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Everyone knows the gross feeling of being in the shower and having dirty water pooling up around your feet. Shower drains blockages can be caused by scum, dirt, and hair, and they can lead to slow draining or even standing water if the clog is bad enough.
But you don’t need to call the plumber just yet. You may be able to unclog the drain yourself, as there are a variety of affordable products designed to help cut through even the toughest shower clogs. These include both chemical products that you pour down the drain and physical tools that help pull the offending materials out.
Read on for the best shower drain cleaners to help clear out your home’s pipes.
Best Overall: Drano Max Gel Clog Remover
Pretty much everyone has heard of Drano, and for good reason. This brand is known for its effective and affordable drain cleaning products, and the Drano Max Gel is one of your best options when you need to unclog a shower drain. This gel comes in an 80-ounce bottle, and it’s safe to use on PVC, metal pipes, and even septic systems.
Drano Max Gel has a thick bleach formula that cuts through standing water and helps to break down hair, soap scum, and other clog-causing materials. All you have to do is pour 16 ounces of the gel down your shower drain (or 32 ounces for extremely slow-running drains) and wait 15 to 30 minutes. You can then flush the drain with hot water and repeat as needed.
Best Budget: FlexiSnake Drain Weasel Hair Clog Tool Starter Kit
Save your money and opt for the FlexiSnake Drain Weasel Hair Clog Tool, a reusable device that will help fish out hair, gunk, and other debris. The kit comes with a reusable handle and two 18-inch refill wands with a slim 1/8-inch diameter.
To use the Drain Weasel, simply insert the wand into the offending drain, then spin the handle. Each wand has more than 100 micro-hooks that will grab onto the clog, allowing you to pull it out easily. You can then simply throw away the refill wand and all the gunk that came with it. This method is ideal if your clog is caused by hair, as it works immediately and is extremely affordable.
Best Drain Snake: Drainx 25-Ft Pro Drum Auger Plumbing Snake
If you don’t like the idea of using chemicals in your home’s pipes, you can clean the shower drain manually with the Drainx Pro Steel Drum Auger Plumbing Snake. This drain snake is easy to use, and it has a 25-foot cable that can reach even the deepest clogs.
This drain snake has a 1/4-inch cleaning cable with a spiral head, and it can be used in pipes ranging from 1-1/4 to 3 inches wide. The turning knob allows you to drive the snake through blockages, clearing a hole that allows water to pass, and it will also pull up hair and other gunk that may be caught in your pipes. It comes with a storage bag and gloves to help you keep your hands clean while you work.
Best for Septic Systems: XIONLAB Safer Drain Opener Clog Remover
Because septic systems rely on bacteria to break down waste, antibacterial chemical drain cleaners can often cause your system to become imbalanced. For this reason, those with septic systems will want to look for a septic-safe drain cleaner, such as this one from XIONLAB.
This 32-ounce bottle of drain cleaner is effective on grease, soap scum, and hair, and the formula is odorless, non-flammable, and biodegradable. When used as directed, it won’t harm the enzymes that keep your septic system working, but it will get your drain working again in no time.
Best for Hair Clogs: Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver
Hair is one of the most common culprits that clogs up shower drains, and if you’re dealing with a tough blockage caused by hair, you may want to try the Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver. This formula liquefies grease, hair, soap scum, and other organic materials in a matter of minutes, and its unique double-sided container has two pre-measured applications, so you don't have to worry about using too much or too little.
The Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver is safe to use in PVC, copper, steel, and iron pipes, as well as with both sewer and septic systems. All you have to do is pour it down your shower or tub drain, wait at least two hours, then flush the pipes with water.
Best for Standing Water: Instant Power Hair and Grease Drain Cleaner
If your drain is completely clogged and you have standing water in your shower, the Instant Power Hair and Grease Drain Cleaner can help to solve this common bathroom problem. This powerful cleaner comes in 67.6-ounce bottles for numerous applications, and its strong, non-acid formula will help cut through standing water, getting to the root of the issue.
This drain cleaner can be used on all types of pipes, as well as with septic systems, and it helps to clear up common drain stoppages, including those caused by hair and grease.
Best Preventative: Zep Drain Defense Pipe Build-up Remover
Do you find yourself battling clogged drains every few weeks? Then you could probably benefit from a product like the Zep Drain Defense Pipe Build-Up Remover, which will help to prevent blockages when used regularly.
This preventative drain cleaner comes in 64-ounce bottles, and its enzyme-based formula breaks down buildup in your pipes, opening slow drains and reducing the risk of clogs. It’s safe to use in all types of pipes and with septic systems, and you should use it once a month for best results.
Best Hair Catcher: TubShroom Drain Protector Hair Catcher
You can stop hair from blocking up your shower drain with the TubShroom. This unique little contraption can be installed into any standard 1.5-inch tub drain, replacing your drain stopper. When hair is rinsed down, it gets trapped in the TubShroom, saving it from getting caught in your pipes. All you have to do is clean it off after each shower.
The TubShroom comes in several colors, and it’s made from durable silicone that can last up to 10 years. The unit has ample holes so it won’t hinder water drainage, and it’s a worthwhile investment for homes with family members with long hair or pets with a lot of fur—affordable, well-made, and incredibly effective.