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Unclogging Shower and Bathtub Drains: DIY Solutions

Local Contractors


Slow-draining or completely clogged shower and bathtub drains are a nuisance that’s quick to arise but not so quick to remedy. Hair, soap scum, and other gunk inevitably builds up over time, impeding water flow. Before calling a plumber, try clearing those bathroom clogs yourself with some simple, DIY drain unclogging solutions. Most shower and tub drain clogs involve accumulation of hair and grime that can be broken up using common household items. With the right tools and techniques, you can likely dismantle those annoying clogs and get your bathroom drains flowing freely once again. Dependable drain repair services for swift solutions and a smoothly flowing plumbing system.

Trying a Plunger 

For starters, a basic sink plunger can work wonders for mild clogs. Fill the tub with a few inches of water and seal the overflow outlet completely using a wet rag or towel. This prevents air leakage that reduces plunging effectiveness. Vigorously plunge up and down over the drain opening. The suction force helps dislodge debris and push it further down the pipes. Flush with hot water after plunging to rinse away gunk. The key is creating a tight seal over the drain as you plunge. Repeat several times for stubborn clogs. Plungers provide solid force to break up blockages. Just take care not to scratch enamel or fiberglass surfaces.

Baking Soda and Vinegar 

One of the most effective homemade drain cleaners is baking soda combined with vinegar. Start by pouring 1⁄2 cup baking soda down the clogged drain. Let it sit for a few minutes to work its way down the pipe. Follow that with 1 cup heated white vinegar, which will cause fizzing and bubbles. The chemical reaction helps break up gunk, hair, and grime. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes then flush with boiling hot water to carry away debris. The abrasive baking soda scrubs pipe walls, while the vinegar dissolves soap scum and buildup. Repeat treatments weekly to prevent future clogs.

Snaking the Drain 

For tougher clogs that resist plunging, use a drain auger or snake. Feed the end of the snake down the shower drain and twist it to work through pipes and catch debris. Slowly pull out the snake while rotating to hook and dislodge hair, soap scum, and other gunk clogging the line. Advance the snake farther if needed to reach the blockage. Finish by flushing the drain with hot water. Be cautious not to scratch the tub with the wire. Drain snakes provide more aggressive mechanical clearing than a plunger alone. They work great on stubborn hair clogs.

Using a Zip-It Tool 

Plastic Zip-It tools offer an easy way to hook and extract hair from shower and tub drains. Unravel a wire hook at the end and insert it into the drain opening. Twist it around to grab hold of any hair or debris built up near the drain entrance. Slowly pull out the Zip-It tool, bringing the hair with it. This affordable plastic tool lets you see and remove the gunk unlike blind snaking. Just be gentle when inserting it to avoid scratching the drain. Target areas around and under the drain cover. Regular use provides easy hair removal.

Preventing Future Clogs 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of drain-unclogging cure. To avoid recurring tub and shower clogs, implement some simple habits. Use a drain cover to catch hair and debris before it goes down the pipe. Also wipe tub and shower walls down after bathing to remove excess soap scum and hair. Pour hot water mixed with baking soda and vinegar down the drain weekly to dissolve grime before it builds up. Consider low-flow showerheads too, as less water means debris clears out slower. Staying on top of maintenance helps avoid major clogging issues down the road.


Dealing with stopped-up shower and tub drains is never fun. But before calling a plumber, try DIY solutions using common tools like plungers, baking soda and vinegar, drain snakes, or plastic hair catchers. These simple, affordable approaches allow you to tackle most minor clogs yourself. Regular maintenance like wiping surfaces, using drain covers, and preventative cleaning also helps avoid major clog headaches before they start. But if DIY methods fail to get your bathroom drains flowing freely again, don’t hesitate to call a professional. Taking the effort to try clearing clogs yourself first, however, can save the expense and hassle of a service call for minor issues.

Local Contractors
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