Why Is Sewage Coming Out Of My Shower Drain?

Last Updated On November 12, 2022
Sewage coming out of my shower drain

When there is a block in our main sewer line, our sewage only has one other way to go, back up towards and into our home. 

We will first notice the backup near the lowest drains in our plumbing system when we get a serious enough clog. A blocked sewer line is usually the culprit if there is sewage coming out of your shower drain in our home.

There’s no need to call an expensive plumber just yet. With any luck, we can help you get your main drain cleared in no time. We can also teach you a few ways to keep your sewage from backing up in your bathtub or shower again. 

While the problem can seem like a nuisance, in more severe circumstances, some homes are labeled uninhabitable until the issue gets resolved. 

The first two questions we need to ask ourselves before troubleshooting anything are:

  1. Do our neighbors have sewage coming out of their shower drains?
  2. Is sewage coming out of any other drains in our homes? 

What's In This Guide?

      Top Reasons For Water Or Sewage Backing Up In The Bathtub Or Shower.

      We have said that a clogged sewer line is the top reason for water or sewage backing up in the bathtub or shower drains, but it’s not the only thing that can cause this issue

      Another reason could be a blocked vent stack. These vent pipes travel vertically up our walls and out of our rooftops. They give the negative air pressure a way to escape as the sewage runs into the main sewer line. 

      If the vent line is clogged, it creates a vacuum inside the plumbing. The sewage can’t flow freely at this point and begins filling our drain pipes.

      How To Stop Sewage Back Up In The Tub.

      The things that we flush down the toilet and run down our drains are the root cause of sewage backup in the tub. If we become more aware of what we run down our drain lines and work on more positive everyday habits, it can go a long way in preventing clogged sewer lines. 

      The five most common things that get run down the drain, and shouldn’t, are:

      • Food. With or without a dishwasher, we should be careful about the type of food and the size of portions we send down our drains.
      • Grease. We should never pour cooking oil or grease down a drain line for any reason. Food grease will build up on the side of the pipes, like our arteries, and in time, completely block them.
      • Hair.  It probably goes without saying, but hairball clogs are one of the most common causes of sewer back-ups in the bath or shower.
      • Items. From jewelry and toys to feminine products and wet wipes,  anything that cannot decompose should never go down the drain. These are also terrible for septic tank longevity.
      • Nature. Sometimes rocks can damage the plumbing lines. Tree roots can grow inside the pipes as well. These problems can often be hard to troubleshoot.

      Did you know? A simple mixture of baking soda and vinegar can work as a home remedy for clearing minor drain clogs. 

      did you know sewer backup in shower drain

      What Do You Do When Your Sewer Backs Up In The Shower?

      The first thing we should do when our shower is backed up with sewage is shut off the main water supply to the home, preventing any more water from backing up into our house. 

      There will still be water left in the lines, so we should avoid turning on sinks or flushing toilets. If our neighbors aren’t having any problems and we don’t notice any other backups in our home, we can start troubleshooting why there’s a sewer backup in the shower and bathtub drain. 

      At this point, we can go onto the roof and shine a flashlight down the vent stacks. If our vent stacks are blocked, we can use a drain snake to clear them in most cases. 

      If we don’t see a problem with the vent pipe, we can try drain cleaners on the blockage. 

      Our final option is snaking the shower drain and the toilets before calling a professional plumber. When the raw sewage rushes down and is out of sight, we will know the blockage is clear. 

      How Do You Get Rid Of Sewer Backup In A Bathtub?

      While there is no permanent fix to a sewer backup in a bathtub, preventive maintenance is always our best defense. If we flush only the correct materials down the drain, we should never have any issues with a backup in our bathtub or shower. 

      There are also many drain cleaners on the market that can help keep our sewer lines clear.

      We should always keep our eye out for slow drains and bubbling toilets. Some people use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar as a drain cleaner to clear their lines of lighter clogs. 

      Homes with basements have their own set of problems due to the drains and every sewer pipe being even lower than a typical shower. Here is a great article to help with clogged drains in basement houses.

      A plumbing snake can sometimes punch through the more difficult blockages but will never act as a permanent fix. The worst-case scenario would be having to call in a professional plumber and possibly even paying for a complete sewer line and sewer camera inspection.

      Before calling a plumber, here is a great video that could help stop the sewer smell and sewage from backing up into your shower.

      It’s up to us, as responsible homeowners, to keep our city’s and property’s sewer system functioning correctly.

      FAQ’s on Home Sewage Backup

      Why is sewage coming out of my shower drain?

      A blocked sewer line is most likely the cause of sewage coming out of our shower drain.  The vent line could also be clogged. If the sewage or negative air pressure has nowhere to go, it will flow back up into the drains of our house. 

      What causes sewage to back up in our shower drains?

      Flushing the wrong things down the drain is what most causes sewage backup in our shower or bathtub. Food and hair are usually the reason, but in some cases, toys and jewelry can be the culprit. In worst-case scenarios, roots and rocks can damage our plumbing pipes underground.

      How do I get rid of sewage backup in my shower?

      We can use baking soda and vinegar to clear the lines for light clogs. There are also many effective drain cleaners on the market that can help. 

      A plumbing snake will be necessary for the more stubborn blockages. In case of damaged sewer pipes underground, we may have to call in a professional and even request a plumbing line inspection.

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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.

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

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