Showers tend to clog up due to a combination of hair, soap scum, and even lint from your washcloth. However, it’s the tangles of unpleasant smelling hair that are particularly retch-inducing, making it a challenge to unclog the shower due to the gross factor alone.
Even if you have a strong stomach, the task of constantly yanking hair up out of the drain quickly gets old. If your shower is slowly draining right now, there are a few tricks to make the unclogging process a little easier. Once the water is flowing freely again, use some simple steps to keep hair clogs from becoming a problem again so quickly. Follow along with Joe the Plumber for the inside scoop!
If you’re sure that you have metal pipes, you can try using the power of boiling water to loosen the gunk in your shower. This can damage PVC pipes, so don’t try it if you’re unsure of the composition of the drain pipe. The trick works by melting the scum and soap residue that holds the clog in place in the pipe.
If the problem is condensed hair more than a sticky deposit, this method will do little to get the water draining again. Pour about half a cup of boiling water into the drain and let it sit for a few minutes, then pour another cup into the drain for extra pressure pushing down on the weakened clog.
If there’s no improvement in drainage, move on to a different method. If immediate results are needed, remember a plumbing inspection is a quicker way to determine what’s clogging the drain and how far along it is in the pipes.
For the most basic manual way of removing a clog of hair, grab a wire coat hanger from the closet. Unwinding the wire and making a hook on one end creates a convenient snaking tool without leaving home. Next, gently push the wire down the drain, watching out for any crosspieces or drain guards in place.
Slide the wire down until it stops where the pipe curves to become the P-trap. Wiggle or twist the hook to catch any hair there, then slowly pull the wire back out while twisting it. This should pick up any clogs of hair caught in the first part of the drain.
Unfortunately, it rarely works to extend deeper into the P-trap or beyond it to get at deep clogs. Also, there’s a chance that very weak or compromised pipes could be further damaged by the wire. When in doubt, try a plastic drain snaking device instead. Make sure to wear disposable gloves when pulling up a clog by hand to cut down on the ick factor of touching it. Check out the different plumbing services we offer at Joe the Plumber.
Don’t expect professional results, but the small plastic drain clearing tools widely available at big box stores can still be helpful for the frustrated homeowner. When there’s no plumber available, a simple piece of serrated plastic can snag the hair clogging the drain and bring it up for you.
These tools work similarly to a piece of coat hanger wire, so there’s usually no need to try both methods if either one fails. However, these plastic tools can be a little easier on weak pipes and may reach a little deeper.
Like the method above, only clogs before the P-trap will be caught. Luckily, the majority of minor shower clogs occur there, so it should work well if used regularly at the first sign of slow draining rather than to solve a complete loss of flow.
If you can’t get the shower to drain steadily again just with some hot water or a simple tool, leave the work to a plumber. It’s not worth risking damage to your pipes or losing a tool and causing a more significant clog just to avoid a visit.
With Joe the Plumber, getting your shower unclogged is so easy you won’t worry about it anymore. Still, we recommend the following tips to reduce the chance of clogs developing in your shower:
Here at Joe the Plumber, we’re the best choice for dealing with your clogged shower drains in Cypress, Texas. Let our experienced team troubleshoot your slow-clearing drains and find a solution in a hurry. Contact us today to schedule a visit and stop pulling up those gross clogs of hair on your own.