From: Robert Wieland (
Subject: Re; Shower Drain
Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living
Date: 1996/01/10
J. A. Knapp <> writes:
> Anyone know of an easy/cheap way to open a clogged shower drain?

A shower drain will not usually yield to caustic drain cleraners,
because the clog is almost certainly made of hair, not grease. Don't try
them first, because then you must rinse the drain with several pots of
boiling water to get rid of the caustic, to prepare for manual hair removal.

Take the strainer plate off the drain and reach in with a coat hanger
wire with a hook on the end, and withdraw as much hair as you can. Then
force the hose of a wet/dry shop vacuum cleaner into the drain pipe.
Have your helper hold a sopping wet cloth over the shower's overflow
drain (if it has one) and hit the switch while you hold the hosein
place. When you don't hear anything more going into the vacuum, switch off.

This works really well for bathroom sinks, too, where the clog is
likely to be very short hairs, if your family includes any males who
shave. And usually works on laundry drains, where the clog will be lint.

This does not often work well on kitchen sinks, where the clog is
likely to be largely grease. Your first try here should be to fill your
largest pots with water, boil them on the stove, and then pour this
boiling water down the drain ALL AT ONCE (key concept). If that doesn't
work, then a drain opener may be tried.

The stuff that comes up into the wet/dry vacuum looks & smells ugly
with a capital ugh, but can be put into a compost pike.