How to Unclog the Shower Drain

How to Unclog a Shower Drain

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Short and Sweet Summary: Cleaning drains is a thankless job. However, learning how to unclog the shower drain with minimal effort is one skill you’ll be glad you have.

One of the first things my husband showed me how to do after he got sick was to unclog the shower drain and clean the accumulated hair out of the shower drain.


He had been doing this ungodly job for years because I have a lot of hair and it clogs the drain a lot. I mean, I have a lot of freaking hair. I still pull gobs of hair out of my head every morning. Every day my gobs of hair fall down the drain. 

Until the sheer magnitude of my hair mass overwhelmes the sewage system and clogs the drain.

When the drain reached sufficient hair mass, my husband would call our boys into the bathroom and say, “Hey guys, you wanna see a dead rat?!”

The boys would run in and watch, wide-eyed, as my husband dredged the drain and pulled up a wad of hair so big and bulky that it did indeed resemble a dead animal. I remember squeals of, “ooohh…gross” and “Momma’s hair looks like a dead rat!” like it was yesterday.

The boys are too old now to be enamored by dead rat sightings. They just think the clogged hair in my drain is disgusting.

And, to be honest, so do I.


My husband knew this task would fall to me after he was gone so he made sure to show me exactly how to unclog the drain without calling in an overpriced plumber. Or using Drano. He forbade me to use Drano to clear out a clogged drain because it’s caustic and can damage pipes and burn or corrode organic tissue (aka: your skin).

So read on for a super easy, super cheap way to clear a clogged drain.


Grab a Phillips (cross-head or “x” design) or flat-head screwdriver to remove your screws from the drain cover. Once you’ve removed the drain cover screws, get up and walk the screws over to your counter-top or somewhere other than the shower floor so they don’t fall down the drain.

Because then you’re screwed (hee hee – pun TOTALLY intended).

Seriously, though, put the screws in a safe place so you don’t risk losing them.


If you’re anything like me, the thought of touching a hair mass that’s been percolating in a dirty shower drain for who knows how long is totally disgust-a-mundo. I don’t clean clogged drains without putting on gloves first. I’m not touching anything that comes out of a drain with my bare hands. No siree. 

Chances are good you’ll be pulling up a lot of gunk along with your hair.

Wear gloves.

You’ll thank me.


You need something to put the rat’s nest in when it comes out of the drain. I usually take a plastic grocery bag to the bathroom with me.


The Zip-It Drain Cleaning Tool is a 20-inch piece of barbed plastic that pulls hair out of your drain in less than 30 seconds.

No chemicals, no toxicity.

Just plunge the zip-it down your drain and the barbed edges secure the hair that is then pulled up out of your drain in one fell swoop.


I’d show you pictures of what I dislodge, but you’d probably gag. You’ll gag on your own hair mass anyway.

For now, enjoy the thought of clearing out your drain without the nasty visuals.

The Zip-It Drain Cleaning Tool is advertised as single-use but it’s totally reusable if you’re willing to pull the hair and gunk off and rinse it.

I reuse mine.

This is where the grocery bag comes in. As soon as I pull the gross mass out of the drain I plunge it into the grocery bag and pull the hair off. Then I rinse the gunk off and I can use it again. Keep in mind though, the barbed edges are sharp so be careful. The gloves will help protect your fingers if you choose to clean it off for reuse.

The Zip-It Drain Cleaning Tool works in bathroom sinks, too. I stick it down the drain without even removing the stopper. It’s easier to clean the sink if you remove the stopper, but if you’re lazy like me, I just stick it in, twist it around a bit and loads of black gunk comes up from the bathroom sink.




After your drain is unclogged and water is draining smoothly again, screw the drain cover back on and you’re good to go!

Easy Peasy!


Unclogging drains is a crappy ass job. It’s gross. But necessary. By using gloves and the nifty little Zip-It Drain Cleaning Tool tool you will be unclogging drains and sinks in our house in no time!

My husband would be so proud!

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