Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

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turtlebug
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by turtlebug »

neurosphere wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 7:45 am
turtlebug wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 11:53 am I have something that looks like this that I use occasionally to remove hair and it prevents slow drain in the shower and the bathroom sinks:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/BrassCraf ... /305468409
Be careful with this, I had the plastic break off in my drain, and it took me a LONG time to get it back out. In the meantime it had created a hair catcher making things much worse.

Also, when you say "shower" do you mean a tub with shower or a stand up shower? I learned (the hard way) that with my tub, the drain starts horizontal to the tub bottom before connecting to a line that runs down into (I assume) a p-trap. My hair clog was more than 12 inches away, and after two right angles. Draino always made the slow drain a little faster, but then started taking lots of draino, and more often. Finally, a metal snake attached to a power drill did the trick (but still with a lot of physical effort). No clog came back but must have been pushed through and/or chopped up enough to fix the problem.

I guess I've been lucky in that I've used the plastic hair snake (sometimes supplement it with pliers) for 25+ years and it hasn't broken yet (and I've saved $$$$ by not having to call a plumber). By "shower" I mean a stand-up shower with a separate tub. Thankfully, I haven't had any slow-drain issues in the other bathrooms (tubs w/showers). I find that the plastic hair snake also works really well for bathroom sinks (although no one is apparently able to tell me how the hair gets down there when they swear up and down they don't comb over the sinks...) :?
Matt62
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by Matt62 »

My suggestion, once you have thoroughly cleaned the drain.

Is to buy (as use) these drain filters. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0779 ... UTF8&psc=1

And take the time to clean out once every week or every other week and you won't have a gross hair problem in your shower drain ever again. I've learned that preemptive maintenance is the key to keeping all home drains clean.

Plese NOT USE CHEMICALS as others have suggested.

-m
illumination
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by illumination »

These drain bladders that you attach to a hose or sink can also work really well. You can put them down a shower drain.

I just had a sewer line that was stopped up and I suspected it was one of my kids flushing down too many tissues. Almost instantly cleared it when I put it down a clean out valve.

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ItzaHoot
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by ItzaHoot »

Like so many people have suggested, take the cover off the drain and look down it with a flashlight. I've saved myself a lot of money through the years by reaching in with a long hemostat/locking pliers and repeatedly pulling out hair clogs. you can also use a piece of lightweight wire with a hook bent on the end of it.

If you're really curious, Amazon has a variety of cameras ranging in price from about $20 and up. They are typically on a 10-15 foot long flexible shaft with the camera an lighting built into one end and the other end connects to an android or Iphone or may have it's own video screen and controls on the other end. Most have an IP67 rating so should be good in wet environments. the "6" refers to generally dust proof and the "7" means it should be safe to use in water up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes. IP68 is even better since it is essentially waterproof beyond 1 meter and up to a depth that MUST be specified by the equipment manufacturer.

Just type in "endoscope" or "boroscope" as your search term.
LittleMaggieMae
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

SVariance1 wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 12:00 pm
Kookaburra wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 11:51 am Drain weasel, from Home Depot. Works brilliantly for removing hair wads.
I am going to try this. It gets very good reviews
Just an FYI: be patient with it. I use the other style that was posted (from home depot). It goes down the drain easily but pulling it back out is a challenge of twisting and gently tugging. I panicked once when it seemed to be wedged in the drain... it wasn't - I just needed to twist and tug and be patient. Looking down my tub drain doesn't do much good - it's about 3 inches down and then it curves... the plastic thing in one of the posts is flexible enough to go down that turn/curve and get to the trap where the clog is.


There's a slight chance you've got a drum trap - if the house was built in the early 70's.... My house had one on the tub drain )from 1947 and it worked great for 65 years... and then when attempting to unclog the bathtub drain via a DIY with a "snake" my relative got a little to aggressive and cracked the trap. causing a leak. The take away - you won't damage the "drum trap" if there is one with a plastic declogging tool. If you up your game to a metal snake - be aware you have moved into a more risky clog removal zone.

My tub has a bright shiny new drain/trap that's up to current housing codes (the drum trap was replaced) and it still sometimes runs slowly. I use a plastic thing a bob to pull out any hair in the drain (and there always is...) and that resolves the slow drain. I have also found that during the winter when I use conditioner on my hair and/or moisturizing body washes the drain clogs up a lot quicker. It's like the residue from the products coats the drain.

