How to Snake a Shower Drain to Fully Clear a Blockage
Author: Omar Alonso | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
A clogged shower drain can be a frustrating and messy problem to deal with, but fear not! With the right tools and know-how, snaking your shower drain can be an easy DIY solution. Let's look at how to snake a shower drain without the need for a professional to come by.
In this blog post, we'll cover everything from the common causes of shower drain clogs to a step-by-step guide on how to use a snake in a shower drain. We will also explore alternative methods for clearing those stubborn blockages and share some valuable tips on preventing future issues.
Common Causes of Shower Drain Clogs
Clogged shower drains are an all-too-common annoyance for many homeowners, disrupting the water flow and making showers less enjoyable. One of the primary culprits behind these blockages is hair, which can easily accumulate in bathroom plumbing and create stubborn clogs.
In addition to hair, soap residue often contributes to obstructed drains.
There are other factors as well that may lead to clogged shower drains. Hard water deposits often build up over time due to minerals present in tap water, ultimately affecting pipe maintenance and restricting drainage.
Root intrusion from nearby trees could infiltrate your plumbing system, causing disruption and potential damage if left undetected for too long.
How to Snake a Shower Drain: Step-By-Step Guide
In just a few easy steps, you can learn how to snake your shower drain and save money on plumbing costs. Let's look at how to unclog a shower drain with a snake.
Gather the Necessary Tools
Before attempting to snake your shower drain, it's vital to gather all the necessary tools for a smooth and efficient process. Having the right equipment at hand can make the task much simpler and ensure that you don't cause any damage to your plumbing system.
The most important tool you'll need is a drain snake or auger, which can be manual or motorized depending on your preference.
In addition to the drain snake, other essential items include rubber gloves (to protect your hands from dirt and bacteria), a screwdriver (for removing the drain cover), an old towel (to lay down beneath your workspace), and a bucket or plastic bag (for disposing of debris).
You may also want to keep some household cleaning supplies nearby, such as paper towels or disinfecting wipes, in case of spills during the process.
Insert the Drain Snake
Now on to how to snake a shower drain. Before attempting to insert the drain snake, ensure you are wearing rubber gloves and have a bucket or towel nearby to deal with any potential mess. Begin by locating the shower drain opening and removing any cover that may be in place.
Carefully feed the end of the snake into the drain until you feel resistance, which is usually caused by hair or other debris buildup. Keep in mind that larger obstructions might require more force for maneuvering around bends in plumbing lines or pushing through dense blockages.
An electric drill attachment can come in handy here, as it provides additional torque needed for stubborn clogs. Be sure not to rush this process; take your time while inserting about 6-10 feet of cable into the pipe before trying another method if necessary.
Rotate & Push
To snake a shower drain, one of the most crucial steps is to rotate and push the drain snake slowly into the clogged drain. This helps disassemble and break up any hair or debris that may have accumulated in the pipes.
It's essential to note that you should turn the handle clockwise as this can help push through tougher clogs more efficiently. Once you've inserted the cable fully, continue rotating it while pushing it through around two inches at a time until you feel some resistance.
By following these simple instructions for rotating and pushing while snaking a shower drain, you'll be able to tackle most clogs with ease without requiring professional plumbing services that can cost an arm and leg.
Retrieve the Clog
Once you've successfully hooked the clog with your plumbing snake, it's time to retrieve it. Keep turning the handle of the drain snake counterclockwise until you feel resistance, indicating that the clog has been dislodged and is now attached to the end of the snake.
It's important to dispose of any clogs properly so they don't cause further damage or re-clog your shower drain. Depending on what caused your blockage, there may be excess hair or soap scum along with whatever else was causing the backup.
Test the Drain
Once you've successfully cleared the clog using a plumbing snake, it's important to test your shower drain to make sure water is flowing freely. Simply run some hot water down the drain and observe how quickly it drains away.
It's also worth noting that regular maintenance can prevent future clogs from occurring in the first place.
