Plunging Shower Drain Made It Worse (Explained)

By - Hs Saini

Updated -

Avoiding clogs in the shower drain is inevitable for every homeowner; there is no way around that mess.

One day you will be in the shower and realize the water is not flowing. The first thought might be to reach for the plunger underneath the bathtub, while another will be to call the plumber.

If you want the fastest solution, it would be to use the plunger. However, you must know how to use it correctly to avoid the risks of damaging your plumbing.

While some think a plunger is not the best option, others do not.

Using a plunger can damage your shower drain only if you exert too much pressure. Toilet plungers use a suction mechanism to remove obstructions in the drain, either in the toilet or bathroom sink. If you apply the right amount of force, you will provide a solution, but if you do not, it may lead to more significant problems.

Is It Bad To Use a Plunger on a Shower Drain?

Plunging Shower Drain Made It Worse

Many people have so much to say about this; some believe it is harmful while others do not.

It is an excellent idea to trap small obstructions like soap and shower gels with a thick consistency.

But, of course, if this is a recurring clog that refuses to go away, it is best to call a plumber or use other suitable methods.

The trick to correctly using a plunger is to work slowly. First, check if the particle causing obstruction is visible. If you can see it blocking the drain, then there is no use for a plunger.

Use your hand or a scoop to remove the object from the drain’s entrance and run some water to check if it will flush.

If it does not flush, there is an object inside the drain that you need to plunge out. Sometimes, the process requires that you wash your shower drain with some warm water.

It is surprising how much help hot water offers in dissolving particles responsible for drain clogs.

Can Plunging Drain Make Clogs Worse?

Extreme plunging can not only make clogs worse, but it can also damage your pipes. The pressure from the plunger will rip the water line apart and cause a leak underneath your sink.

Therefore, it would be best to avoid such situations since we know how messy they can get. Aside from leaving a mess, plumbing repairs cost a few hundred bucks.

You must buy materials and pay the plumber for his services. However, you can fix the problem if you have the proper knowledge.

Contrarily, it would be best if you avoid the entire situation by being careful. After all, your caution is an advantage.

How do You Unblock a Shower Drain With a Plunger?

There is a correct way to unblock a shower drain with a plunger without causing any damage. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to achieve this.

#1. Get Your Tools Ready

It is advisable to have a toolbox as a homeowner. In addition, all homeowners should practice some DIY, which requires you to have essential tools at your disposal.

For this process, you will need the following tools.

  • Duct tape
  • Toilet plunger
  • Warm water with some salt.
  • Toothbrush (optional)

Once you have these tools ready, you can proceed.

#2. Tape the Overflow Drain

There are two metal plates in the shower tub; one is at the bottom of the sink while the other is on the wall.

The drain is where water passes to the rest of the house drain and the sewer; it is at the base of the tub. At the same time, the other metal plate is mainly on the wall.

However, it does not allow water to pass; instead, it acts as an air loop for the drain when you need to tackle clogs.

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The overflow drain is the plate you must tape to stop air from passing, creating more pressure so that everything goes in the direction of the suction.

#3. Use the Plunger

Next, unscrew the drain, and remove the cap to allow some access to increase the plunger’s suction.

Next, cover the drain with the plunger’s lips and press it up and down to create an air pocket. Then, keep repeating this process as gently as possible for a few minutes.

Afterward, remove the plunger and watch how a few particles will come to the surface. If those particles are the culprits, you just solved your problem!

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#4. Flush With Water

When you finish plunging and the residual water in the tub flows, flush with some water from the shower.

This action will remove the scum, dirt, and lather from the tub’s surface.

#5. Test and See

Now, you must test and see if your hard work was worth the struggle. You can test this by allowing water to flow in the sink and observing the rate it flushes.

If it returns to normal, well done, you are one step toward becoming a certified DIY expert.

How Did Plunger Make Clog Worse?

Toilet plungers are to bring a solution to a drain that has a problem, which becomes unpleasant when it does not help.

Consequently, a plunger can only worsen the clog if you do not plunge correctly.

You can misuse a plunger;

  • If you exert too much pressure.
  • If you hit the tub with the plunger, the clogs will give room.

Now, if you feel like you may not work well with a plunger, there is a suitable alternative. The drain snake wire is a long and stringy wire to remove clogs from the drain.

#1. Drain Snake Method

Absolutely, you can use a drain snake to unclog your drain. However, it is more effective because it reaches inside the drain hole to remove the clogs.

For example, the wire is the most suitable tool if chunks of hair are in your drain. 

To use the drain snake wire, you must unscrew the two drains; it would be best if you remove both of them.

Next, dip the wire into the opening as far as possible. While doing this, pull back and forth so you can latch unto the possible cogs. 

Try to be careful so that you do not damage the drain pipes. Do this repeatedly and remove as many particles; in no time, your drain will function properly.

There is a widespread belief that drain snakes are better and less harmful than plungers. It is best to compare the tools in a table to see their functions and unique features.

So, here is a comparison of a drain snake and a plunger:

Drain SnakePlunger
It is a wire that can go inside the drain to remove clogs.It is a rod with a cylindrical top that creates a vacuum to remove clogs from the drain.
It is more effective because it reaches more particles than the plunger.It hardly reaches any particles and puts pressure on the clogs to go further.
The risks are; that it might crack the line.This process has more risks than the wire.
The drain wire does not use the pressure method.When too much pressure gets to the pipes, it can cause a tear.

Shower Water Doesn’t Go Down the Drain; What Do I Do?

When shower water does not go down the drain, check to see if any particles obstruct the water flow.

One method you can try before you pick your plunger is the hot water method. 

Hot Water Method

Hot water is best for dissolving particles by breaking the bonds between the molecules.

For example, it will be easy if you have degradable particles like soap and food particles.

So, if you notice that the shower water does not go down, you can run some hot water to see if it helps.

This action usually provides a solution, and the clog goes immediately. Therefore it is another reliable way aside from using the plunger and drains snake wire. 

Avoid using chemical solutes to dissolve clogs, and they damage your plumbing. Try manual methods instead.


Plunging the shower drain is not entirely wrong, as long as you do not exert too much pressure, leading to some damage.

However, it would be best if you embrace other methods like; using the drain snake wire and hot water methods.

Each of these methods has more advantages than disadvantages, unlike the plunger.

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