That’s Gross: What Causes Standing Water in Shower Drains?


Have you ever taken your morning shower only to find water pooling around your ankles? You step out to towel off and the water doesn’t go anywhere. Standing water in shower drains is a sure sign of a clogged drain.

If you’d like to know what causes the blockage and what to do about it, read on.

What Blocks a Shower Drain?

The biggest shower drain-blocking culprits are hair, soap scum, and dirt. Hair washes down the drain and forms a net that catches soap scum instead of letting it wash down the drain. The soap scum helps the hair cling to the side of the drain. Dirt that washes down the drain and adds to the build-up. 

Over time, the build-up grows until it blocks off the drain entirely, forming an effective plug that prevents water from draining out of the shower.  

How to Fix Standing Water in Shower Drains

There are some quick fixes you can try do to rescue your shower from a hair clogged drain and get the water flowing again. None of these take specialized equipment and might get things moving again.

Boiling Water Fix

Pouring a large pot of boiling down your shower drain may help dissolve soap scum and get things moving again. You may need to repeat this a couple of times for a stubborn clog. Once your drain is clear and flowing, you can make this part of your monthly routine to keep the shower drain free from clogs.

The Magic of a Plunger

Plungers don’t just work on toilets and bathtubs but should work for showers too. Using a plunger forces air down the shower plumbing. If applied with enough force, it may dislodge the blockage and get things flowing again.

Baking in the Bathroom

Baking soda and vinegar are a potent cleaning combination and can help dissolve deeper blockages. Start by pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow that up with a cup of vinegar. Leave the solution alone for a few hours to get to work on the blockage. Finish up with a pot full of boiling water. 

What About Commercial Drain Cleaning Chemicals?

Commercially available drain cleaners will usually resolve your clog fairly quickly, but the risk of damage to your plumbing is high. Using harsh chemicals can cause bigger plumbing problems further down the line and they are harmful to the environment. It is better to avoid caustic drain cleaning chemicals altogether.

When to Call a Plumber?

If you find you regularly have to deal with standing water in shower drains, and you just can’t get them flowing again, it is time to call in the professionals. You may be dealing with a blockage deep in your plumbing that can cause major problems if not seen to. Plumbing professionals have the equipment to diagnose exactly what’s going on and safely get things flowing again. 

If you’ve found this article helpful, check out our other household tips and tricks on our blog!