A clogged drain is a reality of life, but it doesn’t have to be a big deal. You can easily unclog a shower drain by using a drain snake.
If you don’t have one, you can always buy one on your next payday.
They don’t just help unclog shower drains, but this also goes for unclogging kitchen sinks and even a washing machine. Of course, you can always call a plumber to assist you when the issue gets too technical and complicated.
1. Remove the shower grate
An essential step in this process is removing the grate from your shower drain. To do that, you’ll need to remove any screws holding it down (there are typically screws around the perimeter of the grate).
If no screws are visible and your grate is a snap-on type, you can use a flathead screwdriver to gently remove it by prying up at the edges.
Lift the grate out of the drain and set it aside. While you’re there, take a moment to clean any hair or debris off the bottom part of your grate.
2. Insert the drain snake
A drain snake is a coiled-up tool that you’ll insert into your shower drain to clean it. If you don’t have a drain snake, you can use something like an unbent wire hanger or a wooden spoon handle.
Smaller drains may only require the tip of the wire hanger or wooden spoon handle. Work it into your shower drain until it hits resistance.
If the clog is very close to the surface, you might be able to push through it. Otherwise, keep pushing down until you can’t anymore and then slowly pull back out while twisting.
This will help clear up some of what’s clogging your drain. You may have to do this several times in order to clear out all of what’s blocking your shower drain.
3. Auger with the drain snake
Use the auger to break up and loosen debris that might be clogging your drain. Insert the tip of your drain snake into the shower drain as far as it will go without encountering resistance.
You should feel a little bit of tension as you turn, but don’t force it. If you feel resistance, it might be because your drain snake is catching on something lodged in the drain.
If so, try using a different angle or pulling back slightly before pushing forward again. Once you’ve successfully pushed through any blockage, turn clockwise and push carefully until you reach the point where the water starts to flow freely again.
It’s easy to push too far down into your pipes, so make sure to stay alert. You’ll know when you’ve reached success by how much easier it is to turn and pull with every rotation.
4. Extract the drain snake
Once the snake is free of clogs, it’s time to remove it from the pipe. When handling the snake, be sure you’re careful—they can be slippery and sharp at points, especially if they’re covered with hair or soap scum.
Be sure to keep your fingers away from the end of the drain auger when pulling it out of the drain. The hook on the end of a hand-crank auger can scratch surfaces and cause injury.
Come prepared with gloves and a bag for easily disposing of whatever gunk you pull out of your pipes—it’s likely gross. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling, too!
5. Flush the drain
Manually flushing the drain is helpful in cleaning out hair and other debris that builds up over time.
Open your showerhead or faucet, and turn on the water to flush the drain. Let it run for approximately a minute and turn off the water.
Look down into the drain to see if you can see any signs of a clog now that there is no more water in it.
If not, run some more water through your showerhead or faucet into the drain for another minute, then shut it off again. Take another look into your drain to see if you still notice any signs of a clog.
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