Have you taken a shower and noticed the water rising in the tub or pan around your feet? When tub or shower drains are clogged, you are at risk of standing water, flooding, obnoxious odors, mold, and even drain flies. YUCK! Here are a few simple methods to remove the clog quickly and safely to keep your bathroom clean and dry.
Reasons for a Clogged Drain
There are several different factors which contribute to clogged tub or shower drains. After all, wastewater, dirt, and anything we’re trying to remove moves down the drain line. Some of the most often cited causes include soap build-up, hair, minerals from hard water, dirt (combined with the hair and soap), oils and greases, and tree roots (much further down the line). If kids are present, you might also have any assortment of small toys or other trinkets which inadvertently were sent down the drain.
How to Prevent a Clog
Here are a few easy things you can do to prevent a clog from happening in the future:
- Use a drain cover: these inexpensive rubber covers prevent hair and other items from slipping into the drainpipe.
- Clean routinely: maintaining a clean bathroom, tub, and shower keeps your space sanitary and helps you to monitor your drain’s performance.
- Avoid oily or scrubbing body cleansers: certain products boasting essential oils or scrubbing particles can slowly build deposits in your pipes.
Unclog a Drain Using Boiling Water
One of the simplest methods is to use boiling water. Fill a teakettle with water and bring it to a boil on your stovetop. Using protective potholders, bring the teakettle to your offending basin and pour the water down the drain. The heat will help to dissolve the “junk” blocking the drain.
Remove a Blockage Manually
Sometimes, you can see the cause of the clog and you can remove it using your hands. Wear gloves when doing this to avoid touching any contaminates. Simply pinch what you find and carefully pull out the offending obstruction.
Use a Drain Snake to Clear a Clog
You might think that a plunger would be a good idea on a shower or tub clog. However, you likely won’t get the suction you need because of the overflow drain. Using the right tool for the job may mean using a commercially available drain snake. Simply fish the snake down little by little and turn the crank to ease it down. Be patient and don’t force anything. When you’ve snagged a blockage, pull it back up and clean the snake with water after placing the blockage in the garbage. Many places online recommend using wire coat hangers to remove blockages, but this risks damage to the pipes and joints – we do not recommend this method. For a quick and inexpensive fix, there are disposable plastic drain snakes which may be useful in a pinch.
Chemical Drain Cleaners
Store shelves are full of purportedly fast-acting chemical drain cleaners. These are usually a very strong base with a very low pH value such as lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide). These are highly corrosive chemicals which can remove the blockage, but they are not environmentally friendly nor are they good for your pipes. Instead, consider using one cup of vinegar and one cup of baking soda:
- Pour boiling water down the drain.
- Send the baking soda down the drain immediately followed by the vinegar. This will cause some foaming.
- Rinse with hot water.
Call Your Friendly Neighborhood Plumber
Sometimes despite our best efforts, those drains may be pretty stubbornly stopped up. A professionally trained and experience plumber can swiftly diagnose the problem and fix it so you are back to getting squeaky clean.
Contact the plumbing team at DRC Plumbing & Sewer by calling us 24/7 at 708-203-7057 or click on the link below to send us a message. We’re happy to help!Contact a Plumber Today!