Dealing with blocked shower drains
A blocked bath or blocked shower drain is one of the most common problems you’ll come across in the everyday use of your bathroom. If it’s completely blocked and the water simply isn’t draining, don’t panic. There are several things you can do to resolve the issue. Even if the water is simply slow to drain, over time this will cause a slippery build-up of soap scum, dirt and grime on the bottom of the bath or shower tray that could be dangerous at worst, or just plain unsightly and smelly. Whichever form your blocked shower or blocked bath has taken, it needs fixing.
Luckily, it’s usually not too difficult to unblock a bath or shower waste yourself, so there’s no need to call the drain specialist yet.
Clearing out the blockage
The first step is to take a look and see if you can spot what’s causing the blockage. Removing by lifting or unscrewing (whichever works for your type of waste) the cover of your waste.
The culprit is usually a build-up of hair and soap scum, so if you can spot hair in the bottom of the drain, see if you can’t just reach in and pull it out.
You could also try a coat hanger, some pliers, or whichever form of improvised grabbing tool you can find.
Using a plunger to unblock the drain
The plunger is the next obvious step to clear a blocked shower or bath drain. You’ll need a ‘cup’ type plunger for clearing a basin, bath or shower blockage.
Make sure you don’t use any chemicals yet, as using a plunger with chemicals is inevitably going to splatter them all over your clothes or skin.
You’ll need to have enough water in the bath or shower tray to completely submerge the cup of the plunger. Too much water and you’ll make a splashy mess, so use a bucket to remove the excess if your drain isn’t clearing at all.
You will get better results if you can block off any outlets 9overflow, another basin, etc) so if you can put a wet cloth in these drains then you will have a higher chance of succeeding with this method.
Plunge with a vertical up-and-down action, keeping the handle straight and vertical. Tilting at an angle will reduce the force and potentially break the seal you’re making with the cap. Do this for 15-20 seconds and then have a look at the results.
If the drain is still blocked after your first plunger attempt, repeat the process a couple more times as you may have simply moved the blockage further down the pipes.
If plunging doesn’t remove the obstruction, it’s time to bring out the snake…Enquire Now
Snaking a drain
No, not that kind of snake. A ‘snake’ or auger, is a long, flexible steel cable wound on a handle.
Simply feed the snake down the drain, or if you’re clearing a bathtub blockage, you will need to feed the snake down the overflow opening. You will hit some resistance as you go past the trap, but keep feeding it and turning it to either break the clog up or hook onto the end of the clog, allowing you to pull it out.
If you don’t have access to a snake, or don’t want to buy one, there are some other methods you can try instead.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
Baking soda on its own does a decent job of loosening grimy sludge from your drain, and when you add some vinegar as well you get a chemical reaction that should hopefully jolt the blockage loose. This isn’t a method that will work for the very troublesome blockages, but for slow-draining bath or shower wastes, this is a cheap, eco-friendly method worth trying.
First pour a pot of boiling water down your drain.
Pour a small amount (perhaps half a cup) a baking soda down the d rain. Let it sit there for a couple of minutes.
Follow it up with a couple of white vinegar and a little more hot water. Leave for 5-10 minutes. Flush with boiling water.
You should be able to hear the chemical reaction as it bubbles away. With a bit of luck, the debris caught in your drain will be broken down.
If you are still not successful in removing the blockage, it is time to call the drain specialist. We will use a hydro drain jetter through your drain to remove the most stubborn blockage and also advise on any repairs that are necessary.