Introduction: How to Unclog a Shower Drain

Hello there, my name is Levi Johnson. I am an Energy Operations student graduating from Lake Area Technical Institute in May 2019. Earlier last week, my shower drain clogged up so badly that there was standing water in the tub from a previous shower that could not drain out. Using my knowledge of pipework gained from schooling as well as various helpful online resources, I was able to fix my problem in five to ten minutes. Today, I am going to show you how to unclog your shower drain in four steps using simple, common tools that can be found in any household instead of having to call your plumber.

Before we get started, you will need five tools: a screwdriver, a zip tie, a small towel/rag, a plastic bag, and a plunger.

Step 1: Remove the Covers

First, the drain and overflow covers will have to be removed. The drain cover can come in a variety of different styles. Typically, this can be removed by hand, screwdriver, or pliers. The overflow cover is commonly located above the shower drain. This can be removed by unscrewing the cover using the appropriate screwdriver head. In most cases, these will be flathead screws. Once the overflow cover has been separated from the tub wall, it can be pulled out and washed. Put it aside for the next few steps.

Step 2: Free the Clogs

After removing the covers, a zip tie or something similarly shaped can be used to help push any clogs near the drain, helping them become unstuck and flow down the piping. Simply move the zip tie back and forth, working to free the stuck clogs from the sides of the piping. This will prepare the drain for the next step.

Step 3: Purge the Drain

Next, the drain must be purged. This can be done using a rolled up rag or towel, a plastic bag, and a toilet plunger. Place the rolled up rag inside the paper bag and twist. This can now be used as a “seal”. Place the seal inside the open overflow hole from which the cover was removed previously. Wedge it down far enough so that it cannot be pushed out easily. Now, start the hot water in the shower. Hot water helps push and dissolve clogs in the drain. While the hot water is going, use the plunger on the drain. Plunge several times. If done right, the seal will prevent water from coming out the overflow and instead force the water along with the clogs down the drain piping.

Step 4: Test and Reassembly

At this point, take the seal out and see if water is allowed to flow freely down the drain. If not, additional plunging may be required. Once this is achieved, the shower drain has been successfully unclogged. Reassemble the drain cover over the drain and overflow cover to the tub wall. Enjoy the clog free showers!