be time to call a professional plumber. Plumbers have more specialized tools for stubborn clogs. They are also trained to use heat and other chemicals to dissolve clogs. Make sure that you are contacting a licensed and insured service. You might be tempted to hire a cheaper individual from an online classified service like Craigslist, but there is often no guarantee that person knows what they are doing.


Clogged drains can occur even with the best of intentions. The proper repairs should create a clean and functional drain. However, keep in mind that doing it yourself comes with some extra risks to your wellbeing, especially when using chemical solutions. Always be willing to reach out to a professional when you need one.

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