Clogged Showers Symptoms and Causes

Clogged shower drains are more than just a minor inconvenience; they can signal deeper issues in your plumbing system and lead to significant damage if not addressed promptly. Recognizing the early symptoms of a clogged drain is crucial to fixing the problem before it escalates, saving you time, money, and the hassle of dealing with water damage or costly repairs.

Symptoms of a Clogged Shower Drain

1. Slow Drainage

One of the most tell-tale signs of a clogged shower drain is water pooling around your feet that drains more slowly than usual. This slow drain suggests a blockage in your drain that impedes water flow. Hair, soap scum, and small objects can build up over time, creating a barrier that slows down the water escaping through the drain.

2. Bad Smells

Unpleasant odors emanating from your shower drain are not just a nuisance but a symptom of a deeper issue. These bad smells often result from the decomposition of trapped materials like hair and soap scum or can indicate sewer gas seepage into your home. If you notice persistent foul odors, it’s likely time to inspect your drain for clogs.

3. Puddles of Water

When water starts pooling around your shower or bathtub, it suggests a severe blockage that severely restricts water flow. This standing water can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew, further exacerbating the problem and potentially leading to water damage on your shower floor and surrounding areas.

Common Causes of Clogged Shower Drains

Understanding what leads to clogged shower drains can help you prevent them. Here are the most common culprits:

1. Hair Build-Up: Each time you shower, hair sheds and travels down the drain. Over time, it accumulates, often wrapping around other debris, leading to your shower drain clogged. Hair is particularly problematic because it can tangle and trap other particles, creating a dense mat that water struggles to pass through.

2. Soap Scum Accumulation: Soap scum is a residue formed from soap and the minerals in hard water. This sticky substance can coat the pipes, trapping hair and other debris. Over time, this build-up narrows the drain opening, restricting water flow and leading to blockages. Shower gels and shampoos can also contribute to this residue.

3. Mineral Deposits: Hard water contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals can precipitate out of the water and form deposits on the inside of pipes, gradually narrowing them and reducing water flow. In severe cases, these mineral deposits can completely block pipes, preventing water from draining properly.

4. Foreign Objects: Small objects like soap pieces, shampoo caps, or even toys can accidentally fall into the drain and cause a blockage. These objects can prevent water from draining or catch other debris, exacerbating the clog.

5. Broken Pipes: In older plumbing systems, pipes can become damaged or corroded over time. These damages can cause irregularities inside the pipes, catching hair, soap scum, and other debris, leading to clogs. Furthermore, broken pipes can shift, causing misalignments that impede water flow.

DIY Solutions for Unclogging Shower Drains

Tackling clogged drains doesn’t always require professional help. Here are some DIY methods you can try to clear the blockage effectively:

1. Use Your Hands: Sometimes, clogs are caused by debris that’s just within reach. With a pair of rubber gloves, you can manually remove hair and other visible objects caught in the drain. This method is simple but can be surprisingly effective for minor clogs.

2. Boiling Water: Boil a kettle of water and carefully pour boiling water down the drain to dissolve the soap scum and grease causing the blockage. The heat helps dissolve soap scum and grease that might be causing the blockage. However, this method is not suitable for PVC pipes as the high temperature can soften or damage them. Use this approach only if you have metal pipes.

3. Baking Soda and Vinegar: This combination creates a fizzing chemical reaction that can help break up the clog. First, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain with a plug or a wet cloth to keep the reaction down below where it can do its work. After waiting for about an hour, flush the drain with hot water to clear out the debris.

4. Plunger: Using a plunger can effectively dislodge clogs near the drain’s surface, a straightforward method to unclog a shower drain. For shower drains, use a flat-bottomed plunger. Cover the drain opening completely with the plunger, ensure there’s enough water in the shower to cover the bottom of the plunger, and then pump vigorously. The pressure can help to break apart the clog and allow it to flush away.

5. Drain Snake: Also known as a plumber’s snake, this tool can reach deeper into the drain to remove clogs that are beyond the reach of your hands or too stubborn for boiling water or the baking soda and vinegar method. Carefully insert the snake into the drain until you feel resistance, then twist it to catch and pull out the debris. For persistent clogs, this method is often very effective.

Precautions and Tips

  • Safety First: Always wear gloves to protect your hands, especially when using a drain snake or handling boiling water.

  • Check Pipe Material: Be mindful of the material of your plumbing. Avoid using boiling water on PVC pipes to prevent damage.

  • Test Gently: When using a drain snake or any other tool, proceed with caution to avoid damaging your pipes.

  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: While chemical drain cleaners can seem like an easy fix, they contain harsh chemicals that can damage your plumbing over time. They can also be harmful to the environment.

Prevention Tips

Preventing shower drain clogs from forming in the first place is always preferable to dealing with them after they occur. Here are some prevention tips to keep your shower drains flowing smoothly:

1. Regular Cleaning and Maintenance: Routinely clean your drains to prevent the accumulation of hair, soap scum, and other debris. You can use a mixture of boiling water, baking soda, and vinegar monthly to help dissolve any beginning stages of clogs.

2. Installing Drain Guards: A simple yet effective way to prevent clogs is by installing a shower drain cover in your showers and tubs. These guards catch hair and other materials before they enter your plumbing system, making it easy to dispose of them properly.

3. Avoiding Certain Products: Be mindful of the products you use in the shower. Some soaps and hair care products are more prone to creating soap scum and clogs. Opting for liquid soaps and shampoos that are less likely to leave residue can help keep your drains clear.

4. Professional Inspections: Consider scheduling regular professional inspections of your plumbing system. This can help catch potential issues early before they become major problems.

Professional Solutions

When home remedies and DIY methods don’t clear your clogged shower drains, like using a drain snake or drain cleaner, it’s time to call in the professionals. We at  are equipped with the expertise, tools, and technology to diagnose and effectively resolve even the most stubborn clogs and underlying plumbing issues. Here’s what we can offer:

Advanced Diagnostic Tools: We use cameras and other diagnostic equipment to inspect your pipes internally, identifying the exact location and nature of the clog or damage without guesswork.

High-Pressure Water Jetting: This method involves blasting water through the pipes at high pressure to break apart and flush away clogs. It’s especially effective for removing grease, soap scum, and mineral deposits.

Professional Snaking: While similar to the drain snakes available at hardware stores, we use professional-grade snakes that are more powerful and can reach further into your plumbing system to remove clogs that are deep within the pipes.

Sewer Line Repair: For issues beyond simple clogs, such as damaged or broken sewer lines, we can perform repairs or even replace sections of pipe as needed.

Contact Us

Ready to address your sewer repair needs without the mess and stress of traditional methods? Contact Pipeworks Plumbing and Construction today to schedule a comprehensive inspection or consultation. As your local provider of trenchless repair and drain cleaning services in Hickory, NC, we’re here to offer you the most efficient, cost-effective solutions for your sewer lines. Whether you’re experiencing issues or simply want to ensure your system is in top shape, our team is equipped and ready to help. Don’t let plumbing problems disrupt your life any longer—reach out to us and let our trenchless sewer repair professionals provide the reliable, high-quality service you deserve.

Scroll to Top