How to Unclog a Shower Drain When Drano Doesn’t Work in 7 Easy Ways

When Drano fails to unclog your shower drain, you can use homemade DIY techniques such as using a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, using a plunger, using a plumbing snake, or using hot, boiling water to unclog the drain.

Shower drains get clogged when you shave in the shower, or from normal hair loss. The clog then holds water in it. Most of us reach out for Drano when our drains are blocked.

However, at times, even Drano fails to open up the drains effectively. We keep on pouring Drano but don’t see any results. 

When you pour Drano down the drain, the water within the clog dilutes it and lessens the potency. Moreover, the hair is hard and very difficult to dissolve.

In such a scenario, you have to resort to something other than Drano. 

Let’s see what solutions you have at hand if Drano doesn’t work for you.

how to unclog a shower drain when drano doesn't work

How to Unclog a Shower Drain Without Drano

In order to unclog the drains, you have to find out what is causing the clog in the first place, such as hair, etc. The first thing to do is check the drain for any visible obstruction.

If you can’t see anything on the outside, then use a flashlight to look into the drain. 

If you have removed the visible obstruction, verified that there is nothing inside the drain, and still the water won’t go down the drain, you have a clogged drain.

Here are some effective DIY methods for unclogging your drain.

Use Vinegar and Baking Soda 

Baking soda & vinegar works like magic for drains. You can easily find them in your pantry. What’s more, unlike Drano and other chemicals, this is a perfectly natural and safe method, and will not cause any harm to you, or your drainage system.

Things You Will Need

  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Small Bowl
  • Kettle
  • Hot Water


  • Ensure that there is no standing water in the shower before you use this method. If the water doesn’t go down the drain, use a small cup or spoon to get rid of all the standing water. 
  • Take out a small bowl. Add 4 tbsp. baking soda in it.
  • Measure out 4 tbsp. vinegar and add it to the baking soda. You will hear a hissing, bubbling sound.
  • Make a paste and put it down the drain. 
  • Let it sit for one hour. 
  • Boil some water in the kettle.
  • Run hot water down the drain thoroughly.
  • Voila! Your drain will be unclogged and ready for use!

Use Dish Soap and Hot Water

We all have access to dishwashing soap in our homes. This is a very quick, simple, and highly effective natural method of opening up clogged drains.

Things That You Will Need

  • Water
  • Kettle
  • Dishwashing Soap


  • Pour three tbsp. dishwashing soap down your drain. 
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes so that it can work on the grease, dirt, and dust within the clog. 
  • Boil some water in the kettle.
  • Pour boiling hot water down the drain.
  • Check to see if the clog is still there. If it is, repeat the process until you achieve the desired results.

Use a Plunger

If Drano isn’t working for your shower drain, you can use a plunger. However, there are various kinds of plungers available in the market and you have to select the one that suits your requirements.

The plunger that you use for the kitchen sink will not work for the shower drain and vice versa. 

Things You Will Need

  • Towel
  • Plunger


  • Cover the overflowing drain with a wet towel. This will help to improve the suction power since it will not allow the air to escape. 
  • Keep the rubber bell plunger on the shower drain firmly. Submerge it entirely in the water. 
  • Plunge with firm and quick thrusts, making sure that the seal stays intact.
  • Pull away the plunger after 90 seconds.
  • Don’t give up after a couple of minutes. You will have to work for at least 5 minutes before you will start seeing a difference. 
unclog a shower drain with a plunger

Use Plumbing Snake

A plumbing snake goes in places where cleaning products can’t reach. You can get to the root of the problem and get the clog out in no time.

If you have run out of vinegar, baking soda, and dishwashing soap, or if you don’t want to use these products in your shower, then you have a simple and easy option in the form of a plunging snake. 

It is a non-toxic, chemical-free, non-invasive method that will not damage your bathtub or your drainage pipes in any way.

