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How To: Unblock A Bath Or Shower Drain

Clogged plugholes are neither fun nor pretty, but they happen to most of us. Slow drainage caused by a partial blockage to your shower or bath can result in a build up of nasty grease and bacteria in your bath or shower tray, which is not great for anyone. If all of your drains are blocked, you may need to contact a local plumber to take a look. However, before you do that, try these options to unclog your drains.

Option 1

You will need:

  • Rubber gloves
  • A plunger
  • An old dishcloth or duct tape

Gather your equipment and put on your rubber gloves. If you have them, use safety goggles to protect your eyes from splashes of bacteria and chemicals.

Most of the time, blocked or slow drains in baths and showers are the result of a build up of hair and products such as soap, conditioner and shampoo. Remove the plug hole and use your fingers or a wire coat hanger to remove any immediately obvious blockage.

Run your plunger under the hot tap to soften the rubber, then plunge away! Before you begin, cover the bath overflow with duct tape or the old dishcloth and fill the bath or shower tray to cover the head of the plunger. This will enable you to make an effective vacuum with the plunger. Plunge rapidly for 30 seconds at a time to release the blockage.

Option 2

You will need:

  • A drain snake

A drain snake is a flexible wire with a Velcro tab at the end, perfect for snagging stubborn blockages. If the blockage is in your bath, feed the snake down the overflow hole until you reach the block. Twist anti-clockwise (to avoid loosening the pipes) until you release the blockage, then carefully pull the snake (and blockage) back up. For the shower, use the same technique via the plughole. You may need to repeat a few times until the blockage is completely clear.

Option 3

You will need:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda

Baking powder and vinegar are a perfect, grease-busting, environmentally friendly combo. Pour a kettle full of boiling water down the drain to loosen grease in your blocked pipe. Add half a cup of baking powder or bicarbonate of soda down the plughole and leave it for five minutes. Next for the fun bit: pour a cup of white vinegar and watch it fizz. Once the fizz has finished, pour another kettle of boiling water down the drain before testing it to see if it is clear.

If none of these options work, the chances are that your blockage is more serious. Contact a local plumber to come and give their professional advice and a quote for fixing it.

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