How to unblock a bath or shower

As easily as they can be fixed, blockages can become a huge inconvenience if left alone. Let us show you how to deal with the problem.

The first job is identifying the issue; if the water in your bath or shower isn’t draining properly or at all, chances are there is a build-up of scum and/or hair in the drains. Here’s what you need to know to get things back to normal.

Care needs to be taken when attempting to plunge a bath as most have combined overflows which are often concealed under the bath. These can sometimes pop off potentially flooding the bathroom.

Some showers have spill over wastes which cannot be accessed with a wire and if chemicals are used such as acid based chemicals this may eat through the bottom of the waste. This could cause damage and upheaval as most shower wastes are inaccessible without lifting the floor or the ceiling below.

Try the following techniques to clear out a blockage:

  • Clearing the blockage

    Try and clear out any waste using a hook. Whether it’s a wire bent into a hook shape or a coat hanger, try and scrape out some of the gunk causing the blockage. 

  •  Bicarbonate of soda

    A simple and effective drain cleaner can be made using things you might have around the house and it won’t damage the pipes in the process! Take 15 tbl of bicarbonate of soda and put it into the blocked pipe, followed by pouring 100 ml of white vinegar shortly after. Once the fizzing has stopped, flush out the pipe with boiling water.

  •  Chemical drain cleaner

    We see chemical drain cleaners as a last resort; reason being they are poisonous when swallowed, can burn the skin and potentially damage pipes. You can purchase chemical drain cleaner from most DIY stores if you choose to go with this option.

As a prevention technique, use a drop-in hair trap which sits over the plughole in your bath/shower to collect any loose hair that could cause a blockage. They are relatively cheap to purchase and reusable.

Read our disclaimer

DIY