Alternative Methods for Clearing Shower Drain Clogs
If you don't want to learn how to snake a shower drain, there are several alternative methods for clearing shower drain clogs, such as vinegar and baking soda, plungers, and chemical drain openers.
Vinegar & Baking Soda
An alternative method for clearing shower drain clogs is by using basic household items like vinegar and baking soda. When mixed together, these two ingredients create a bubbling reaction that can help to loosen the debris causing the clog.
The process involves pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of vinegar. You can also explore unclogging a drain with salt.
This chemical-free cleaning solution can be done on a regular basis as part of preventative maintenance to avoid accumulation of debris and future clogs. It's important to note that pouring dirty mop water or other substances down the drain should be avoided to prevent further clogging issues.
One of the easiest and most effective alternative methods for clearing shower drain clogs is using a rubber plunger. All you need to do is apply petroleum jelly around the rim of the plunger's cup, then place it over the drain opening.
Push down gently but firmly until you feel resistance, then pull back up quickly to create suction, repeating this action several times until water begins to flow through the drain again.
It's important to remove any existing drain cover before using a plunger on your shower drain.
Chemical Drain Opener
As mentioned earlier, chemical drain openers are an alternative method for clearing shower drain clogs. While they can be effective in breaking down and dissolving the clog, it's important to choose a safe cleaner that won't harm your sewer or septic system. These are heavy duty options for when a drain or toilet won't unclog itself over time.
When using a chemical drain opener, follow the instructions carefully and wear gloves to protect your hands from any potential burns or irritation. It's also recommended to avoid using these products if you've already tried other methods like plunging or snaking, as they can push the clog deeper into the pipe and make it more difficult to remove.
Preventing Future Shower Drain Clogs
To prevent future shower drain clogs and needing to relearn how to snake a shower drain, use a drain cover and hair catcher to catch any debris before it enters the pipe, and regularly clean your shower drain with vinegar and baking soda.
Using a Drain Cover & Hair Catcher
Preventing shower drain clogs is an easy and cost-effective task, and one of the best ways to do so is by using a drain cover or hair catcher. These simple devices are designed to catch loose hairs, soap scum, and other debris before they enter your drain pipe, preventing blockages from forming in the first place.
Investing in affordable shower drain hair catchers that fit most drains is straightforward and can save you money on plumbing repairs down the line.
Regular Cleaning & Maintenance
Regular cleaning and maintenance of your shower drain is essential to prevent future clogs from occurring. Hair, soap scum, and other debris can gradually accumulate in your pipes, leading to slow drains or even complete blockages.
To start with, you should use a hair catcher or drain cover over the shower drain to minimize the amount of hair and other debris that enters the pipe. Additionally, regularly clean the cover or catcher as well as any buildup around your shower walls and floor.
Pouring boiling water down the drain once a week can dissolve any soap scum buildup on pipe edges before it has a chance to harden and cause further problems.
Keeping good habits would save money spent on fixing damages caused by serious clogs later on.
Key Takeaways for Snaking a Shower Drain
- Clogged shower drains are a common problem caused mainly by hair, soap residue, hard water deposits, and root intrusion.
- Snaking a shower drain involves gathering necessary tools like a drain snake or auger, inserting the snake into the clog while rotating and pushing it slowly in two-inch increments until you feel resistance (which means that you have dislodged whatever material was causing your blockage), retrieving the clog with care not to damage pipes or leave debris behind in surrounding areas before testing the drain to ensure water is flowing freely again.
- Alternative methods for clearing shower drains include using vinegar and baking soda mixes or plungers as well as chemical drain openers. To prevent future clogs from occurring, regularly clean your shower drains with baking soda & vinegar mixtures, invest in affordable hair catchers or perforated covers which allow water flow but catch hair before entering pipes altogether.
That’s How to Snake a Shower Drain
Remember to regularly clean your shower drains using natural methods like vinegar and baking soda or invest in a drain cover and hair catcher to reduce future blockages.
In conclusion, knowing how to snake a shower drain is an essential skill for any homeowner. With just a few simple steps and the right tools, you can easily clear clogs and prevent plumbing nightmares.