The shower drain can be a problem spot for many homeowners. While the plumbing for sinks is easily accessible underneath, shower drains aren't as accessible. This make it difficult to clear out a clog. The following tips can help you keep the shower drain free-flowing so you aren't forced to bathe in ankle deep water.
Tip #1: Install a hair catcher
The main cause of shower drain clogs is hair, especially if you have long hair or use the shower for bathing your pets. A simple hair catcher inserted into the drain will prevent most of these clogs. Basic designs consist of a mesh screen that fits into the drain. There are also types that have a chain or corkscrew-like attachment that slides into the drain. These catch more hair so they are a good option if you have long hair or several people using the shower. Just remember to remove the hair catcher and clean it out once a week or before each shower.
Tip #2: Battle the soap scum
Soap scum is another contributor to clogged shower drains. The scum builds up on the inside of the drain, trapping hair and other debris until a relatively large clog forms. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening with a simple addition to your usual bathroom cleaning routine. Simply bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour it down the drain to dissolve and flush out soap scum. You can even go a step further and boil equal parts vinegar and water. The mild acid of the vinegar helps dissolve soap and any mineral deposits in the drain.
Tip #3: Get a drain tool
A drain tool is a long rod that has teeth running up both sides. When inserted into the shower drain, it catches on the items causing the clog so you can pull them out. It has a blunt tip so it won't pierce the pipe, but it is also flexible so it can travel around any curves. There are also versions that have a hook on the end, which will catch major hairballs so you can pull them out. These tools work well when small items or hairballs cause a clog, and they are safer and easier to use than a drain snake.
It's best to avoid chemicals when possible. If a drain cleaner doesn't clear the clog, you will be stuck with a caustic chemical that you can't flush away. If the tips above didn't fix the issue, then call in a drain cleaning professional before resorting to chemicals.