How to fix a shower drain

If your shower drain is clogged or leaking, there are some ways you can fix it. How you proceed depends on what the problem is. We’ll explain how to fix a shower drain and when you should call a plumber to handle your drain troubles.

  • Boiling Water: Heat water on a stove in a pot, sauce pan, or tea kettle until it is boiling. Then pour a little at a time down the shower drain. It will melt through soap or grease that may be blocking the drain, although this might not help remove clumps of hair.
  • Plunge the Drain: To plunge the shower drain, run the faucet until the water is deep enough to fill the shower base. When the end of the plunger is underwater, move it up and down quickly to create enough suction to dislodge the clog.
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar: There are two ways you can do this. Pour about a cup of baking soda down the drain and, after a few minutes, pour the same amount of vinegar. Wait an hour and then pour boiling water down to test the drain.

Another option is to mix 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of vinegar in a measuring cup (make sure it’s heat resistant). When the mixture starts fizzing, pour it down the drain. Wait an hour and then run the faucet with hot water to flush the pipes.

  • Coat Hanger: With rubber gloves on, remove the drain cover and straighten a wire coat hanger. It should have a tiny hook on one end. Insert the hanger wire into the drain. If you can, pull up any hair, soap scum, or debris. Pour boiling water down to loosen any other material and replace the cover.
  • Plumber’s Snake: Remove the cover and insert the auger into the drain. Rotate or twist the snake, depending on the model, until you reach the clog. Pull it back and remove any buildup it has captured, or keep pushing against any resistance to break up the material. Repeat as many times as necessary.

Removing the Drain for Repair

It might be best to contact a plumber to repair the drain, but if you feel confident enough, here are some steps to removing the drain and repairing any minor issues you find:

  1. Lubricate the shower drain (with WD-40, PTFE, or silicone lubricant) if it won’t come out after unscrewing it.
  2. Remove any debris before continuing to remove the drain and unclog it using the above methods if necessary.
  3. Unscrew and loosen the drain, and then insert 2 needle-nose pliers (on opposite sides of the drain) and turn to the left to loosen the part.
  4. Twist the drain until you can lift it out of the drain hole. Move slowly to avoid any damage.

After you remove the drain, check for rust and use a rust remover if necessary. If you cannot repair the drain, replace it and hire a plumber to fix it.

Replacing the Gasket

If your shower drain is leaking, you can fix it by removing the drain cover and discarding the compression gasket. Then follow the steps to removing the shower drain body. Once the rim of the drain is cleaned, you can install a new gasket. As you screw the old or new shower drain body back in, use plumber’s putty to create a seal around it, and then remove any excess putty once the drain is in place.

Contact Your Local Olympia Plumber

At Black Hills Home Services, our plumbing technicians know how to fix a shower drain using a variety of techniques. Request help if you have a slow-running drain, leak, pooling water, or a backup. We can quickly fix a clogged or leaky drain and get your shower back up and running again. To request an appointment, contact us online or call 888-445-0585.