Is Your Shower Drain Clogged? Here are 8 Ways to Prevent It!

Clogging in shower drains happen due to various reasons. The usual culprits include hair, skin cells, grease, and soap. These clogs do not happen overnight; instead, they cluster slowly, over different periods. It is smart to be prepared for any eventuality than to wait for the plumbing to give way to problems, and then call for help.

There are numerous home remedies for clogged shower drains, and while each solution can put the nuisance to an end, it does not safeguard against the return of the clogs. Leaving a clogged shower drain unattended for extended periods can not only cause irreparable damage to the property, but it is also a health hazard. To prevent shower drain from getting clogged, you must strive to undertake a few steps that will keep you and your shower drain on the safe side.

Blocked Shower Drains and its Harmful Effects

An often-overlooked fact is that damaged or blocked drains and plumbing have direct health risks to humans and pets alike. Stagnant water, sewage or otherwise, has potentially dangerous aftereffects if not tended on time. Bacteria and harmful microbes find an optimal breeding ground in the soapy water and can spread to humans, causing severe health risks. Experts recommend that you should check drains regularly and routinely clean them to prevent any unforeseen and hazardous plumbing emergencies.

When it comes to severe plumbing blockages, often more than not, the damage happening is not observable. There is a possibility of finding out about the drain clogs long after they have formed and nurtured hives of bacterial colonies. Bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori thrive in stagnant water and cause various skin diseases in children. Typhoid is another commonly reported disease that spreads due to bacteria that live in pungent, murky waters.

One of the safest measures to take against health risks caused by blocked drains is to prevent the causing agents from playing their part. A drainpipe is only four inches in diameter, so any object or debris is bound to lodge up in it.

Preventing Shower Drain from Clogging

It is not a strict rule to seek professional help as soon as you suspect your plumbing is not well-functioning. There are some appropriate steps that you can take beforehand as a prevention routine to keep these problems in check. These include:

1. Not Brushing/Combing Hair in Bathroom

While it is not a mystery that hair can clog shower drain, it is also fair to point out that you must brush or comb your hair in a room or an open space to avoid drain clogs.

Ensure proper hair disposal, and do not throw them in the shower drain. It is also better to comb your hair before showering. The brush will catch loose hair beforehand instead of allowing it to go down the drain and clogging it.

2. Using Drain Covers

Drain covers, also known as mesh drains and hair catchers, are the most comfortable and most convenient way of preventing shower drain clogs. As explained earlier, long human and pet hair are the most significant reasons shower drains get jammed. These covers prevent them from going into the drain while allowing water and small hair follicles to pass through.

Drain covers are made from silicone or stainless steel, hence reasonably inexpensive when it comes to buying the agents that prevent bathroom clogs. These are usually available in a mesh design, sitting on top of the shower drain, catching hair and debris. Plumbers recommend using drain covers on bathtub drains as well to avoid further complications.

Drain covers need monthly cleanups to enjoy a clog-free shower drain for more extended periods. Ensure to unscrew the cover from the drain opening properly, flush it with hot water, and clean the cover by keeping it under running hot water. You can go the extra mile in disinfecting the cover or using soap or a commercial cleaner to clean in between the meshes. You can also use a soft used toothbrush for effective cleaning of the drain caps.

3. Avoid Washing Oil and Grease in Shower

The second worst clogging agent after hair is grease and oil. These can originate from various sources, both animal and vegetable. These agents slowly build up on the insides of pipes and drain walls, creating a web-like block.

Scented body oils, hair grease, bath salt grease, shower lotions, hair conditioners, and organic oils, etc. are some of the contributing culprits. Avoid rinsing them off in the shower. Let them set even after you have towel-dried and then wipe them off yourself using tissue paper. The issue with oil and grease is that drain covers do not stop them, so you must be extra careful with them.

4. Ensuring the Water Flow

One of the many ingenious methods to prevent drain clogging from reoccurring is to let the shower run a few minutes after you get out of the shower. It is also advisable to use hot water, so remember to turn the hot water tap running.

Flushing water down the drain weekly is another way of keeping clogging agents at bay. This prevention technique is exceptionally effective against oil and grease buildups. You can also pour boiling water down the drain afterward as it’s microscopically better for flushing toxins away. You can also perform routine water checks to identify if a shower drain is getting clogged or not. If the water takes time to seep through the drain cover, it might mean there is some obstruction in the pipe.

5. Using Vinegar

It is practical to keep a small amount of vinegar in the bathroom next to the bathtub. In addition to having many uses around the house, using vinegar for drain cleaning is not only economical, but it is also environment-friendly as well. If you think your shower drain can clog again, pour half a bottle of white vinegar every 3 to 4 months. Let the vinegar sit for 5-10 minutes before pouring boiling water over it. 

6. Using Baking Soda

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7. Using Natural Drain Cleaners

In addition to baking soda and vinegar, there are other ways of preventing drains from getting clogged by using some other home-based products. These can include baking soda and salt and bleach.

Mix a cup of baking soda and half a cup of table salt. This mixture needs to be left overnight after you pour it into the drain. This method is a brilliant way to dissolve any potential clogging agent present in the pipe. Boil some water the next morning to flush the drain.

Alternatively, bleach can dissolve hair and other debris, and it also does not damage the pipelines, unlike many commercially available drain cleaners. Because of bleach’s essential nature, pouring a cup of it down the drain is enough to neutralize the developing clogs as well as harmful bacteria.

8. Using Vacuum Cleaner

For shower drain that is clogged because of mud debris or sand deposits, vacuuming them out the other end is an effective way to reinstate smooth water flow down the drain.

Be careful with the type of vacuum cleaner that you use. A special wet/dry vacuum cleaner is ideal for pressure-removing the obstruction for good.

Can Shower Drain Clogs Cause Plumbing Leaks?

Although rare, shower drain clogs can sometimes go up the wall, through the shower pan and seep through cracks in the wall to cause leakage. Backup of water can also cause stress on the pipe joints. Joints do not hold well under pressure, and it can dislodge a joint in the wall.

Clogged shower drains are also known to cause pipe corrosion. The water that gets blocked by an obstruction can contain certain chemicals that can cause pipes to wither. Corrosion, in return, can affect the joints as well.

Shower drain clog leaks get sealed with plumber’s putty – a sealant that is used by plumbers to prevent seepage. Waterproof tapes are also a viable solution. Using epoxy paste or inserting a self-tapping plug into the crack can also significantly reduce the damage caused by the leaking water.

Usually, shower drain clogs do not cause lasting damage to property, but if things go wrong, they can be the cause of a major plumbing overhaul.

Conclusion

Since hair is the most significant cause of drain clogs, avoid hair debris from going straight in the drain. It is better to use natural products to fight drain clogs because they have fewer corrosive effects on pipelines and pipe joints. It is better to use an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal product (natural or commercial) to minimize the risk of getting diseases from the sewage water. If none of the solutions applied is working, and the clogging problem persists, there may be a more profound, inlaying problem with the plumbing pipes that needs immediate attention.

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