Some other possible maintenance things:

Part of me wonders if using a little Dawn Dish soap in the bath tub (WARNING may make the tub extremely/dangerously slippery!!!!) and flushing with a lot of warm/hot water would help if body product build up/residue is contributing to the problem. That won't solve the hair in the drain issue.

Baking soda and water down the drain will help loosen any gunk (it's a water softener) Let it sit/coat the drain for a few hours and then lots of flushing with hot water may help with residue in the drain. Not sure that vinegar is necessary.

The best solution is to limit the amount of hair that goes down the drain. And maybe running some hot water down the drain after showering/bathing to help flush any "body product" residue down the drain.
Purdue
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by Purdue »

turtlebug wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 11:53 am I have something that looks like this that I use occasionally to remove hair and it prevents slow drain in the shower and the bathroom sinks:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/BrassCraf ... /305468409
Coming from a house with 5 girls/women with long hair, this is what we use (about every 6 months or so).
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SVariance1
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by SVariance1 »

Update:
I had been running hot water down the drain off an on for about 1 hour. ( I have done this previously with limited success). There was no standing water while I was not in the shower. I decided to take to take a shower with whatever hot water was left. It was basically a warm shower with a moderate level of water pressure. I initially only used a bar thinking less soap, the better for the shower. I noticed that the water was draining. Then, I took a chance and used the body wash and the water still drained. I am not sure if the problem is fixed or may be using less water pressure helped. I am going to try it again tomorrow.
Mike
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kevinf
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by kevinf »

I'm not sure why there are so many advocating against chemical drain cleaners here. They are the only way to actually remove biofilm (sludge) from pipe walls so that you get proper flow rate back. The biofilm also catches hair and other solids and can cause a clog where a clean drain would have passed it. The frequency of use depends on the particulars of what and how much is going down your drain. Some people might only use a mainline cleaner annually, others might need to use it monthly.

Imagine, if you will, that instead of using soap and scrubbing your dishes, you only rinsed them with hot water. Wouldn't they start to get a little nasty after awhile? :o
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Beensabu
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by Beensabu »

kevinf wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 3:50 pm I'm not sure why there are so many advocating against chemical drain cleaners here. They are the only way to actually remove biofilm (sludge) from pipe walls so that you get proper flow rate back. The biofilm also catches hair and other solids and can cause a clog where a clean drain would have passed it. The frequency of use depends on the particulars of what and how much is going down your drain. Some people might only use a mainline cleaner annually, others might need to use it monthly.

Imagine, if you will, that instead of using soap and scrubbing your dishes, you only rinsed them with hot water. Wouldn't they start to get a little nasty after awhile? :o
They're terrified of destroying their plumbing systems. Or having their tenants destroy their plumbing systems.

If the plumber has already been by, there's no hair to pull out, and it's not draining properly still, just use the darn stuff and flush it out after 15 minutes. I just finally did after a couple months of pouring vinegar down my shower drain to no avail. The bottle says it's not going to kill your pipes with a list of which kinds of pipes you can use it with (website says don't use it on rubber pipes lol) and don't use it in the toilet.

You're not going to destroy your plumbing system using a chemical "clog destroyer" on a drain once every few years or so.
"The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next." ~Ursula LeGuin
random_walker_77
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by random_walker_77 »

Beensabu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:16 pm
kevinf wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 3:50 pm I'm not sure why there are so many advocating against chemical drain cleaners here. They are the only way to actually remove biofilm (sludge) from
They're terrified of destroying their plumbing systems. Or having their tenants destroy their plumbing systems.
The other problem is that if the chemicals fail to clear the clog, then the job of mechanically removing the clog becomes a lot more messy and dangerous, now that you have caustic chemicals in the water.

Once it's draining, a little vinegar, or diluted bleach down the drain will take care of any biofilm.
Scooter17
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by Scooter17 »

Don’t use chemicals. If you snaked the pipes and all is clear you may have a plugged vent. Do you have a lot of trees around your home?
sleepy06
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by sleepy06 »

ItzaHoot wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 2:30 pm Like so many people have suggested, take the cover off the drain and look down it with a flashlight. I've saved myself a lot of money through the years by reaching in with a long hemostat/locking pliers and repeatedly pulling out hair clogs. you can also use a piece of lightweight wire with a hook bent on the end of it.

