Introduction: Unclog a Shower Drain With PVC and an Inner Tube
While a slowly draining shower does give the exciting feeling of being in a torpedoed submarine, the thrill wears off quickly. I don't have hair clogs in my drains, because I keep a fine mesh screen over the drain, and I recommend you do too. My drains slow down due to an accumulation of black iron goop in the drain, and I have never had success snaking them out.
Caveat: I am not a plumber. I do not play one on TV. This is just a trick that worked better than chemicals and professional snakes for me. And it's fast and cheap. Let's go.
- 5-6 feet of 1" PVC pipe.
- 12-24" of bike tire inner tube. You can probably get a discarded tube from a bike shop.
- Slot and Philips screwdriver.
- Loyal plumbing assistant.
1) If you have an intact inner tube, cut a 2 ft piece of tube, don't use the stem valve part. Take the cut piece of inner tube and stretch it over one end of the pvc pipe. Now your hands smell nasty but your tool is built.
2) Using the screwdriver pry up or unscrew the floor drain.
3) I rarely have hair clogs, but you might. Give the drain a preliminary snake, meaning stick a wire down there and try to pull out any hair. Gross! If you don't have an actual snake, you can twist some wire into a corkscrew shape and try to drill it into any hair clogs and pull them out.
4) Jam the non-innertube end of your PVC down the floor drain. You should have a pretty tight fit. If not you can cut off a small section of inner tube and pull it over the pipe to make it fatter. The pipe should now stand vertically without assistance.
5) Unscrew the shower head.
6) Stretch the inner tube over the shower pipe. Now you have a direct pipeline from the shower pipe down your drain.
7) With one hand, hold the inner tube in place on the shower pipe, it is thinner diameter than the pvc and the inner tube won't stay by itself.
8) With the other hand, turn the shower cold water on full blast, and as the pipe fills up higher, enough head should develop to blow through whatever is clogging your drain. The tube may develop a weird shaking and that's ok, but if the innertube starts to grow and swell, shut off the water! Run the cold water for about 5 minutes down the pipe, then remove it and see if the water drains. Success!