How to Snake a Clogged Shower Drain Like a Pro

They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Well, we’d like to add one more thing to that list – a clogged shower drain. It’s not a matter of if your shower drain will ever get backed up, it’s a matter of when. This is because hair, soap, body oils, dirt, and other debris can easily accumulate and cause a blockage in the pipes below the drain. When this happens, the water will drain out slowly, or in worse cases, stop draining entirely.

Clogged Shower Drain

The good news is that unclogging a shower drain is relatively easy to do – and you can often do it yourself even if you don’t consider yourself a plumbing expert. In this article we’ll show you two ways to do it.

Method 1: Zip-It tool

The first and simplest approach to try is using a Zip-It tool. This product only costs a few dollars and is available at most home improvement stores. It’s a short tool but it has small teeth that are designed to grab on to hair that’s causing a clog. All you have to do is insert the Zip-It down the drain, pushing it as far down as it will go, then pull it out. If you bring up a clump of hair (warning, it will be pretty gross), flush the drain with hot water and see if the drain flows any better.

Since the Zip-It is less than two feet long, it can only reach immediately below the drain. It’s also made out of flexible plastic, so it won’t be able to push through a dense clog. So if the Zip-It doesn’t solve your drain problem, then it’s time to try the next, more heavy-duty tool.

Method 2: Drain snake

A drain or plumber’s snake is a tool that has a long metal cable that is wound inside a compartment. The idea is that you extend and push the cable down the drain until you reach and loosen the clog in your pipe. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Use a screwdriver to remove the show drain cover grate. This is an important step because the cable may be difficult to fit down the grate opening.
  2. Insert the end of the cable into the drain and feed the cable until you feel it hit resistance.
  3. On the handle, tighten the clamp to lock in the cable. Start turning the handle clockwise, which will spin the cable so it can push through the blockage.
  4. Loosen the clamp and release more cable as needed. You should only have to go a few feet into the drain.
  5. Once you think you’ve made it through the blockage, run some water from the faucet to see it drains.
  6. To pull out the cable, slowly turn the handle in the opposite direction (counter clockwise). The end of the cable may have hair and other gunk stuck on it. This is a good sign that you loosened up the clog.
  7. After removing the cable, run the water for a few minutes to flush out any remaining debris in the pipes and to test the draining.

What to do if the snaking the drain doesn’t work

If the drain is still clogged, you can try snaking it again and see if you can get further down the line. But don’t force the cable too hard or it can double back on itself and get stuck.

While most shower clogs are located in the trap close to the drain, it is possible that the blockage is further down the plumbing. It could also be a large plumbing problem like a clog in your main sewer line.

No one likes to deal with a backed up shower drain. It’s worth trying these two methods yourself, but if you’re unable to fix the problem, don’t get frustrated. Call the expert at Liberty Plumbing. Our licensed plumbers have extensive experience and advanced tools to clear out any pesky clogged drain. Call us today at (951) 760-4215.