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DIY Tips for Cleaning Your Shower Drains

By on Aug 24, 2020
DIY Tips for Cleaning Your Shower Drains

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

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Before becoming a mom, I wouldn’t have given natural cleaners a second thought. Moms who skipped snack time and only fed their kids organic foods and used homemade cleaners lived in suburbia and thankfully, 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 the highlight of your home cleaning project. With all the hair washes and all the gunk build up, 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. The Internet offers so many ideas that I soon felt overwhelmed by this project. But because I am determined to start a new way of life with natural cleaners, I kept searching. I chose a handful of different solutions, tried them all and chose only the best.

Fixing A Shower Drain

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 repeating methods is not uncommon to get an effective clean. These methods can be used to unclog your shower drains or simply spruce up a slow-flowing drain. Apart from leaving your bathroom smelling wonderful for days, going green 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.

The Baking Soda and Vinegar Solution

Take for example, the following baking soda and vinegar solution. 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. That’s it! 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. This is what makes this method super easy to mimic.

Natural Shower Drain Cleaners

The “Gorilla Style” Method

For tougher clogs, try the “Gorilla Style” method of cleaning your shower drains. Don’t let the name fool you, the DIY project is still super easy as it is effective. 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

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First, 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 might be 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 the gunk is gone to contain the odor.

Next, have the baking soda, vinegar and rag ready. Pour the baking soda down the shower drain. Then, add the vinegar and immediately plug the shower drain with the rag. Now we know that the baking soda and vinegar will react together to form a bubbling brew that the rag can contain. You 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!

Cleaning Shower Drains

Run 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 too grossed out to even find out what a sewer snake is, then it’s time to call in the pros.

Don’t forget to open your windows to have your bathroom air out from all that action.


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. And the best part, they cost little to nothing to purchase or can be found in your everyday pantry. On the other hand, if you're not into DIY projects, then see how much a plumber in your area costs.

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