How to Clean a P-Trap in a Shower

The P-trap is located underneath the shower tray.
The P-trap is located underneath the shower tray. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

The P-trap is situated underneath the shower tray and its purpose is to hold a small amount of water to prevent odors from wafting through the drain pipes and into the bathroom. The trap will need cleaning occasionally when a buildup of soap scum occurs. You can mix an inexpensive, nontoxic cleaning solution that will also deodorize and clear the P-trap and plumbing pipes without the need to take it apart. Clear away any shampoo or lotion bottles before cleaning.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • Mixing jug

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Fill a mixing jug with 1/2 cup baking soda, then tip the soda into the shower drain. Baking soda acts as a natural cleaner and deodorizer.

Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into the shower drain immediately after the baking soda. The baking soda and vinegar will react and form froth.

Cover the drain hole with a stopper or a plate and allow the baking soda and vinegar to sit in the P-trap for 30 to 60 minutes.

Remove the stopper or plate and flush the drain with hot water from the mixing jug. The P-trap and shower drain will be cleaned and deodorized.

Tips & Warnings

  • Vinegar and baking soda forms a household cleaner when mixed.
  • Never mix commercial cleaning products. Certain chemicals produce toxic fumes when mixed.


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