If the water in your morning shower is ankle-deep, it’s a sure sign that your shower drain is blocked.

Water that doesn’t drain properly is known as ‘standing water.’  The cause of the blockage will need to be investigated as soon as possible.


Common Causes of Blocked Shower Drains

There are several reasons why your shower may not be draining properly.  These range from easily solvable problems to more serious issues, some of which might require our assistance.


Hair and dead skin cells

Hair and dead skin cells are one of the most common reasons that your shower may not be draining properly.

Each time you take a shower, you will shed millions of dead skin cells, and many strands of hair.  Whilst many of them will drain away successfully, some will cling to the pipe, which over time can lead to a troublesome blockage.  Long hair can be particularly problematic.  If someone in your household has long hair, you should check your shower drains regularly.


hair in drain

Long hair can be particularly troublesome


Soap scum

Soap scum left on the walls of pipes can lead to a blockage over time.  This is because hair, skill cells and items dropped down the drain can easily become trapped in it.


Hard water

If you live in an area with a hard water supply, you could experience frequent blockages.  Hard water deposits a range of minerals and micro-solids onto the walls of your drain pipe. If these aren’t cleaned away regularly then you could find yourself in an ankle-deep shower.


Items Dropped Down Drain

Small items being dropped down a shower drain are a much more common occurrence than you would think.  Toothpaste caps, razor coverings and other small items can lead to a major blockage when dropped down a drain, as they will trap hair, skin cells, soap scum and any other debris.

Once you’ve identified that there is a problem with the drainage from your shower, it won’t go away on its own.  Left untreated, the problem will only get worse, so the sooner you can fix it, the better.

Here are a few tried-and-tested methods for clearing blocked shower drains.


item in drain

Items dropped in the shower can lead to blockages

How to Unblock a Shower Drain

First, you should take a good look inside your shower drain.  It’s no use staring at the plughole and scratching your head, you’ll need to use a screwdriver to remove the drain’s cover.  Whilst you’ve got the cover off, soak it in white vinegar, which should remove any soapy build-up.

Shine a torch into the pipe; you may be able to see what’s causing the blockage.  If you can, wear some gloves and use a drain claw or a straightened-out wire coat-hanger and follow these steps.

  • If you’re using a hanger, use pliers to make a hook on one end.
  • Push whatever tool you’re using into the drain until you reach the clog. Pull out the blockage and repeat if needed.
  • Run lots of very hot water down the drain.
  • If you’ve still got a problem with standing water in your shower drain after following these steps, try using a plunger, plumber’s snake or drain cleaners – read on for more information on these methods.

How to Use a Plunger for a Blocked Shower Drain

You can use the same plunger you use to unblock your toilet on your shower drain.  Plungers work to force all kinds of blockages downwards and out of drains.  Here are the steps to follow:

  • Place the plunger over the drain opening.
  • For a better seal, smear petroleum jelly around the rim.
  • Fill the shower with enough water to cover rim of the plunger.
  • Push the plunger up and down rapidly for a couple of minutes. This should create enough suction to push the blockage through the drain.
  • Finish by running plenty hot water down the shower drain.

Try using a plunger to unblock your drain


How to Use a Plumber’s Snake

For tougher blockages, it’s definitely worth trying a plumber’s snake.  The hand crank operates a camber, which reaches a long way into pipes, to grasp blockages that are further inside the drain. Use these instructions for how to use a plumber’s snake to unblock a shower drain:

  • Push the cable down the shower drain until it won’t go any further. This means that you have reached the blockage.
  • Turn the hand crank counter-clockwise to grasp the clog, and continue to turn the crank until the clog is out of the drain.
  • Repeat this method if needed.
  • As with the other methods, finish by running plenty of hot water through the drain.


how to use a plumber's snake

A Plumber’s Snake

Unblocking a Shower Drain Naturally

Did you ever make volcanoes for a science project in school?  The eruptive blast caused by mixing baking soda and white vinegar is a chemical reaction that can be harnessed to unblock your drains.  Here’s how:

  • Pour a kettle full of boiling water down the blocked drain.
  • Now, quickly pour one cup of baking soda, closely followed by one cup of white vinegar down the drain.
  • Leave it for 15 minutes to let science work its magic.
  • Flush again with boiling water.


Using Drain Cleaner to Unblock Shower Drains

Commercial drain cleaners have upped their game in recent years, and can often remove even pretty stubborn blockages.  Be sure to wear gloves, and remove any debris that you can reach before reaching for the drain cleaner.

If the blockage remains after using the drain cleaner, try following it up with a plunger.  Sometimes, for particularly troublesome blockages, you might need to reapply drain cleaner over a few days to fully unblock the shower drain.

Tried all these methods and still have standing water in your shower?  Or maybe you’d just rather someone else tackle the problem for you if you’re short on time.  Give SM Drains a call on 07751 139514 or send us a message and we’ll have your shower draining perfectly again in no time.