Most people will get a clogged shower drain sooner or later. We asked expert plumber Dennis Schwartz owner of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Morganton, NC, for his best tips on unclogging a shower drain.

Before you reach for harsh chemicals that can damage your pipes, first try his methods to unclog shower drains naturally.How to unclog a shower drain

1. First, unscrew the drain screen. Make sure not to drop the screws down the drain!

2. Grab a wire hanger. Take a wire hanger or any piece of wire and bend it with piers so that it has a 3/4 inch hook.. Use it to pull any clogs, hair, and debris out. WARNING: it will be totally gross. Keep a bag next to you for discarding the the clogs.

3. Try a plunger. To ensure that the plunger is effective, stop up the tub’s overflow opening with a wet rag. Fill the shower with just enough hot water to cover the bottom of the plunger. Begin plunging, making sure that you keep the plunging motion vertical, straight up and down. After about 5-10 forceful plunges, lift up the plunger to see if the water is draining away quickly. If the water is not draining quickly, plunge again.

4. Go natural. How to unclog a drain with baking soda: Hopefully, after using the wire hanger and plunger, your shower is now draining. If not, use a cup and bucket to bail any existing water out of your tub.

Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into drain, using a spatula to force it down if you need to. Then, pour 1 cup vinegar down the drain and quickly cover the drain with a drain cover or damp towel to force the vinegar and baking soda to the clog. Hold the cover place until the fizzing stops. Finally, uncover and flush drain with boiling water.

5. If your shower drain is still clogged, call a plumber. Using more forceful methods or harsh chemical drain cleaners can damage pipes and cause larger problems.

Safety Tip: • Never attempt to plunge after using drain cleaner. You could splash your eyes or skin with chemicals and cause serious burns. Remember, it is always better to try to unclog shower drains naturally.

How to Avoid Shower Clogs in the Future

1. Get a hair trap. Stop clogs before they start by minimizing what goes down the drain.
2. Use shower gel, not bar soap. Bar soap causes soap scum. Using shower gel will also keep tile and grout cleaner.
3. Use the baking soda/vinegar method on a regular basis to shower drains run-ning smoothly.

See the “How to unclog a drain with baking soda” section above and use every couple of weeks, or whenever you clean the shower. Finish cleaning by using the the bak-ing soda method.

Author Bio: Dennis Schwartz owns Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Morganton. Dennis has been a plumber and business owner for over 30 years. He lives and works in Morganton, NC.