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How To Unclog a Shower Drain With Standing Water: A Brief Guide

When homeowners experience plumbing issues, a sense of panic and dread will likely set in. When your plumbing starts behaving strangely, you’ll probably start thinking about how much it will cost to fix and how big of a project it will be. Nobody wants to deal with a lengthy plumbing repair where contractors pull up the flooring and shut your water off.

If you have a clogged shower drain with standing water, you may assume you will end up with a hefty repair bill in the future. However, knowing how to unclog a shower drain with standing water can save you a lot of time and money. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the best methods to handle a drain clog before calling a professional plumber.

If you have a plumbing issue that needs the attention of an experienced technician, choose Champion Plumbing today! With over 1,500 five-star reviews online, we are the most trusted plumbers in Norman, OK. Contact us today, and let us help you get your plumbing flowing again.

What Is Standing Water?

You’ll either get slow-draining water or standing water when you have a clogged drain in your tub or shower. Unlike slow-draining water that eventually finds its way down the drain, standing water won’t budge. Standing water often looks brown or yellow because the drain water has minerals and sediment (usually manganese or iron) that usually rests at the bottom of your water pipes.

This stagnant water will breed bacteria, mold, and mildew over time, so you must remove it from your home quickly. It also carries a foul odor from the clog in the drain, which can cause allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and breathing problems for you and your family. 

Mosquitos, flies, and other insects look for stagnant water to breed and make a home for themselves. If you keep your windows open for ventilation or to air out the drain odor, you will attract insects that may carry bacteria or disease.

What Tools Do I Need To Unclog My Drain?

Before we show you how to unclog a shower drain with standing water, we need to cover the tools and materials required for the job. Before you attempt to fix a drain clog, make sure you have the following:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Bucket
  • Large cup
  • Drain plug
  • Wire hanger
  • Drain snake
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Plunger
  • Boiling water
  • Towel
  • ¾ cup baking soda
  • One cup of vinegar
  • Table salt

How To Unclog a Shower Drain With Standing Water

Before you can attempt to unclog your drain, you must get all the standing water out of the shower or tub. Get a large cup to scoop up the water and pour it into a bucket. Empty the bucket outside and repeat this process as necessary. 

Remove your drain cover if you have one, and use a towel to soak up any remaining water in and around the drain. Clear away any muck or grime and throw it in the trash. You are now ready to unclog your shower or tub drain.

Boiling Water

The first and simplest home remedy for a clogged drain includes boiling water. If the clog in the drain stems from a blockage made of grease or soap scum, pouring some boiling water over it will melt the materials down and wash them away. 

If the clog contains a lot of hair, you’ll have to try some of the other methods listed below. However, if you’ve removed a large amount of hair from the pipe but it still does not drain correctly, boiling water may help break down the rest of the blockage.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Unlike harsh store-bought drain cleaners that can damage your pipes, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar (or salt if you don’t have vinegar) will break clogs apart without causing expensive repairs later.

  • First, add ¾ cup of baking soda to your drain.
  • Next, add one cup of vinegar or a third of a cup of salt.
  • Insert a drain plug to keep the fizz from rising out of the drain.
  • Wait one hour for the mixture to do its job.
  • Flush the drain with boiling water to wash away the clog.

Wire Hanger

You can use a wire hanger to reach and pull out a clog in your drain, as long as it isn’t too far down the pipe. Untwist the hanger and bend it straight before making a hook on one of the ends. Feed the hook end of the hanger down the pipe until you find the blockage.

Pull chunks of the clog out and throw them away until your hook comes up empty, then flush the drain with hot or boiling water. 


Plungers can dislodge drain clogs if you use them correctly. Coat the plunger rim with petroleum jelly and create a seal over the drain opening. Without breaking the seal, pump the plunger up and down for about three minutes before removing it and flushing the drain.

Drain Snake

A drain snake refers to a tool that professional plumbers use to reach clogs too far down the pipe for a coat hanger. While they can work great for dislodging stubborn clogs, they can cause damage to your plumbing if you use them incorrectly. If you can’t get your drain unclogged with any of the other home remedies, we recommend calling a certified technician with the training and experience to snake your drains.

Let Champion Plumbing Help

Now that you know how to unclog a shower drain with standing water, give it a try. If these remedies don’t work for you, you may have a more severe problem. If you live in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, let Champion Plumbing diagnose and fix your plumbing issues quickly and efficiently.

We pride ourselves on providing quality service and total satisfaction. Click the link to learn about low water pressure problems in showers, and call our Edmond, OK, office at 405-889-1318 to schedule an appointment today.

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The next time you need a plumbing contractor, call Champion Plumbing if you’re in the Edmond, OK area at 405-342-3571 and give us the chance to earn your business.