clogged shower drain

How to Clean a Shower Drain & Remove Clogs

There’s nothing worse than getting ready to take an invigorating shower, only to be greeted with a stinky odor wafting up from your drain.

What’s even worse is standing in the shower, watching the dirty water rise up and panicking when it doesn't drain away quickly.

A clogged shower drain is one of the worst bathroom mishaps (second after a clogged, overflowing toilet!), especially if it’s a regular occurrence. Many things can cause your shower drain to clog, including excess soap scum, long tangled hair, or even mold! These things can all clog up your pipes, and if the problem doesn’t go away on its own, then you’ll need to take action.

Usually, shower drain odor and drain clog issues are relatively easy to handle on your own. We’ve put together a few helpful tips on how you can get rid of the unpleasant odor or nasty clog and get your bathroom back in pristine condition.

It’s important to note that if you can’t get rid of the gross smell on your own, the water won’t drain, or the water’s backing up, then you might have an issue with your sewer or septic tank. That isn’t an easy job, and it’s a good idea to hire a professional to help you out.

If you’re struggling with your shower or bath drain, then give us a call, and we’ll send somebody out to get your bathroom back in tip-top condition.

How to get rid of mold in a shower drain

There are several reasons why a shower drain gets smelly, and one of the biggest contenders is mold.

Mold can grow in your pipes and under your drain cover, leaving a gross, musty smell. Step one of cleaning your smelly drain is to lean down and take a sniff. Does it smell musty? If it does, you’ve got mold.

Mold can spread if not taken care of immediately, so remove your drain cover and check to see if the mold is on it. If it is, clean and replace the cover straight away. You should also thoroughly clean the area around your drain to ensure the mold doesn't come back for round two.

If the mold is particularly bad, then you might have to get in and scrub the mold away with an old toothbrush. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to buy a new drain cover.

Don’t forget to clean your shower pipes too

While you’re at it, you might as well give your pipes a good cleaning, just in case some mold has started to grow inside them. You wouldn’t want your smelly drain coming back again, especially after you’ve just bought a new drain cover!

You don’t need any fancy cleaning equipment to rid your pipes of mold either, just some bleach.

  • Pour half a cup of bleach down your drain and let it sit for about an hour
  • After an hour, pour four cups of boiling water down your drain

If you’ve got PVC pipes, avoid using boiling water as it could cause some serious damage. Instead:

  • Use hot water from your tap and sprinkle a quarter-cup of baking soda down your drain.
  • Follow this up with a cup of white vinegar.
  • There might be a bit of fizzing from the reaction.
  • Wait a few moments before pouring some more hot water down the drain.

These steps will take care of the mold for you and get rid of that nasty odor.

How to get rid of soap scum in a shower drain

If the smell coming from your drain isn't musty, it's probably soap scum. A simple fix is to clean your drain with hot or boiling water. If the issue persists, treat your drain weekly to some boiling water.

How to fix a dry P-trap

If the odor coming from your drain smells like sulfur, you could have a dry P-trap.

A P-trap is a P-shaped pipe designed to stop any sewer gas from getting into your home by trapping a little water.

To check if you’ve got a dry P-trap, shine a flashlight down your drain. If you can see water, your P-trap isn’t dry. Now might be a good idea to call a plumber as your odor problem could have something to do with your sewer or septic tank.

If your P-trap is dry, you can pour two cups of water down the drain, wait an hour, and check if it’s still there.

How to get hair out of a shower drain

Trapped hair is the number one cause of clogged shower drains. Not only does it cause water to back up, but it also causes bad odors in your bathroom – and it looks really gross when you get it out from your drain.

There are lots of ways you can prevent hair from getting clogged in your shower drain. Try brushing your hair before you shower to eliminate any loose strands of hair. You can also buy a shower drain hair catcher to help stop hair from going down your drain and becoming a tangled mess.

If you have a hair clogged drain, you can try using products that dissolve hair, or you can get your tools and gloves and remove the clog by hand. You can also use a drain snake or a plunger to get rid of hair. Once the clog is removed, check to see if the drain is clear by running water through it. If it drains easily, you've cleared the clog!

Once you've tried these tips out, your bathroom will hopefully be smelling fresh and clean again!

If you're struggling with shower draining problems, give our expert plumbing team a call at (703) 670-8519 to schedule your appointment, and we'll get your pipes clean again.
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