Shower drains are a common place for clogs to form — hair, small debris or residue from soap or shampoo that are washed down the drain can all rapidly cause clogs to form. If you do have a clog, you should call a plumber to assess the situation before you attempt to use caustic chemicals to clean your shower drain. With a severe clog, the chemicals may not be fully flushed through the pipe and may enter into your shower or bathtub the next time it is used. Here are some preventative steps you can take to prevent clogs in your shower drain.
1. Place a Hair Trap Over the Shower Drain
If you've ever tried to unclog your shower drain before, you know that hair is the chief culprit behind a slow-running shower. Your scalp naturally sheds hair, which ends up down the drain. If you bathe pets in your bathtub or shower, their shed hair will contribute to clogs as well. The hair will wrap around the drain stopper and form solid clumps that block the drain.
Placing a hair trap over your drain will block the majority of hair from entering into it. These are made of a fine stainless steel mesh and can either be placed over the drain or set into the drain itself. They trap hair and other debris while allowing water to run through the mesh. Empty the hair trap every month so that water runs freely through it.
2. Install a Water Softener
Hard water is full of dissolved minerals that cause limescale to accumulate on your pipes. This reduces the diameter of the pipe, making it easier for hair and debris that flow down the drain to entirely clog the pipe. By installing a water softener, you reduce the chance of limescale building up in your shower drain. To remove existing limescale buildup, call a professional plumber — removing limescale requires the use of very caustic cleaners such as muriatic acid that can be very dangerous.
3. Avoid Body Wash or Shampoo That Contains Oil
Some shampoos and body washes contain added oils, such as argan oil. While this may be good for your skin and hair, it can contribute to a clogged shower drain. Any excess oil that flows down the drain can solidify on the sides of the drain pipe, making clogs more likely to happen. Read ingredient labels carefully and select cosmetic products without added oil to reduce the frequency of shower clogs.
While these tips will prevent the majority of shower clogs, some problems such as limescale buildup can still clog your drain. If your shower drain is clogged, call a plumber to assess the situation — a drain repair expert will usually use a pipe camera to determine the source of the clog and use a pipe snake to free the clog or descale the pipe. Remember to tell your plumber if you have used any caustic drain cleaners recently, as these may still be in the pipe and can be hazardous to the plumber during drain repair.