If you're really curious, Amazon has a variety of cameras ranging in price from about $20 and up. They are typically on a 10-15 foot long flexible shaft with the camera an lighting built into one end and the other end connects to an android or Iphone or may have it's own video screen and controls on the other end. Most have an IP67 rating so should be good in wet environments. the "6" refers to generally dust proof and the "7" means it should be safe to use in water up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes. IP68 is even better since it is essentially waterproof beyond 1 meter and up to a depth that MUST be specified by the equipment manufacturer.

Just type in "endoscope" or "boroscope" as your search term.
+1

You need a diagnosis to decide a treatment. I would put my money on a hair/soap ball which is what usually happens in ours. If no luck in identifying problem, would call a plumber specializing in drain cleaning. Some of the ones around here are more jack of all trades and some of them are more focused on drain cleaning.
Big Heart
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by Big Heart »

Beensabu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:16 pm They're terrified of destroying their plumbing systems. Or having their tenants destroy their plumbing systems.

If the plumber has already been by, there's no hair to pull out, and it's not draining properly still, just use the darn stuff and flush it out after 15 minutes. I just finally did after a couple months of pouring vinegar down my shower drain to no avail. The bottle says it's not going to kill your pipes with a list of which kinds of pipes you can use it with (website says don't use it on rubber pipes lol) and don't use it in the toilet.

You're not going to destroy your plumbing system using a chemical "clog destroyer" on a drain once every few years or so.
Depends on your time horizon & the age of the pipes. My own house is about 80 years old, most sections of the pipe are still cast iron. The plumber scoped recently. He told me my pipes are okay now , but to avoid costly repairs, do not even think about chemical drain cleaners. He was emphatic about it. They just eat through, and if pipes are already corroded . .

What I do to clean pipes is this. After clearing out hair, dump in as much baking soda as you can - pack it in. Then about 2 pints of vinegar. Let it all sit and foam. Then pour a big pot of boiling or almost boiling water down the drain. This protocol did get the approval of the plumber.

I do that every 6 weeks or so in my bathroom and kitchen drains. It keeps things smelling fresh too. Bonus if there's a little one in the house, this is my son's favorite chore :)
bog007
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by bog007 »

If I had a dollar for every time I heard something was on sale I'd be rich.
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kevinf
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by kevinf »

random_walker_77 wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:54 pm
Beensabu wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:16 pm
kevinf wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 3:50 pm I'm not sure why there are so many advocating against chemical drain cleaners here. They are the only way to actually remove biofilm (sludge) from
They're terrified of destroying their plumbing systems. Or having their tenants destroy their plumbing systems.
The other problem is that if the chemicals fail to clear the clog, then the job of mechanically removing the clog becomes a lot more messy and dangerous, now that you have caustic chemicals in the water.

Once it's draining, a little vinegar, or diluted bleach down the drain will take care of any biofilm.
You use the mainline cleaner as preventative maintenance or when you notice a slowdown. You mechanically remove a clog then follow it up with some mainline cleaner if you haven't done so in awhile.

Bleach will break down biofilm, vinegar will not. Regarding cast iron (pipes), a PH of 8.5-11 will REDUCE corrosion which is the purpose of (cast iron) boiler water treatment... to get that PH up and reduce internal corrosion. Sodium Hydroxide (aka mainline cleaner) is used in cast iron boilers for this purpose, among other chemicals such as trisodium phosphate. Vinegar and other acids are actually damaging to cast iron pipes, unlike lye (sodium hydroxide).
The system winds up with carbonic acid in the returns and that’s bad news because carbonic acid removes the thin film of rust that naturally forms on the insides of steel pipes. That mild rusting is a good thing to have because it helps protect the underlying metal from further corrosion. By stripping away the surface rust, the acid makes more fresh metal available for munching. Before long, you have leaks.

And even if you fix the leaks in the system, you still have to keep an eye on the pH of the water because many people add chemicals to their boilers to avoid corrosion. These chemicals shove the pH toward the alkaline side of the scale. When the pH reaches 10, corrosion becomes impossible. That’s what makes chemical drain cleaners safe for pipes. That nasty stuff has a very high pH (think lye).

