How To Use a Snake to Clear a Shower Drain: 8 Easy Steps [Video]

By Mengning Heil

May 6, 2022

Drain Cleaning Tips

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Today, we will be showing you how to use a snake to clear a shower drain.  Click on the video, follow the steps outlined in the blog below the video, or use both to learn more. 

Homeowners will often call us and complain about water backing up and creating a pool while they shower. Since most shower drain clogs are not complicated to clear (they are usually the result of hair buildup), cleaning out drains that back up intermittently is well worth the time in order to prevent you from running into more significant issues.   

Though some home solutions such as vinegar and hot water (if you’re not dealing with standing water in your shower) or a simple plunger (if you have standing water), can both be effective in clearing certain blockages, the reality is that they sometimes just don’t do the trick.

If you have tried the above methods and are still experiencing issues, keep reading to learn how to use a snake to clear a shower drain.     

Step by Step: How to Use a Snake to Clear a Shower Drain

For this project, we will be using a light-duty drill-operated drain snake. If you have never used a drain snake before, or if it’s been a while, you would do well to note a few things. 1) Typically, a light-duty snake will do the job on a newer home. If you have an older home, you may want to call in a plumber as older homes usually mean older pipes that can be more difficult to navigate. 2) Do not attempt to use a smaller, light-duty shower snake on a sink drain as the grease deposits found in sink drains can be harder to clear and often require a larger, more professional-grade snake.

So, with all that said, let’s dive into the DIY.

  1. Attach the drill to the drain snake (see video or photo for a visual guide).
  2. Put gloves on.
  3. Estimate the length of snake you will need
    1. Evaluate how far the shower drain is from the nearby toilet and sink drains to determine how much snake to run (you will want to make sure to add a few extra feet to your estimate to account for any turns in the pipes). 
    2. The block is most likely in the smaller shower drain and not in the larger connecting toilet drain pipe.  Therefore, you will want to run the snake all the way through the shower drain and into the front part of the toilet drain to make sure the block is truly dislodged. 
    3. Note that while you will want to make sure to clear the clog, you also don’t want to run the snake too far because the shower drain eventually connects up with your home’s larger drains (e.g. toilet drains). Larger drains provide more opportunity for the snake to turn back on itself and get knotted and even stuck.
  4. Remove the drain cover so that you can feed the snake into the drain.
  5. Begin feeding the snake down the drain by hand
  6. Slowly use the drill to continue to feed the drain snake through the pipe to the desired length
  7. Pull the snake back up by hand.
    1. This will pull up anything that could possibly be clogging the drain.
    2. If nothing comes up, the clog was likely dislodged, pushed through the pipe, and cleared.
  8. Run the shower again to ensure that the water is draining well.

Now you have learned how to use a snake to clear a shower drain.

If you ever find yourself in a fix and are looking for trustworthy drain cleaning in Rockville or the surrounding areas, don’t hesitate to connect with our expert Montgomery County plumbers today.

Heil Plumbing is a family-run company owned by a third-generation master plumber. We can help you with a full range of plumbing services, including toilet installation and repair, leak detection and pipe repair, water heater repair and installation, faucet repair and installation, drain cleaning, water treatment services, and more.