How Does a Shower Drain Work?

There might have been a time when your bathroom is nonfunctional due to improper drains. At that time, you would have wondered how these shower drains operate and manage to channel used water so efficiently. 

The shower drain consists of three vital parts: The drain trap, venting, and drainage seal. They work to keep the sewer gasses out of the shower. For this, a vent is created in the drainage. This feature allows the water to drain properly without slowing down. 

Let us explore different components of the shower drain in detail and solve your related queries for an overall good experience in the future. 

The Mechanism Behind a Shower Drain

A shower drain is an important part of your bathroom that helps in channelizing used water through sewer pipes. These drains use components like shower drain trap, venting, drainage seal, and shower base to function properly. 

Shower drains are not complicated, but they’re more than the holes that you see at the surface of your shower base. These drains help to keep the water flowing and keep the bathroom clean. 

In general, a shower drain is a plumbing device that connects the bathroom to a drainage pipe that is connected to the sewerage network. Every shower drain includes a drain trap or grid, a strainer, vent, and trap. 

Shower Drain Trap

This is the part you can see on the shower floor. This drainage trap is usually S-shaped which helps eliminate sewer gasses from sweeping up and creating a bad odor in your house.

Drain Vent

This is another essential part of the drain. It helps in regulating air pressure within the sewer pipes. At times, due to excessive water flow, a vacuum is created with the drainage pipe. As a result, the water slows down and takes a lot of time to drain. But with a vent, this problem can be solved. This vent is usually located at the top of your roof.

Drainage Seal and Shower Base

The bathrooms are designed in a way that allows the water to directly flow to the drain. It is necessary to construct the shower floor on a downward slope. After designing the floor, the drain is sealed, so no water seeps inside the shower base.

Why Is the Shower Drain an Essential Part of Your Bathroom? 

Shower drains are an essential part of your bathroom as they help in the quick channelizing of water, keep the bathroom odorless, provide an efficient plumbing system, and give a visual appearance to the bathroom. 

Imagine a bathroom where there is no shower drain and only a conventional sewer pipe is available. Having no connecting tool makes your shower unappealing and filthy. Thus we conclude that the shower drains are an essential part of our showers.

  • It helps in draining the water and preventing bathroom-related injuries like slipping, stumbling, and falling.
  • Seals the harmful and odor gasses that try to seep up from the sewerage. 
  • Installing a drain can prevent the pipes from clogging now and then. 

Can a Shower Drain Stop Working? 

Yes, it is a common problem faced by people around the world. The drain stops once it is clogged by hair, residue, and debris. However, It is a solvable problem that you don’t need to worry about. 

At times, while showering, you shed skin and hair, which clog the drain trap and stop the water from flowing down the pipes. This is a normal cause of blockage that can be removed easily. 

But there are situations when you accidentally drop something in the pipe, and you need professional assistance to remove the barrier. Or else the drainage network will get disrupted. 

What Causes the Shower Drain to Stop Functioning Properly? 

Clogged drain pipes are a major reason why the shower drain doesn’t work properly and restricts the flow of water. A drain can get clogged from hair, use of hard water, soap and grease buildup, and trash. 

Hair and Dead Skin Cells

Human beings naturally shed a lot of skin cells without realizing it. They also lose hundreds of strands of hair while bathing. Hair and dead skin cells bind together and rest at the drain trap. As a result, water flow is restricted, and the pipe is blocked.

Hard Water

Using hard water can be a problem too. It contains heavy deposits of magnesium and calcium that damage the drain. The solid particles clog the trap and block it.

Soap and Grease Buildup

The buildup generated from your shampoos and body washes contributes to clogging your shower drain. With time, the buildup grows and makes it difficult for water to flow. 

Trash and Debris

Sometimes, you accidentally drop your used bottle caps, toilet paper, razors, and other small items in the drain pipe. Due to the absence of a grid, the items block the opening of the sewer pipes. As a result, the pipe gets clogged.

What Are Some Ways to Unblock Your Clogged Shower Drain? 

People have suggested a few ways that are effective to clear a clogged shower. For instance, using a plunger, draining hot water, using a solution of vinegar and baking soda, cleaning the clogged residue, etc., are some options.

  1. Pouring hot water is an easy remedy to break down soap and grease in the pipes. All you need to do is boil the water and use a funnel to pour it down the drain. 
  2. Using a plunger can also help open the blockage. Use petroleum jelly to seal the edges of the plunger on the drain pipe, and plunge vigorously.
  3. You can even make a vinegar and baking soda solution. Both of these substances are natural alternatives to the chemical, which will not deteriorate the surroundings and help solve your problem. First, add baking soda to the drain, and then pour the vinegar. With time add hot water to clear the pipe.
  4. Wear rubber gloves and remove the drain cover. Then remove the hair and other residues by hand. This is an effective way that doesn’t require any material cost.
  5. If the clog is severe and you require assistance, call a professional plumber. It is better to ask for help instead of spoiling your infrastructure. 

Why Does Your Shower Drain Smell Whenever You Shower?

If your drain smells, an active mold may grow in the pipe. Another reason can be that your drain is not functioning properly and emitting sewerage gasses in the bathroom.  

If you are also facing this problem, take a look at the following reasons to find a possible solution:

  1. The nasty smell might be because of a bacteria buildup in the drain pipe. 
  2. Check for a dry drain trap. When you do not use your drain for a long time, the water evaporates, and the gasses from the sewer pipes waft up in the bathroom.
  3. Another reason can be a lack of vent pipes. They bring fresh air and eliminate gasses from the system. You can ask a plumber to check for venting.
  4. Grease and soap residue cause a mold smell which also clogs the pipe. You can use vinegar and baking soda to eliminate this smell.


The shower drainage system is a complex system consisting of different components that combine to form a fully functioning drainage system. The article mentions all the tools used in this system and addresses the problems faced by users.

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