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How Do I Unblock A Bath Or Shower Drain?

If the water in your shower or bath isn’t draining properly (or at all), the chances are that you’ve got a blockage.

Please note, we can only give you basic advice on this page to do the job yourself. Make sure you use the right tools and protective equipment to avoid hurting yourself or damaging your home.

This could be due to a build-up of hair or scum in the drain. We’ve put together a handy guide to help you fix the problem.

Take care when plunging a bath as most have an overflow which is concealed beneath the bath and may pop off, potentially flooding the bathroom.

Some showers have spill-over wastes which cannot be accessed easily and if chemicals are used, this may eat through the bottom of the waste. This could cause damage and upheaval as most shower wastes are not accessible without lifting the floor.

You’ll need:

  • Gloves
  • Bucket
  • Hanger or metal wire
  • 100 ml white vinegar
  • 15 tbsp


  1. Put your gloves on! This is for your safety
  2. Try and clear out any waste using a hook of some kind, whether it’s a coat hanger or a wire bent into a hook shape. Scrape out the gunk causing the blockage
  3. You can make a simple drain cleaner from 15 tbsp bicarbonate of sofa and put it into the blocked pipe, followed by 100 ml or white vinegar. Once the fizzing has stopped, flush the pipe out with boiling water (being careful)
  4. You can use drain cleaner as a last resort; these are highly toxic and can burn your skin as well as damage pipes


Prevention is better than cure

Consider investing in some drop-in hair traps; these sit over the plughole in your bath or shower and collect any loose hair that could cause a blockage. These are relatively cheap and reusable.

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