Shower waste outlets can become blocked relatively easily. Learning how to clear any blockage will soon have the drain cleared and waste water flowing properly again. The usual first indications that the shower waste is becoming blocked is that the water doesn’t drain away as quickly as it used to and that you are left standing in an inch or two of water as the drain fights to keep up. Dirt and soap can build up inside the waste gradually leading to this reduced flow. On top of this, hair (particularly long hair) can get stuck and quickly form a restriction.
There are many drain cleaning chemicals available at the supermarket but the first approach should be to see if you can simply unblock the waste outlet using the instructions below.
Most shower wastes have an insert which is designed to trap a good deal of the debris before it has a chance to get into the pipework. Remove this insert – depending on the type, this may require twisting or pulling action to release. Give the insert a thorough clean to remove all build-up. Before replacing, run clean water into the waste and check that it is now flowing at full capacity.
If it’s still struggling to keep up or indeed hardly flowing at all, this will indicate that there is a blockage in the shower trap itself.
Allow the water in the tray to build up so that the drain is completely submerged, then place a plunger over the outlet. Push the plunger down and then back up a few times. This will often dislodge to blockage and either push it out or pull it back up into the tray. It can be a bit messy so have something handy to put the debris into. You may need to repeat this a few times to get if flowing fully.
If the blockage is really stubborn, you will need to use a small gauge drain clearing auger or spring. Insert into the waste outlet turning clockwise as you go until you feel the blockage. Continue turning a little and the spiral-shaped screw end will bite into the blockage allowing it to be pulled back out. Be careful not to use any force as this might damage the internal surface of the waste and this can encourage further build up later on.
Once the drain is clear again, replace the waste insert removed earlier and allow clean water to flow through it for a few minutes to remove any residual debris. This will also ensure that the water seal in the trap is replaced which prevents smells from the drains getting back into the room.