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How does a shower drain work?

Wondering what happens with the water once it drains down your shower? We answer where your shower water goes right here.

You may think of your shower drain as just a drain opening that water escapes through. But your shower system has many components that work together to ensure the effective travel of water to your sewer drain through your pipes.

Shower Drains Work

The shower drains are carefully designed to ensure that sewer gases do not back up into the washroom, emitting unpleasant odours.

It also ensures that water does not build up and flood when you shower.

Parts of a Shower Drain

Below are the different components of your shower area and drainage system. The Drain trap, vent, drainage seal and shower base. They all work together to make sure your water travels effectively to the tight sewer drain.

Shower Drain Photograph

Drain Trap

The drain trap is located on the shower floor and is a pipe that connects to the drain line and the waste stack.

Sink traps under your kitchen cabinet are usually P shaped, but shower traps can be S-shaped. The bottom of the trap has an area that holds some water.

This eliminates sewer gasses from seeping up and creating an unpleasant odour in your bathroom. This is usually bent into an s or p shape and ’traps’ some water to stop gasses from entering inside your property.


The drain waste vent is important for removing sewerage from your home. They assist by regulating the air pressure inside the shower drain pipes.

These vent pipes start from the waste point and extend to the outside of the building. When you use the water in your shower, the water travels down from the drain opening and creates a vacuum, and the flow of water can be reduced.

Venting is important as it allows the air to flow freely into the drain at a constant pressure. You can locate the main vent above your roof.

Drainage Seal and Shower Base

The first component of a shower drain that you see is the cover. Typically it looks like a filter and can be removed. Beneath this filter is the drain that leads to the floor trap.

Usually, the shower base should be designed on a slope to ensure the water flow enters the drain opening. The leftover water can damage the floor and become a dangerous hazard due to soap and shampoo.

It may cause you to slip. So, sealing the filter is crucial to eliminate any leaking water from under the base.

Need a Plumbing Service?

If you encounter clogs in your shower drains, you can do these simple DIY techniques to remove the blockages.

For visible blockages like a clump of hair, you can easily access these and remove them by hand. Don’t forget to put on your rubber gloves and extract the clog from the shower drain’s surface.

You can also utilise a drain snake or a plumber’s snake. This flexible tool is retractable with a metal wire you can sned down your drain to pull out or break the buildup clogging the passageway.

Another simple solution is to mix your natural drain cleaner. If you pour boiling water down your drain, this can help dissolve and soften the blockage like soap scums around the edges. Or you can concoct a mixture of vinegar and baking soda with your hot water to pour down your blocked shower drain.

The best thing to do though is to call your trusted plumber. They have the latest tools to unblock your drainage out of the stubborn blockages like CCTV drain cameras to reach even the most challenging blocks and high-pressure jet blasters. They can also perform leak detection to check for cracks in your pipes.

Before you encounter a blocked shower drain, ensure you’ve prevented this from happening in the first place. Use a drain cover, even the basic ones made of rubber or plastic, to capture stray hair strands after your shower.

And always remember to have regular drain maintenance. It’s part and parcel of running a good household. This can’t only save you from the hassle of encountering emergency plumbing problems, but it will also double the lifespan of your plumbing system like your shower drains.

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