Shower clogs can create headaches for homeowners or renters. But as the saying goes, the best offense is the best defense. You can prevent this annoying and often gross issue from occurring in the first place with some intentionality and attention, saving you time, money and frustration.
Here’s how to get in front of a potential drain issue:
Tip #1: Modify your grooming routine.
Reducing the amount of gunk that goes down the drain can help you stop a clog in its tracks. That’s because hair is to blame for most of the congestion. That’s why it’s a good idea to brush your hair before showering. Loose strands can end up in the drain. While the envy of many, long and thick hair can spell disaster when it comes to creating a blockage.
Tip #2: Install a mesh drain screen.
We also recommend installing a mesh drain screen at each shower and tub drain for the same reason. Aside from catching hair, this easy fix can also stop other objects from getting stuck, including a bar of soap, a bath toy, or jewelry. Just be sure to empty it at least monthly, or else that defeats the purpose.
Tip # 3: Flush the drain regularly.
You might think that hair is the only culprit when it comes to an obstructed drain, but that’s not the whole picture. Gunk from shower lotions, hair conditioners and other products can also pose a threat to your drain. That’s why plumbers recommend weekly flushing as a maintenance habit to keep your drains clean.
Start by boiling a larger pot of water and then pour half of the container down the drain. Wait five minutes and pour the remainder. This simple hack can loosen up any stuff that might spell trouble. Don’t forget that when handling boiling water, you should wear gloves to protect your hands. You don’t want to have another problem on your hands.
At the same time, don’t think every popular hack is good. You might come across advice online from fellow consumers who suggest using the following:
- Bleach tablets
- Liquid plumber
- Clothes hangers
This bad advice can cost you, as these products and tools aren’t recommended. If you frequently have clogs and can’t seem to resolve the issue, you might have a bigger problem that only an expert can address.
Tip #4: Use drain-friendly personal care products.
Related to the third tip, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your personal hygiene routine. Your skincare and haircare products might be causing issues. Think oil-based products. If you use coconut oil or other oil-based hair or body products, we recommend saving them for after you bathe.
If this isn’t feasible, you can curb the risk of a clog by allowing some time for your skin to absorb them before getting in the shower. If oils get in your pipes, they can coat them and harden, making it difficult for water to flow past. The same goes for sugar scrubs and salt scrubs. Even ultra-fine particles can still cause disruption to water flow.
Tip #5: When in doubt, try your grandma’s secret.
Your grandma likely had a lot of tips and tricks to get her house spotless — without using nasty chemicals. Look to your pantry for a way to address a clog naturally. Start by pouring a one-half cup of baking soda down the drain. Then proceed with one-half cup of white distilled vinegar. Be sure it’s this type of vinegar, as the pH makes it an all-purpose cleaner. Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes before flushing with hot or boiling water.
The idea is that these ingredients incite a chemical reaction. What results is the removal of soap scum and debris from your pipes. You might even find it offers a fresh smell. Either way, it’s best to add this task to your maintenance calendar every couple of months or whenever you notice an issue.
Tip #6: Keep four-legged friends out of the bathroom.
Got a new puppy? You might be tempted to rinse them off in the shower or tub, but this isn’t always prudent. They can shed and their hairs can end up in the drain. When possible, rinse them outside with a hose or take them to a groomer for a professional treatment. This is a more sanitary approach anyway.
Tip #7: Learn how to use a plunger.
Sometimes you just need to reach for a handy bathroom staple like a plunger to get the water flow moving again. Search YouTube for tutorials and you’ll figure out how to use one in no time. Fit the plunger head over the drain to secure a seal, then lift the dowel up and down quickly.
Of course, some drain and plumbing issues are outside the scope of a DIY approach. When in doubt, it’s best to get an expert opinion. Our team at JO Mory can keep all of your drains clear so you can have peace of mind knowing your clog is just that. In the event of a more serious issue, we’ll get your plumbing system back in working order promptly and help you know how to prevent such issues from happening in the future! J.O. Mory is licensed in Indiana and Michigan and has decades of experience to handle any job. Give us a call at (800) 621-6679 to speak with a trusted advisor.