How To Snake A Shower Drain

Last Updated On June 11, 2024

Updated on October 4, 2023



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How To Snake A Shower Drain

Picture this: You are enjoying a warm, relaxing shower when suddenly you realize the water is creeping up to your ankles. Something seems off, doesn’t it? 

Indeed, it’s not ideal. Reality check – you’re dealing with a clogged shower drain. But now what do you do? 

Your first thought might be to pick up the phone and dial the number of a professional plumber. But before you jump the gun, take a breath! 

We’re about to share some knowledge that might surprise you. Snaking a shower drain is not as problematic as you might think. 

Don’t worry, we’ll be with you every step of the way through this do-it-yourself activity of how to snake a shower drain, the right way.

What's In This Guide?

      The Basics of How to Snake a Shower Drain

      When you have a clogged shower drain it’s helpful to know how to use a drain snake to quickly resolve it.

      This simple tool is designed to clear a clogged drain by removing any blockages in your pipes. It’s a simple, inexpensive tool every household should have.

      Typically, it will be hair that is clogging your shower drain. Green Gobbler and other drain cleaners can often dissolve hair, but sometimes you need a snake for a lasting solution.

      How To Snake A Drain Shower The Right Way

      Prep: Clean Up Standing Water

      If there’s standing water due to blocked drains – clear it first before proceeding further. You might use towels or rags here to absorb excess moisture around the drain.

      Then, remove the drain cover or drain stopper to get at the drain opening. Place it and any screw(s) in a safe place (they have a tendency to navigate down the drain).

      Now that your shower drain is ready, the next step is to use your plumbing snake.

      Selecting Your Shower Drain Snake Tool

      A small plumbing snake is usually sufficient for most bathroom-related tasks like unclogging hair build-ups or soap scum deposits in the tub drain. Don’t have one? 

      One like this works great on shower drains. Use it manually, or attach it to your cordless drill!

      TIP: When working the snake down the drain, turn it clockwise. When pulling it out, turn it counterclockwise. Go slow with powered drain snakes to avoid damage.

      Steps in the Shower Snaking Process

      1. To start snaking out that pesky drain clog in your shower drain, first, insert the end into the open pipe until some resistance is felt – that’s likely the P-trap. You will need to gently work the snake through this area by twisting it around. The above diagram might help you to visualize what’s happening.
      2. Gently twist clockwise and push simultaneously – working the snake through the P-Trap and down the pipe. Technique is more important than muscle. Don’t force it, you don’t want to damage any pipes or the plumbing snake.
      3. When you feel more resistance, you’re at the clog. Twist the snake clockwise into the clog like an augur. 
      4. Once you feel less resistance, pull back slowly while turning counterclockwise. The snake hook should bring some debris out.

      You’ll likely find hair, soap scum, and other gunk on the end of your drain snake which needs to be removed. This should solve that slow drain. But if not…

      Repeat these steps several times till no more gunk comes out. In case of stubborn blockage, you will need to do this drain cleaning a few times.

      You’re Almost Finished Snaking That Shower Drain

      Good news, you’re almost done.  

      Remember to always replace any parts you removed such as the drain trap or drain cover. And while you’re at it, maybe it’s time for a new shower drain cover.

      To ensure that all loosened debris has been cleared away completely from the drain line, run some hot water down the drain pipe (you can even pour hot water down the drain). This helps flush out any remaining gunk. 

      If this doesn’t resolve it, you should seek out professional help because this could indicate deeper issues within your main drainage system in the main line.

      Remember not every blocked drain will be easily resolved. If after snaking you still notice standing water or a slow-running drain, repeat the process several times. 

      how to snake a shower drain

      More Learning Resources for Snaking Shower Clogs:

      What’s a Shower Drain Snake?

      A drain snake is a plumber’s tool that allows you to get down into the pipes, grab on to whatever is causing the clog, and pull it out. You may not find a plumbing snake labeled for showers, but the smaller and more flexible, the better it will work for you.

      Take a look at snaking a shower drain in action: 

      The Importance of Wearing Rubber Gloves

      Safety first. Always remember to wear rubber gloves when snaking your clogged pipes.

      Wearing rubber gloves can protect your hands while dealing with dirty water and debris that may come out of blocked drains during the snaking process.

      Understanding Plumbing Layouts 101

      To effectively navigate through plumbing walls using your manual plumbing snake, you’ll need to understand what’s going on with those pipes down there. This knowledge will save time and effort during the snaking process.

      how to snake a shower drain

      You can see the  2″ P-Trap where you’ll need to work the snake through. And make sure the snake doesn’t go up into the vent pipe.

      Final Thoughts on How To Snake A Shower Drain

      Snaking a shower drain doesn’t have to be intimidating.

      Gaining knowledge of the fundamentals and discovering how easy it can be with the right tools and know-how makes any DIY run much smoother. 

      Preparation is key, as well as patience when maneuvering the snake through your P trap and other pipes.

      And the satisfaction of removing that stubborn debris from your drain? Priceless! No more shower drain clogs for you. 

      No more standing in ankle-deep water during showers or dealing with a slow-draining mess.

      And that snake you used for unclogging your shower drain is also good for your kitchen sink or bathroom sink drain, and even a clogged toilet.

      Now you’re ready to tackle any clogs that come your way! But remember, there’s much more to home plumbing than just snaking drains. Here are 7 DIY plumbing mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

      If you find yourself facing other plumbing issues or simply want to expand your DIY skills, our website is here for you. 

      We offer comprehensive guides on various topics related to home plumbing – helping homeowners like you avoid costly plumber fees while keeping your home functioning smoothly.

      FAQs About How To Snake A Shower Drain

      Why won’t my snake go through my shower drain?

      A common issue is the snake getting hung up in the P-trap. It might also curve up into the vent pipe. But it might also stop because it has reached the clog. Learn how to turn corners.

      How do you snake hair out of a shower drain?

      To remove hair from blocked drains, insert a small flow manual hand snake into the opening while wearing rubber gloves for protection. Twist it around to catch onto any debris causing blockages then slowly pull it back up – removing trapped hairs effectively.

      How do you use a plastic snake on a shower drain?

      Plastic snakes, often called zip-it tools, work well for minor clogs near surface level but aren’t as effective with more severe issues further down in the pipe.

      How do you feed a snake down a shower drain?

      To feed a snake down a shower drain, push it gently but firmly into the opening while turning it clockwise until resistance is felt. Then retract slowly to dislodge any obstruction.

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      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about "all things plumbing," helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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