How To Unclog A Shower Drain – Tips And Tricks

Is the water in your bathtub taking too long to drain out, or does it seem to remain in there indefinitely? If your answer is ‘yes’, you have got a clogged bathtub drain and you need to act ASAP to avoid any future predicaments.

When clogs are not cleared as soon as they are identified, they tend to collect and gather more debris over time, becoming more significant and firmly fixed. Through this blog, you will learn how to unclog a shower drain or bathtub drain.

Ways To Unclog A Bathtub Drain

However, unclogging a bathtub drain is not as difficult as it sounds. You don’t have to call in some plumbing services to fix the problem. All you need is the right tools, and you’re all set to go. But, before attempting to unclog drains, you need to know about some of the common causes of a slow draining bathtub.

What Are The Common Causes Of Clogged Shower Drain?

  1. Hair – When hair combines with soap, they clump together to form clogs. These clogs also get attached to pipes and drains, making it tough to remove.
  2. Dirt – When you take a bath, the dirt is sent down the drain. With time this dirt builds up in the plumbing causing clogged drains.
  3. Soap – Do you know that traditional bars of soap are made with fat or grease? When the oil or fat combines with the minerals in the water, they form a hard residue which can also clog the pipes. The soap can also combine with dirt and hair to clog your bathtub drain.
  4. Stopper – Sometimes, if the stopper is not correctly fitted, it may stick in a semi-closed position and cause the plunger to restrict the drainage of water.
  5. Tree roots – Tree roots can also be a culprit for a clogged bathtub. How? Sometimes, older pipes can leak or crack, promoting the growth of roots. These roots penetrate the lines and block the flow of water.

In addition to the items listed above, the following things are also the cause of clogged drain. So you should never let it enter your gutter.

Now that you know the causes of clogs in your bathtub. Let’s dive in deeper and see how do you unclog a bathtub drain or shower drain.

One thing you need to know before beginning your job is that plumbing is a messy job. So, you need to wear some old clothes. A pair of rubber gloves will also come in handy as it will protect you from germs.

How To Unclog Shower Drain Naturally?

01. Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking Soda And Vinegar

If you want to clear the clogs in your bathtub or shower drain without using harsh chemicals, use baking soda and vinegar. They are the best drain cleaners for moderate blockages as they’re ecologically preferable and don’t damage plastic pipes. Here is how to unclog a bathtub drain with baking soda and vinegar:

  • Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain opening.
  • Next, pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain.
  • Allow the two substances to interact and froth for five minutes.
  • Run some hot water down the drain for a minute.
  • Now, check if the bathtub drains properly.

Salt is also helpful with baking soda to unclog your drain. Do you want to know how to unclog a bathtub drain with salt and baking soda? – DIY Heaven has created an online documentary that you can watch here – Unclog Drain with Salt & Baking Soda

As mentioned earlier, baking soda and vinegar removes moderate clogs. So, if the blockage persists, it means you’ve got a severe clog and you need to try another method to clear your drain.

02. Plumber’s Snake

Plumber’s Snake

When dealing with major clogs in your bathtub drain, a plumber’s snake has a high rate of success compared to any other method. Here’s how to use this tool to unclog drains:

  • First, remove the stopper to access the blocked drain via the overflow. You can also access the drain by removing the filter.
  • Feed the plumber’s snake down the drain till you reach the clogs.
  • Then, turn the snake’s handle to bring it back up.
  • Ensure that the blockage is cleared by running water down the drain.
  • Repeat the process several times until you’re sure there are no more clogs.

Drain snacking can be a DIY project for the homeowner. If you know how to use your plumber’s snakes properly, you can easily complete your task. Click the link below to learn more –

03. Plunger


Using a plunger to dislodge clogs is always worth a try. It saves you both time and money. However, its success depends on the clog’s location, the drain’s design, and the nature of the blockage. This is because the plunger works by using suction.

Here is how you can unclog your bathtub drain with a plunger:

  • First, apply petroleum jelly on the plunger’s rim to create a better seal.
  • Then, add water in such a way that it submerges the plunger’s head.
  • Vigorously use the plunger on the clogged shower drain or bathtub drain’s opening till the water drains freely.

It is important to remember, however, that this method will not be effective if the clog is deep down the drain. Additionally, if you want to learn more about household plungers, visit the following blog –

04. Manual Removal

Manual Removal

If none of the above methods work, you have no other choice but to get down and dirty. Manual removal is the most aggressive way of fixing a blocked drain but it works when all other methods fail. Here’s how you unclog a drain manually:

  • Wear a pair of rubber gloves.
  • Remove the drain cover and check if you can see the clog down the drain.
  • If you can see any clogging within reach, use your fingers to pull them out.
  • Also, remove the drain filter to inspect any hair or soap that might have accumulated underneath it.

How To Unclog A Bathtub Drain With Chemicals?

Unclog A Bathtub With Chemicals

There are strong chemicals available in supermarkets that are designed specifically for drain cleaning. However, you should avoid using them repeatedly as they can damage the drainage pipes. Here is how to use chemical drain cleaners:

  1. Before you start handling the chemicals, wear goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands.
  2. Check and read the packaging for directions on the correct amount of chemical to be used. You need to check the packaging because the amount of chemicals you’d use varies from one chemical to another.
  3. After confirming the correct amount of chemicals to be used, pour it down the drain opening.
  4. Avoid combining different chemicals as they can create a poisonous gas.

Some of the chemical drain cleaning products available in the market are:

  • Unique Super Digest
  • Instant Power Grease And Hair Drain Opener
  • Earthworm And Family Safe Drain Cleaner
Drain Cleaning Products

How To Prevent Bathtub From Clogging?

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Preventing your bathtub from clogs will save you a lot of time, money, and efforts. So, after resolving the problem, try to minimize the possibility of future clogged bathtub drains by doing the following:

  • Install a drain protector to prevent children’s toys, hair, small debris, and other items from entering the drain.
  • Also, look for a secure soap dish to prevent soap from falling into the bathtub as it might cause clogs.
  • Use a drain clog remover once in a few months to ensure that the drain remains and clear up any minor clogs. Avoid using highly corrosive drain cleaners as they will damage your pipes after repeated use.
  • Run some hot water for a few minutes after every use as it helps clear any buildup in the pipes.

A clogged bathtub drain can give you an endless headache but the aforementioned ways to unclog a bathtub drain will come in handy if you follow them to the letter.

Thank you for taking the time to read this!

After reading the entire article, you now know how to unclog a bathtub drain. So, start your job and unclog bathtub drain. Don’t forget to tell us about your experience.

Precaution is better than cure. You must be extra cautious to avoid clogging the drain. For that, you should never flush down any of the following items in the drain –

Clog Protection Basics: 10 Things You Should Never Flush Down the Drain

Image Courtesy: Image 3Image 7(a), Image 7(b), Image 7(c)

Author Bio

Jennifer Kiminza – Jennifer Kiminza is a content writer and content marketing professional at Hub Spot, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Jennifer worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. She graduated with honors from Nairobi University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.

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