Standing in a pool of water while showering isn’t exactly ideal. After all, if you wanted to take a bath, you would’ve. Although the thought of tackling the slimy, smelly gremlin clogging your drain isn’t the most appealing way to start (or end) your day, it needs to be done to correct the problem.
- Drano is effective for unclogging shower drains but can cause damage to plumbing in the long run.
- Alternatives to Drano include reaching into the drain by hand or using a plastic drain snake or zip tie.
- To use a drain snake, feed the cable into the drain until it meets resistance and twist it to grab clogged debris.
While it isn’t a pleasant task, it might be simpler than you think. So, before you call a plumber to tackle your shower’s clogged drain, read through our guide. You might be able to save yourself a few hundred dollars by avoiding a plumber, so continue reading to learn more!
Is Drano Safe To Use In A Shower Drain?
According to the manufacturer of Drano, you can safely use Drano to unclog showers, bathtubs, and sinks. However, avoid using it in your toilet to tackle clogs, as it can cause more damage than its worth. That said, the product works wonders on shower drain clogs, as it has caustic ingredients that eat away at the clog.
Generally, shower clogs are a buildup of hair, soap scum, and grime, so Drano usually doesn’t have an issue with powering through these clogs. The process is quick and easy – it only takes about 15 minutes for more minor clogs and 30 minutes for tough clogs. After the necessary time passes, simply flush the drain with hot water.
- Drano Max Gel Clog Remover is the #1 Selling Gel Drain Cleaner*
- Gets to work in as quick as 7 minutes
- Pours through standing water straight to the clog
- Safe for garbage disposals, bathroom, kitchen and other drains like laundry sinks
Although Drano is effective, some plumbers recommend against using it, as it can cause issues within your plumbing. The corrosive nature of the ingredients can compromise the glue plumber’s use to seal PVC drain pipes to each other, so using Drano can be problematic.
On top of that, the gel often sits at joints in the plumbing for too long as it works on the clogs, compromising the glue joints. This can cause a host of additional problems in the long run, especially if you regularly use Drano to address drain clogs.
So, while the manufacturers state Drano is safe for use on plumbing, many plumbers warn against using it.
What Can I Put In My Shower Drain To Unclog It?
At best, clogged shower drains are a nuisance, so you’re probably searching for a quick and easy way to clear the clog. If you want to use a pre-made drain cleaner, you could use the chemical drain cleaners from the store.
However, if you’re concerned about the caustic nature of the chemical cocktail damaging your plumbing, consider trying a natural drain cleaner or an alternative method, which we’ll outline in the following sections.
How To Unclog A Shower Drain Without Drano
In some cases, you might decide against using Drano after hearing what professional plumbers have to say about the potential side effects of using it. So, how should you unclog your shower drain if you can’t use Drano? Here are a few options:
Use Your Hand
We get it; reaching inside your drain to grab the smelly, slimy creature of hair, dirt, and soap scum probably isn’t the way you want to solve this problem. However, it might be your easiest option if the clog is visible and reachable.
Simply put on a rubber glove, reach into the drain and pull out the clump of hair or debris causing the clog. Or, if the thought of reaching in there is too much (we get it), use a plastic drain snake. You can buy these drain cleaning tools from your local hardware store or online from sites like Amazon. If you don’t have any of those on hand, grab a zip tie and cut small slits on each side to create “teeth.”
Then, use the tool to reach into the drain and grab the clog. Once you remove the offending blockage, flush the drain with water.
Use A Drain Snake
If you can’t see the blockage, you might need to use a drain snake to tackle the problem. Drain snakes, also called plumber augers, feature a lengthy cable with a handle on one end. To use it, you feed the end without a handle into the drain until you feel the cable meet resistance.
Once it catches, use the handle to twist the cable and work it into the blockage. This will help the cable “grab” the debris. Next, carefully withdraw the cable from the drain and remove the gunk. Repeat the process until there’s no longer a blockage. Lastly, flush the drain with water to check for proper drainage.
DIY Drain Cleaner
If you don’t want to use Drano or any other chemical cocktail but still want to use a liquid drain cleaner, consider making your own. For this cleaner, you’ll bring back the middle school science fair DIY volcano days with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Baking soda
- Hot water
First, pour one cup of baking soda into your shower drain. Follow the baking soda immediately with one cup of vinegar, then let the mixture bubble and fizz in the drain. Give the mixture about 15 minutes to work, then flush the drain with hot water. You can use boiling water if you have metal pipes, but don’t use it if you have plastic pipes (PVC, CPVC, PEX).
Check for proper drainage by flushing the drain.
Enlist The Help Of A Plumber
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, nothing will work. In this case, it might be time to call a plumber. The clog might be completely obstructing the drain or too far to reach with a typical drain snake.
When this is the case, it’s usually best to enlist the help of a professional plumber. They can use a tool to visualize the inside of the drain, locate the blockage, and determine the best way to deal with it, so it’s usually best to leave stubborn clogs to the professionals.