And no, the Dead Men did not use baking soda or vinegar to clean the water or the inside of the steam system. Hey, would you use either to wash your hands? Vinegar and baking soda don’t clean; they just change the pH.
SnowBog
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by SnowBog »

nalor511 wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 1:03 am Get a hair catcher. https://www.amazon.com/Drain-Catcher-St ... B07H1WQTGD , I empty ours every 48 hours, from a surprising amount of hair. Much easier than letting it get into the drain.
We used to have something similar, and required frequent cleaning as well (which other family members weren't as diligent).

Ended up switching to ShowerShroom SHSULT755 Ultra Revolutionary Shower Hair Catcher Drain Protector, Stainless https://a.co/d/fFd6Wq4. Love it! Water flows better, far less frequent need for cleaning.

Won't help OP with an existing slow drain... But if hair is contributing, great option to help avoid the problem in the future.
OpenMinded1
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by OpenMinded1 »

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OpenMinded1
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by OpenMinded1 »

SnowBog wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:42 am
nalor511 wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 1:03 am Get a hair catcher. https://www.amazon.com/Drain-Catcher-St ... B07H1WQTGD , I empty ours every 48 hours, from a surprising amount of hair. Much easier than letting it get into the drain.
We used to have something similar, and required frequent cleaning as well (which other family members weren't as diligent).

Ended up switching to ShowerShroom SHSULT755 Ultra Revolutionary Shower Hair Catcher Drain Protector, Stainless https://a.co/d/fFd6Wq4. Love it! Water flows better, far less frequent need for cleaning.

Won't help OP with an existing slow drain... But if hair is contributing, great option to help avoid the problem in the future.
Thanks for the effort, but unfortunately, some tub/shower combos - mine included - have a stopper that sticks up about an inch, so this won't work. If someone is aware of a dome-shaped hair catcher with holes about the size of the hair catcher mentioned above, please let me know about it.
SnowBog
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by SnowBog »

OpenMinded1 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 6:17 am
SnowBog wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:42 am
nalor511 wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 1:03 am Get a hair catcher. https://www.amazon.com/Drain-Catcher-St ... B07H1WQTGD , I empty ours every 48 hours, from a surprising amount of hair. Much easier than letting it get into the drain.
We used to have something similar, and required frequent cleaning as well (which other family members weren't as diligent).

Ended up switching to ShowerShroom SHSULT755 Ultra Revolutionary Shower Hair Catcher Drain Protector, Stainless https://a.co/d/fFd6Wq4. Love it! Water flows better, far less frequent need for cleaning.

Won't help OP with an existing slow drain... But if hair is contributing, great option to help avoid the problem in the future.
Thanks for the effort, but unfortunately, some tub/shower combos - mine included - have a stopper that sticks up about an inch, so this won't work. If someone is aware of a dome-shaped hair catcher with holes about the size of the hair catcher mentioned above, please let me know about it.
I'm not familiar with it, but I think this is their version for tubs. TubShroom Ultra Revolutionary Bath Tub Drain Protector Hair Catcher/Strainer/Snare, Stainless Steel, Stainless Combo https://a.co/d/jh7ch7R

I'm assuming it's intended to replace what you have today. At least that's what we did with the one in our shower, took the old one out and used this in its place.

Again, won't help with an already slow drain. But if hair is part of the problem, should help avoid problems in the future.
OpenMinded1
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by OpenMinded1 »

SnowBog wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:11 am
OpenMinded1 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 6:17 am
SnowBog wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:42 am
nalor511 wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 1:03 am Get a hair catcher. https://www.amazon.com/Drain-Catcher-St ... B07H1WQTGD , I empty ours every 48 hours, from a surprising amount of hair. Much easier than letting it get into the drain.
We used to have something similar, and required frequent cleaning as well (which other family members weren't as diligent).

Ended up switching to ShowerShroom SHSULT755 Ultra Revolutionary Shower Hair Catcher Drain Protector, Stainless https://a.co/d/fFd6Wq4. Love it! Water flows better, far less frequent need for cleaning.

Won't help OP with an existing slow drain... But if hair is contributing, great option to help avoid the problem in the future.
Thanks for the effort, but unfortunately, some tub/shower combos - mine included - have a stopper that sticks up about an inch, so this won't work. If someone is aware of a dome-shaped hair catcher with holes about the size of the hair catcher mentioned above, please let me know about it.
I'm not familiar with it, but I think this is their version for tubs. TubShroom Ultra Revolutionary Bath Tub Drain Protector Hair Catcher/Strainer/Snare, Stainless Steel, Stainless Combo https://a.co/d/jh7ch7R

I'm assuming it's intended to replace what you have today. At least that's what we did with the one in our shower, took the old one out and used this in its place.

