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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Plumbing Category: Drains and Traps


Shower drain (strainer area) is clogged, allowing no or very little water to go down.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Drain auger (plumber's snake)

  • Drill snake (drain snake attachment that is attached to a power drill)

  • Power drill

  • Rubber gloves

  • Strainer wrench

  • Screwdriver

  • Locking pliers / Channellock® pliers by Channellock, Inc.

  • Trash bag

  • Bucket

  • Plumber's putty

  • Shower cleaner, like Tilex® by The Clorox Company, or other detergents like Ajax® by Phoenix Brands, LLC.

  • Cloths/rags



Over the course of the use of your shower, you may find that your shower becomes clogged, causing water to even accumulate above the shower strainer so that you seem to be standing in a water puddle while showering.  With some effort, this annoying clog can be unclogged.

Caution: When dealing with drainage maintenance, such as snaking a drain, make sure you take precautions, including wearing rubber gloves; read all product manufacturer instructions.

Unclog your shower drain in a few steps, and here's how:

  1. First, remove the shower strainer that screens the drain in the shower:  Use locking pliers or Channellock pliers in the reverse position by inserting the handle ends of the pliers into the strainer of the shower and then turn these pliers counterclockwise in an effort to unscrew--remove the strainer from the shower; if the strainer proves to be more difficult to remove, for added turning power, place a screwdriver in between the handles of the inserted pliers and then press against this screwdriver (along with the pliers' handles) in attempting to move counterclockwise.  If you are still unable to dislodge and remove the shower strainer, purchase and use a strainer wrench to do the job; follow the strainer wrench manufacturer's instructions on how to use this wrench properly to easily remove the strainer of your shower.

  1. With the strainer removed, use a drain auger or drill snake (attached to a power drill) to remove the clog from the shower drain; follow the drain auger or drill snake manufacturer's instructions in snaking the drain uncovered by the removal of the strainer until the clog is reached and removed; be careful to have a trash bag or bucket on hand to contain the mess as you retrieve and recoil your auger snake/plumber's snake and discard the clogging substance.

  2. Then, in preparation to put the shower strainer back into the shower, in its place, apply some plumber's putty around the inner circular edge of the strainer that will meet the shower floor when the strainer is screwed back into place.

  3. After applying the plumber's putty, go ahead and screw the shower strainer back into place.  Wipe off any excess putty that secretes from the strainer as it is tightened in position in the shower, and put this excess putty back into the putty container.

  4. To ensure that you maintain a clean, safe shower, after snaking the shower drain, clean the shower, using a shower cleaner and cloths/rags; read the shower cleaner manufacturer's instructions.

That's what it takes to unclog a shower drain.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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