How to Clean a Shower Trap


Cleaning shower traps occasionally is a necessary evil, since hair and soap buildup clogs the drain over time. Often, the presence of mold or a grimy buildup results in offensive odors emanating from the pipes. Cleaning the trap is a regular part of home maintenance that keeps the drains clear and prevents problems, such as the shower water draining slowly. This is not a difficult process and requires little time or effort.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat-head or Phillips screwdriver (magnetic -- if you have one)
  • Liquid dish-washing detergent
  • Bottle brush with a large diameter
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic pitcher
  • Wire coat hanger
  • Needle-nose pliers

Removal Method

  • Unscrew the screws on the shower trap by using a magnetic screwdriver if you have one. This prevents the screws from falling down the drain. Otherwise, use a regular screwdriver and remove the screws carefully.

  • Lift off the shower trap and set it and the screws out of the shower area.

  • Wet a bottle brush with hot water and squirt a stream of liquid dish-washing liquid onto it.

  • Insert the bottle brush into the drain hole. Thoroughly scrub inside the drain hole as far as you can reach. This removes soap buildup, hair and any bio-film -- a resistant layer of bacteria that coats the surface of the pipes and may cause odors and clogged drains. Pull off any hair particles or grimy debris from the brush with paper towels and continue cleaning the area.

  • Turn the shower on or use a pitcher to rinse the soap well from the drain. The water should drain freely.

  • Place the shower trap back over the opening and twist the screws into place. The shower is ready for use again.

Wire Hanger Method

  • Twist the wire hanger apart so it forms a straight line.

  • Bend the tip end of the hanger with needle-nose pliers so it forms a narrow U-shape.

  • Insert the bent end into a hole in the shower trap and use it to grab any hair or other debris clogging the drain.

  • Remove the hair and grimy buildup from the wire coat hanger with paper towels and discard. Repeat this method until you no longer see any hair or other debris in the pipe.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fold two or three paper towels in your hand and remove any hair evident on top of the shower trap. Run the water to see if it drains freely. Often, this is all that is necessary to clean the trap. If not, removal of the shower trap or using a wire coat hanger is necessary.
  • Don't forget to clean both sides of the shower trap to remove soap buildup before screwing it back into the area. Bottle brushes allow you to clean out baby bottles, jars or tall, cylinder-shaped containers. Purchase a separate one to use for cleaning shower traps. They are available on the cleaning or baby supplies aisle in your grocery or discount store.

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