Again, won't help with an already slow drain. But if hair is part of the problem, should help avoid problems in the future.
Thanks! I think I'll probably give that a try.
howard71
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by howard71 »

adamthesmythe wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 11:39 am The most likely cause of a slow shower drain is hair.

There are various mechanical tools for removing hair buildup, including a bend coathanger.
My wife is shedding hair worse than a cat the older she gets. Used to clog up the shower drain until I bought a silocone trap that inserts into the drain and catches all the hair. You can buy it at Lowes, etc for a few bucks. Works like a charm.
Chadnudj
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by Chadnudj »

SVariance1 wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 11:35 am Would anyone have suggestions on how to fix a slow shower drain. A plumber fixed the issue a couple of months ago but the problem is here again. I tried running very hot water down the drain for 20 minutes and that seems like a temporary fix. There is no build up of water while this is happening. Then, I took a shower and it happened again. I am thinking my next try at fixing it is to change shampoos/soap. I have been using a a liquid soap and have probably been using too much of it. I may try a bar. I am not sure what to do besides getting the plumber back to fix it.

Any advice?

Thank you.
I've had luck using a regular, old fashioned plunger. Let water gather, use the plunger extensively, and hopefully eliminate/loosen whatever clog is slowing the draining.
daehelgob48
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by daehelgob48 »

Seems like all usual causes have been covered. So I will describe slow drains, toilet slow to empty after flush problem I had a few years ago. My problem was roots growing into sewer line. It was always worse in spring and summer growing season. My house was built in mid 60s when a paper/tar based pipe called Orangeburg (that's name of the location of the manufacturer in N.Y.) was being used. The pipe would cave in disintegrate, allow roots to grow into in. Anytime I was washing clothes and running inside faucets at same time the sewer line could not handle the flow resulting in a back up. After having the sewer line replaced with pvc pipe the problem was gone. If you live in a newer home or apartment you can ignore this post
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neurosphere
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by neurosphere »

Big Heart wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:43 pm Depends on your time horizon & the age of the pipes. My own house is about 80 years old, most sections of the pipe are still cast iron. The plumber scoped recently. He told me my pipes are okay now , but to avoid costly repairs, do not even think about chemical drain cleaners. He was emphatic about it. They just eat through, and if pipes are already corroded . .
But typical caustic decloggers like Draino don't react with metal, iron or otherwise under normal conditions, right? (in contrast to acidic ones, but do those still exist?).

Google tells me these are the main ingredients in products like draino: Sodium silicate, sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite, polydimethylsiloxane. None of them react with metal, that I can find, except at temperatures which far exceed what the heat Draino can produce. Anyway, that's my understanding but I'm not a chemist. :) And I suppose there may be metal pipes which have joints held with certain compounds which can react. But personally, I've researched draino-like products as much as is practical for a lay person and personally have no reservations using it whenever I think I have a slow drain due to common bath materials (hair, etc).
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kevinf
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by kevinf »

neurosphere wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:35 pm
Big Heart wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:43 pm Depends on your time horizon & the age of the pipes. My own house is about 80 years old, most sections of the pipe are still cast iron. The plumber scoped recently. He told me my pipes are okay now , but to avoid costly repairs, do not even think about chemical drain cleaners. He was emphatic about it. They just eat through, and if pipes are already corroded . .
But typical caustic decloggers like Draino don't react with metal, iron or otherwise under normal conditions, right? (in contrast to acidic ones, but do those still exist?).

Google tells me these are the main ingredients in products like draino: Sodium silicate, sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite, polydimethylsiloxane. None of them react with metal, that I can find, except at temperatures which far exceed what the heat Draino can produce. Anyway, that's my understanding but I'm not a chemist. :) And I suppose there may be metal pipes which have joints held with certain compounds which can react. But personally, I've researched draino-like products as much as is practical for a lay person and personally have no reservations using it whenever I think I have a slow drain due to common bath materials (hair, etc).
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whodidntante
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by whodidntante »

Buy some pure lye, and follow the directions. Wear gloves, don't breathe it, and don't use it to color your hair. Highly effective on clogs from meatbags of different forms.
wander
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Re: Problem with Slow Drain in Shower? Any Advice

Post by wander »

Is this public sewer or septic?
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