Your Complete DIY Guide to Unblocking a Shower Drain

You’re enjoying a relaxing shower when suddenly, you realise that the water isn’t quite going down the drain the way it should. Rather than instantly draining away, your shower water is starting to pool in the shower base, creating an unwanted soup of used soap, shampoo and tepid water. You’re left with 2 options:

  1. Resign yourself to a lifetime of 30-second showers
  2. Fix the problem

Blockages in a shower drain are relatively common, as hair, gunk, sediment and foreign objects (AKA, your kids’ Leggo) start to accumulate within the pipes. Fortunately, unblocking a shower drain can be quite easy, with a range of methods to choose from. These include:

  1. The natural remedy: For those who prefer to avoid chemicals, there are a couple of great chemical-free methods for unblocking a shower drain. Start by pouring in 1 cup of baking soda, followed by 1 cup of salt and finally, 1 cup of plain white vinegar. Allow this bubbling brew to sit in the pipe for about 15 minutes, then pour in some boiling water to flush (while being extra careful not to scald yourself).
  2. The chemical method: If you need something with a bit more “oomph”, try pouring in a commercial drain cleaner. Make sure you follow all the manufacturer recommended safety precautions, including wearing gloves and safety glasses and keeping children and pets away from the shower while the product is being used. Be aware that a stubborn blockage may need repeated applications.
  3. Get clawing: If the blockage is located near the shower drain itself (instead of further down in the pipes) then it may be possible to remove it manually. Remove the drain cover and try looking down the pipe with the help of a torch to see if a blockage is visible. If you can see the blockage then arm yourself with some rubber gloves and a drain claw (if you don’t have a drain claw then you can make one by using a coat hanger and a pair of pliers). Use the claw to try and fish out the blockage – you may need to repeat this process several times. Once the blockage has been removed, rinse the pipe with hot water.
  4. Plunge right in: A toilet plunger is designed to force a clear path through blockages, so this can be an option if you want an immediate and vigorous solution to the problem. Start by positioning the plunger over the very middle of the drain, covering the opening completely. Then, run some water into the base of the shower (just enough to submerge the lip of the plunger). As fast as possible, work the plunger up and down for several minutes. This will build pressure within the pipes and create enough suction to (hopefully) force the blockage on its way. Once you’ve finished, flush out the drain with some hot water.

Can’t be bothered doing it yourself? Call your local Perth plumber Hilton Plumbing, your mate in the trade. We can fix any kind of plumbing issue, and we won’t even charge you a call-out fee.