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If murky water pools around your ankles during your morning shower, you know it’s time to take action. Assuming the clog is small and relatively close to the drain, you should be able to clear it yourself. Here are six ways to unclog a shower drain before calling a plumber.

  1. Remove gunk from the drain cover: Most slow shower drains are caused by hair and other gunk stuck to the underside of the drain cover. Wearing rubber gloves, pull the cover off and remove any nasty buildup. You may find your shower drains smoothly now.
  2. Pour boiling water down the drain: This is a mess-free way to dissolve grime and loosen gunk inside the pipe. At the very least, pouring boiling water down the drain softens the blockage and makes the other techniques listed here more effective.
  3. Use a plunger: Grab a traditional cup plunger, not a flange plunger reserved for clogged toilets. Before you begin, fill the shower pan with an inch of water and position the plunger over the drain, forming a tight seal. Try adding petroleum jelly to the lip of the plunger for a better seal. Plunge vigorously up and down without breaking the seal to force the clog loose. You know it worked if the water rushes down the drain after removing the plunger.
  4. Use a baking soda and vinegar mixture: Pour one cup of baking soda down the shower drain and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, follow up with a solution of three cups boiling and two cups white vinegar. Let the ingredients work for a few hours, and then flush the drain with boiling water.
  5. Insert a straightened coat hanger into the drain: Craft a makeshift drain snake by straightening a wire coat hanger, leaving a hook at one end. Insert the hooked end into the drain, twisting as you go to dislodge the clog. Pull the hanger out of the drain and run the shower to test your work.
  6. Rent a drain snake: You may need a legitimate drain snake to clear clogs further down the pipe. Fortunately, you can rent or buy one from a local hardware store. Uncoil the auger head down into the drain until it reaches the blockage. Twist the cable to break up the clog, and then reel it back in. Run the shower to see if the water drains now.

If you attempt these tricks without success, or you don’t want to mess with DIY solutions, trust a licensed plumber to unclog your shower drain. Professionals have an arsenal of tools to clear even the toughest clogs, including electric drain snakes and hydro-jetting equipment.

Parley’s PPM Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is a trusted Utah plumber with over 40 years of experience clearing clogged drains. To request our help, please call us at 801-226-3033 if you live in Utah County, or reach us at 801-229-2665 if you’re a Salt Lake County resident. You can also request plumbing services online.

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