The Easy Zip Tie Hack That Will Help Clean Your Shower Drain

Scrubbing your shower clean is a less-than-enjoyable task, especially when dealing with weeks' or months' worth of dirt and muck build-up. However, the ultimate topper and least pleasant experience is clearing out the drain. Not only do these crevices tend to collect lots of gross grime over time, but they also accumulate lots of hair, which is not only difficult to remove, but also dangerous if you forgo this important chore.

According to Michigan Plumbing, an unaddressed clogged drain poses a series of risks to the shower, your plumbing, and even your health. Moreover, such a backup can lead to your home flooding near other areas, like sinks or toilets, and damage your floors. Any standing water in your shower tends to also attract bugs, ranging from fruit flies to cockroaches. Unclogging your shower drain is unpleasant, but it doesn't need to be. In fact, a zip tie provides an easy, slightly less hands-on option for cleaning it out.

Making a DIY plumbing snake

Most professionals suggest using a plumbing snake to clear out everything. According to Cates Heating & Cooling, this metal hose with an attached spring is thin enough to slide deep into the drain, where the spring then breaks up and collects all the blocked gunk and hair. However, incorrectly using it can be dangerous, as the metal has the potential to damage your plumbing, and if it's severe enough, it could burst through and cause a leak.

This can be avoided by using a softer material, like plastic, which won't damage your pipes. More specifically, we're talking about zip ties. For this hack, you'll need either one long zip tie or multiple shorter ones, as well as either a wire cutter or strong pair of scissors, per Instructables. If you have smaller ties, loop them together to create a chain, leaving the end piece long and untied.

Unclogging your shower drain

Then, using scissors or a cutter, snip diagonal slots into the sides of the zip ties, making sure not to go all the way through (via Instructables). These little notches will act like the spring on a traditional plumbing snake, snagging up dirt, grime, and hair as you carefully feed the zip ties down the sink until they reach the drain trap. From there, move the zip ties in an upward and downward as well as circular motion to get out as much gunk as possible.

Now, this hack isn't as dependable as a traditional plumbing snake, so you may want to do some follow-up work to ensure your drain is as cleared out as possible. For example, Home Depot says slowly pouring boiling water down your drain can help break up any remaining debris, but only in metal pipes. A mixture of equal parts baking soda and vinegar can also help break down not only the muck, but also the lingering odors.