2 Foolproof Methods for Cleaning Your Shower Drains

DIY Tips for Cleaning Your Shower Drains-1

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As a mother of a 7-month-old, my weekends usually consist of changing diapers, getting drooled on, and tons of playtime. Recently, however, I had to step away from the excitement and into my cleaning apron.

Before becoming a mom, I wouldn’t have given natural cleaners a second thought. Moms who only fed their kids organic foods and used homemade cleaners lived far away from me. Now? Things are different: I’ve become one of those women I once despised—and I love it.

If you’re like me, cleaning your shower drain is not first on the list of your home cleaning projects. It’s hardly a pleasant place to start. Before the baby, a quick spray of the strongest Clorox concoction or drowning the drain with Draino was usually my go-to fix for the shower drain. However, a recent shower drain clog had me experimenting with different DIY cleaning solutions.

Below are two DIY tips for cleaning your shower drains that worked best with my shower drain. It’s important to remember that every drain is different, and that repeating methods is not uncommon to get an effective clean. These methods can be used to unclog your shower drains or to simply spruce up a slow-flowing drain. Apart from leaving your bathroom smelling wonderful for days, going green with cleaners offers many advantages: They are perfectly safe around children and they don’t harm the environment, which means your household breathes fresh air even when you’re cleaning. But one of the best perks of natural DIY cleaners is that they tend to be way cheaper than their toxic counterparts because they consist of ingredients found in your everyday pantry.

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar

First, pour a pot of boiling hot water down your shower drain. Then, add about a ½ cup of baking soda directly into the drain. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before pouring a mixture of ½ cup vinegar and one cup of very hot water on top. To keep the reaction below the drain surface, cover the drain with a drain plug. If you don’t have a drain plug, a thick cloth will work just fine. Have the covered mixture sit for another 5-10 minutes. You’ll want to give it a final flush with a second pot of boiling water. Your shower drain should be smelling fresh and doing its job just fine.

The baking soda and hot water drain-cleaning solution works because it loosens the grim found at the bottom of your shower drain. The explosive chemical reaction with the vinegar jolts and diminishes all the sludge, which is what makes this method easy to mimic.

Source: iStock

2. A Wire Hanger and Antibacterial Cleaner

For tougher clogs, try this method of cleaning your shower drains. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Waterproof gloves
  • Plastic bag
  • Paper towel
  • Antibacterial spray household cleaner
  • Wire coat hanger
  • Phillips or flat-head screw driver
  • Needle-nose and cutting pliers
  • Boiling water

Remove the shower drain cover. Be mindful of the screws and don’t let them fall down the drain. Using your rubber gloves, rid the drain cover of any accumulated hair or gunk buildup. Antibacterial spray comes in handy when wiping and disinfecting the cover. Bend a metal coat hanger so that the hanger portion forms a hook. This is a great way to fish out any clumps of slimy hair that mightbe clogging your shower drain. With the old plastic grocery bag acting as your catch-all for the mess, quickly tie the bag shut when all of the gunk is gone to help contain the odor.

Next, having the baking soda, vinegar and rag ready, pour the baking soda down the shower drain.Then, add the vinegar then immediately plug the shower drain with the rag. The baking soda and vinegar will react together to form a bubbling brew that the rag can contain, and you’ll want to wait about 20-30 minutes for a tougher clog. Use this time to boil a scorching hot pot of water. Once you remove the rag, slowly pour all the water down the drain. Watch out for the steam.

Run clear water from the shower to test if the drain is running clear. If not, go ahead and repeat this process. If the odor persists even after the second attempt, the clog may be farther down the pipe, requiring the use of a sewer snake. If you’re not interested in proceeding further, then it’s time to call in the pros.

For both tactics, don’t forget to open your windows to have your bathroom air out.


With a bit of patience, finding the right natural cleaners can result in many positive and cheap projects. It’s also important to realize that DIY projects can become overwhelming, but when you find one that works for you and your family, you’ll be using it for years. The best part? They cost little to nothing to purchase, or might even be found in your everyday pantry.

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