Why Is My Shower Drain Clogging?

by | Dec 21, 2023 | Blogs

Are you tired of standing in a frothy pool every time you shower, wondering why the water won’t go down the drain?

Shower drains are notorious for clogging.

From the tangled mess of hair to the sneaky build-up of soap scum, your shower drain becomes the ultimate party spot for all kinds of debris.

As your go-to plumbing pros, we’re here to dive deep into the mysterious world of drains and uncover why your shower is more like a shallow bath these days. 

Let’s get to the bottom of this slippery issue and find ways to keep the water flowing freely!

How Does a Shower Drain Work?

Your shower drain begins with a drain opening, typically covered by a drain cover or drain catcher designed to catch hair and prevent clogs. 

It acts as the first line of defense against a clogged shower drain. 

This drain opening is often found at the lowest point of the shower floor, allowing water to naturally flow towards it.

A drain pipe is connected to the drain opening, which serves as the conduit for water to flow away from the shower. 

The drain pipe comprises materials such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or metal. It is strategically sloped to ensure efficient water drainage.

As it flows through the drain pipe, the water is guided towards the larger plumbing system of the building. 

In most cases, the shower drain is connected to the building’s main plumbing stack or sewer line, ultimately carrying wastewater away from the property. 

The main plumbing stack is a vertical pipe that extends through the building and connects to the sewer or septic system outside.

Proper maintenance and care of the shower drain, including regular cleaning and hair removal, help prevent clogs and ensure the smooth operation of the entire plumbing system.

Why Can’t Water Just Flow Directly Out?

Unimpeded water flow seems like an ideal scenario for avoiding clogs. However, this method invites a multitude of plumbing woes.

Without a grate or drain cover, hair, soap scum, and other debris will freely enter the drain, leading to clogged drainage systems.

A drain without a cover also allows small objects to fall into the drain, causing more severe blocked pipes and requiring professional help to clear.

A grate acts as a safety feature, preventing accidents by preventing feet or toes from getting caught in the drain opening. 

It’s about preventing clogs and promoting a safe and functional shower environment!

What is the Best Drain Cover?

The best drain cover effectively prevents clogs without compromising water flow. 

A drain cover that catches hair is essential, as hair clogging is one of the most common causes of blocked shower drains.

Drain covers with fine mesh are excellent at catching hair and soap scum but promote clogging if not cleaned regularly. 

On the other hand, covers with larger holes prevent standing water but let more debris through, leading to a caked drain further down the line.

The ideal shower drain cover strikes a balance, with enough space to allow water to run through quickly while still capturing the majority of hair and debris.

We recommend high-quality stainless steel drain covers as they are durable, easy to clean, and resistant to the corrosive action of drain cleaners. 

Regular cleaning with simple household items like baking soda and vinegar prevents the build-up that causes clogs, balancing the need for harmful chemicals or regular professional intervention.

Drain covers

What Causes a Clogged Drain?

A clogged drain is often the culmination of various factors that constrict water flow and create backups.

Hair and Soap Scum Build-up

Hair and soap scum are the usual suspects behind clogged shower drains. 

Hair strands, especially long hair, get tangled within the drain, creating debris-trapping nets.

Over time, this hair clog becomes more dense, exacerbated by the sticky nature of soap scum—a filmy residue that coats the pipes and ensnares more hair.

This combination creates a stubborn blockage that resists water flow, leading to a clogged shower drain. 

Regularly cleaning the drain catcher or drain cover—designed to catch hair—significantly prevents such clogs.

Hard Water

Hard water contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium, accumulating in your pipes over time. 

This mineral build-up or scale narrows the pipe’s diameter, reducing water flow and making it easier for hair, soap scum, and other debris to stick and form a clog.

Signs of hard water include white, chalky residue on fixtures and reduced soap lathering. 

To combat the effects of hard water on your drains, you may need to install a water softener or regularly descale your pipes to dissolve minor mineral build-up without the need for commercial drain cleaners.

3 causes of a clogged drain

How Do I Spot a Clogged Shower Drain?

Promptly identifying a clogged shower drain will save you from more significant plumbing issues down the line. 

Several early signs indicate your drain is not as clear as it should be. 

Catching these signs before they escalate means the difference between a quick fix and yet another call to a professional plumber.

Water Pooling Around My Feet

When the water doesn’t drain as quickly as it flows from the shower head, it clearly indicates that a blockage slows down the water flow.

Shower Drain Odor

An unpleasant odor emanating from the shower drain is a less visible but equally smelling and telling sign of a clogged drain.

This is due to debris clogging and decomposing over time, producing a foul smell.

The Drain Gurgles and Makes Noises

If your shower drain starts to gurgle or make strange noises, it’s likely a symptom of a clogged drain.

These sounds occur when trapped air is pushed through the water in your drain, which can happen if a clog is forming. 

This is an early warning that your drain is not clear and that water and waste are struggling to navigate the blockage.

How Can I Unclog My Shower Drain?

When faced with a clogged shower drain, there are several methods you can employ before calling in professionals like us.

A popular home remedy involves using baking soda and vinegar—a combination creating a fizzy reaction that dissolves soap scum.

Start by pouring boiling water down the drain to soften the clog, followed by a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. 

After allowing it to sit and work its magic, flush the mixture with hot water to clear out the debris.

For more persistent shower drain clogs, you may require a drain snake, available at hardware stores, or the inventive use of a wire coat hanger to unclog a shower drain manually. But do be careful, as you wouldn’t want to damage your pipes even further!

If these methods are unsuccessful, try a commercial drain cleaner. But be mindful of the potential harm to PVC pipes and the septic tank. 

Always wear gloves to protect your hands from dirt and chemicals, and ensure proper ventilation if you’re using commercial cleaners.

If these methods fail, you could have a much more severe problem on your hands, and it may be time to call us for an inspection.

How Often Should I Clean My Shower Drain?

Regularly cleaning your shower drain is advisable to prevent clogs and maintain water flow.

Depending on use, a monthly cleaning can prevent clogs from forming. You should frequently clean the drain if you have long hair or a larger household.

Regular maintenance not only prevents standing water in your shower but also prolongs the life of your plumbing!

Try PlumbingWurx for Happy Plumbing Systems!

If you’ve encountered a stubborn clog, our team at PlumbingWurx is here to help! 

With our experience in both residential and commercial plumbing, we’re equipped to handle all types of plumbing concerns.

Don’t let a minor issue become a big problem. Reach out to us today at (301) 264-7577 or visit us at 1101 Opal Ct, Hagerstown, MD 21740. We’re a family-owned business and pride ourselves on our quality workmanship and top-notch customer service!

Contact us for a consultation today

Lean on the trusted expertise of your PlumbingWurx family at 1101 Opal Ct, Suite 101, Hagerstown, MD 21740.

Contact us at (301) 264-7577 today!

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