How to Unclog a Shower Drain (With a Garden Hose!)

Do you find yourself standing in a puddle every time you shower? If so, you need to unclog your shower drain before it gets worse.

There are all sorts of remedies on the internet. One of the least discussed is the use of a hose; a garden host to be specific. This solution is the perfect example of good old-fashioned DIY ingenuity.

What You Need to Unclog a Shower Drain

For the two methods below, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Long-nose pliers (if your shower strainer does not use screws)
  • Screwdriver (if your shower strainer is attached by screws)
  • Can of WD-40 (only needed if strainer does not come off easily)
  • Cup plunger (also known as a sink plunger)
  • Garden hose
  • Small towel
  • Maybe a friend (for an extra pair of hands)
how to unclog a shower drain - long-nosed pliers
Pair of 7″ long (TEKTON brand) long-nosed pliers. You can use something like this, or a screwdriver, if necessary, to remove the shower drain strainer.

First, Try Using a Sink Plunger

We know you’re anxious to learn how a garden hose will unclog a shower drain. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t first recommend the easiest remedy.

The following will only take about 10 to 15 minutes of your time.

Plunger Instructions

  1. Insert the long-nose pliers into the holes of the shower strainer (if the strainer has screws, then unscrew with the screwdriver)
  2. Flip the strainer out or twist it counterclockwise to unscrew it
  3. If the above 2 steps don’t release the strainer, spray WD-40 onto it and let the lubrication work for about 10 minutes. Then resume the process.
  4. Set aside the strainer
  5. Fill the shower to a depth of about 1 inch (if it isn’t already)
  6. Place the sink plunger over the drain and plunge assertively (quick 1-inch motions, up and down)
  7. Repeat the process for up to 20 seconds about 2 to 3 times
how to use a plunger - sink/cup plunger
Make sure you use a sink (or cup) plunger on your shower drain clog. These are designed to be used on flat surfaces, unlike a toilet plunger that has an extra piece called a flange.

How to Unclog a Shower Drain with a Hose

If this simple plunging method doesn’t work, it’s time to use the garden hose method.

The only difficult aspect of this technique is getting your garden hose close enough to place into the shower drain. The entire procedure shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.

Garden Hose Instructions

  1. Follow the steps above to open the shower strainer (also called a drain gate)
  2. Insert your garden hose as far into your drain as it will go (obviously, if your hose has a spray nozzle, you’ll first need to remove it)
  3. Wrap a small towel tightly around the hose (make sure the towel also is stuffed into the area where the hose enters the drain). A damp or wet towel works especially well.
  4. Connect the other end of the hose to an outside faucet (if possible); most garden hoses are long enough. If not, you’ll need to attach it to something like a clothes washer’s supply faucet.
  5. Crimp the hose (anywhere between where it’s connected to a faucet and where it enters the drain
  6. Turn on the faucet
  7. Here’s where you could use a helper: hold the towel firmly in place while you (or someone else) quickly crimp and uncrimp the garden hose. Repeat this process a few times if at first it doesn’t work.
  8. Replace the shower drain parts
how to unclog a shower drain - photo of heavy duty garden hose
We weren’t kidding. We really mean a garden hose. This is a typical hose you can purchase at Walmart. But any garden hose will do. Just remove any attachments from the hose before using it.

The reason the above method works is simple.

By crimping and uncrimping the hose, you are sending a blast of water into the drain. The water pressure blasts away at the blockage and dislodges the clog. It’s similar, though much simpler, in concept to hydro-jetting a drain or sewer line.


Here are some great resources related to unclogging a shower drain and other information found in this article:

Final Thoughts

There are lots of ways to unclog a shower drain (or any drain for that matter). However, we’ve rarely seen the garden hose method described online.

We think it’s a neat do-it-yourself project for homeowners who like to take matters into their own hands. And it’s relatively safe to try. Just don’t overdo it.

If it doesn’t work after a few attempts, you’ll want to try other solutions (see Resources above) or call a trusted local plumber.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need help unclogging a tub or shower drain. 

1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

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