How To Guides

How to Unblock a Shower Drain

Learn how to unblock a shower drain using cooking ingredients and prevent a blockage in the future with our guide.

If you suddenly find yourself paddling in ankle deep water when taking a shower, then a blocked shower drain is probably to blame. 

What blocked my shower drain?

Shower drains are easily blocked, especially if you have a lot of people using the shower. Or if you have particularly long or thick hair. Hair, soap scum build-up and other gunk can clog things up, leading to slow draining (or worse still, totally blocked) pipes. 


Do I need a plumber?

If you find yourself standing in a couple of centimetres of soapy water that doesn’t drain from your shower tray, don’t panic! You probably don’t need to phone a plumber – and you might not even need to rush out and buy a bottle of drain cleaner either. There are a range of simple solutions you can try first that should get things flowing in the right direction. 

Try some of these handy tips we’ve pulled together on how to unblock your shower drain. They’re all using things you can find easily at home – or won’t cost the earth if you do need a few supplies. You can try these tips if you have an enclosed shower or wet room shower tray that isn’t draining properly.


Hot water

If the blockage is caused by soap scum, then this might do the trick. Fill and boil the kettle – allow the water to cool for a few minutes to avoid damaging the pipes – and pour the water down your shower drain. The hot water will hopefully dissolve the blockage and get things back running smoothly.



Water not doing the trick? Time to put in some elbow grease. If the blockage is fairly close to the plughole, then a good old-fashioned plunger may help dislodge it. Make sure that you get a good strong seal around the shower drain with the plunger for optimum results.


Raid the kitchen cupboards

White vinegar and baking soda are many people’s go-to cleaning hack, and they can also help de-gunk drains. Pour a cupful of baking soda down the shower drain and leave it for a few minutes, then pour in a cup of white vinegar. Leave the mixture to work its magic for around an hour, and then flush through with hot (not boiling) water. If the drain is still not flowing freely, repeat the process another couple of times. Remember to clean your shower tray afterwards to ensure that you don’t have any baking soda or vinegar stuck to it.


Hook it up

If the above ideas don’t work (or you think it’s likely to be hair that’s causing the blockage) it’s time to get to grips with the problem. If the design of your shower drain allows it, unscrew it and remove it for optimum access. Use a torch to look down the drain and see if you can spot the blockage – if so, use something like a straightened-out wire coat hanger to hook out the blockage. If you can’t see or reach the blockage, then you may need to use a plumber’s snake to reach and retrieve the blockage.


Chemical intervention

If the above ideas don’t solve the problem, then you may need to try specialist shower drain-clearing liquids – be careful though as using harsh chemicals like this on a regular basis can damage the pipes.


Can I prevent it in future?

There are a few ways you can help make sure your shower drain stays clear. Including making sure you regularly clean any hair out of the plug immediately after use. You can also buy a drain cover that makes it harder for gunk, hair and soap to sneak down the plug hole before you’ve got a chance to clear them away.

Got any tips you’d love us to add? Get in touch on social media. And remember our team is always on-hand to talk you through how to unblock your shower drain, or any other issues you might have. Simply come and visit us in-store or chat to us online.



Writer and expert