Things You Will Need

  • Plumbing Snake/Drain Snake
  • Wire Coat Hanger


  • You can also use a drain snake or a plumbing snake to push or thread through the shower drain. It is basically a flexible cable that you can easily push down the drain. No matter how deep the clog is, the plunging snake will reach it.
  • If you don’t have a plumbing snake, you can fashion one yourself with a wire coat hanger. Straighten out the hanger, keeping the hook intact. 
  • Work it down the waste tee. Wind it through the clog and break it with the DIY plumbing snake.
  • It is important that you use a plumbing snake according to the size of your drain. Moreover, don’t put over 3 to 4 feet of the snake into the drain.If you do otherwise, there is a chance that the snake will get stuck down there and you will have a lot more problems on your hands!

Use Boiling Water

This is one of the easiest ways to unblock your drain when Drano stops working. 

Things You Will Need

  • Kettle
  • Water


  • Boil 6 cups of water in your kettle.
  • Once the water comes to a boil, carefully pour down 3 cups of water into the clogged shower drain.
  • The heat from the water will slowly break the clog up and will clear your drain.
  • Pour the remaining water down the drain to clean up the drain thoroughly. 
use boiling water to clear a blocked drain

Use a Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum cleaner not only cleans the dust and dirt around your home but can also be used to get rid of shower drain clogs.

Things You Will Need

  • Vacuum Cleaner


  • Place the head of the vacuum near the shower drain.
  • Turn the vacuum to its highest setting. 
  • Turn the vacuum on and wait until the clog is sucked up by the vacuum.

Use Caustic Soda

Caustic soda works wonders when it comes to opening clogged drains.

However, before you use caustic soda, you need to wear gloves, safety goggles, and a mask since caustic soda is a strong chemical and can easily burn your skin. 

Things You Will Need

  • Caustic Soda
  • Mop Bucket
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Mask
  • Water


  • Take a mop bucket and pour 1 liter of cold water into it.
  • Add 3 cups of caustic soda to the water and mix it thoroughly.
  • Pour this mixture down your drain and wait for 15 minutes.
  • Run lukewarm water down the drain. The clog will be long gone!

Alternative Method – Call in A Plumber

If you have tried all of the methods that we have mentioned above, and still can’t seem to get out of your plumbing conundrum, then it is time for you to call in for professional help.

It is better that you contact your local plumber since you know them and trust them. 

However, there are several plumbers available online, and you can get in touch with them. Go to their websites, read the users’ reviews about them online, and then make an informed decision. 

Things To Do To Prevent Your Drain From Clogging

We are fans of the saying, “Prevention is better than the cure”. Instead of trying to remove a shower clog, why not take some preventive measures to keep a clog from happening and save yourself from a whole world of trouble? 

Here are a few things you can do to prevent a drain clog.

Grease and oil are notorious when it comes for causing shower drain clogs. Your body naturally produces oils that enter the drain when you shower.

Moreover, the bath and shower products that you use leave residue behind that clogs up your drains. It is better to avoid using oily, greasy products in the shower to prevent a drain clog.

A drain doesn’t clog overnight – it takes some time for a clog to form. Therefore, the best way to fight clogged drains is to make sure that you clean the drain out daily.

After you finish showering, remove visible debris, like your hair immediately. Moreover, keep the hot water running for a couple of minutes to ensure that all the bath products are flushed completely.

It is pertinent that you buy a drain cover since the major culprit for clogged drains is hair. When you shower, you shed loose hair and they go down the drain. Over the passage of time, the amount of hair builds up and results in a clog.

This is where the drain cover comes in. It will keep the hair from entering the drain in the first place. It is better to buy silicone style or stainless steel drain covers. You will have to clean them as well, but cleaning shower drain cover is a whole lot easier than unclogging blocked drains.

keep shower drain clear at all times

FAQs for How to Unclog a Shower Drain When Drano Doesn’t Work

If Drano doesn’t work, what should I do?

If Drano doesn’t work, you have to go with homemade solutions like the ones we have discussed above. 

Can I use other chemicals after using Drano to remove the clog?

No, after you pour Drano down the drain, don’t use any other chemicals to try and unclog the drain. Since Drano is primarily HCL, there are high chances that it will react adversely with other drain-cleaning liquids. By mixing chemicals, you can hurt yourself, or cause your pipes to burst.

Can I put my hand down the drain if Drano doesn’t work to remove the clog?

No, don’t try to access the clog with your hand after using Drano. You will burn yourself.

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