Monday, July 9, 2012

Cleaning your new linear shower drain - a play by play process outlined

A shower drain is something that many of us have never cleaned before.  Some of you might strongly disagree but many more know they have never removed the screws from the shower drain and cleaned the inside of their shower drain before.

The showers we are building these days are different from the ones of old and many are featuring a new linear shower drain.  So how do you clean them?  Good question.

I was working late the other night and on a project in Vancouver and wanted a few more pictures of the shower running for my database of snap shots.  I started up the shower and let it run.  I was shocked and surprised by the build up of water in the shower and investigated the cause.  After the job was finished it worked perfectly and I was convinced it had to be a blockage of sorts causing the slow drain rates.  I was right and it was just a good cleaning that was needed.

What's alarming is that this shower is barrier free. No curb. No water around your ankles to warn you your shower is flooding.  If your vision is older or you can not see well in a shower and this shower was yours you might flood your place before you even realize whats going on.  Cleaning these drains is not hard - it's a little nasty but what would you expect from cleaning your shower drain.

Here is the process explained step by step.

How to clean a linear shower drain

The first thing you need to do is remove the drain cover.  This shower features a 2" tile insert drain and removing it is easy with my linear drain lifting key.  I keep one on my key chain so I don't loose it.

Once removed I like to use paper towels to remove as much hair and soap scum as possible.  Once the bulk of mess is removed I stand the linear drain up in the shower.  I brace the bottom of the drain with my tow and rest the top against the wall.  USe some paper towels or a rag so you don't mark the shower tiles on the wall.

Then all that is needed is a good scrub brush like the one shown.  No chemicals.  No special tools.  Just water and a scrub brush.  If you really must clean it more then use products that are not harmful to stainless steel or your tile installation.

This is a tile insert drain grate from My Shower Grate Shop - this one drain is by far the hardest to keep clean of any linear drain I have installed.  All those metal holes are places where hair can catch and start to build a dam.  In a barrier free installation care needs to be taken to prevent this from blocking the drain.  I much prefer the ACO linear shower drains since they are by far easier to clean and have way fewer obstticles for hair to get caught one.

Once the strainer (tile insert strainer shown) is clean you can get onto the gutter or linear drain base.  I use the same process here with first using some paper towel and then the scrub brush.  Not all scrub brushes are created equal - you will need one like this that is firm enough to do a good job cleaning but not so stiff and course it scratches tile or stainless steel.  The scrub brush shown is a glass cleaning brush and works wonders on the linear drains.

Before the cleaning shown above the water level was rising to almost 2/3" the shower under water while running the shower heads.  This should be a warning sign to the user.  But if your client was never told to watch for it - How could they know there is a problem?

After the cleaning the shower preforms much better and drains faster.  This is because there is more air making it's way into the drain.  You should hear the gurgling sounds of water hitting the PTrap when you start a shower.  If your shower is quite when draining you might have a looming issue on hand.

If you need a lifting key please email me at and I'll send one out to you.  I charge $12.00 CDN (Canada Orders one click) $15.00 US (American Orders) $25.00 (Australia, UK, Spain, Brazil, German, India) including shipping for these keys.  

If your local (Live in Vancouver) we can sell you the lifting key and/or do the cleaning service for you.  Please call at (604) 506 6792.

John Whipple
By Any Deign Ltd.

"When it's perfect. It's good enough." - JW

More of the process here - Click Play