Unclog Your RV Shower Drain with These Simple Tips

RV showers can be a great convenience while traveling, but a clogged drain can quickly turn a relaxing experience into a frustrating one. Whether you’re on a short weekend trip or a long-term adventure, it’s important to know how to unclog your RV shower drain.

Understanding the RV Plumbing System

Maintaining your RV’s plumbing system is an essential part of RV maintenance. The plumbing system in an RV is different from a typical home’s plumbing system. It is essential to understand the RV plumbing system to keep your RV’s plumbing running smoothly.

Components of an RV Plumbing System

The RV plumbing system consists of a few essential components, such as the water supply, drain line, gray water tank, black water tank, and plumbing vents.

  • Water Supply: The water supply is where you get fresh water to use in your RV. It can come from an external water source or your RV’s freshwater tank.
  • Drain Line: The drain line is where the used water goes after you use it. It is essential to keep the drain line clean to prevent clogs.
  • Gray Water Tank: The gray water tank holds the used water from sinks, showers, and other appliances in your RV. It is essential to empty it regularly to prevent it from overflowing.
  • Black Water Tank: The black water tank holds the waste from the toilet. It is crucial to empty it regularly to prevent it from overflowing.
  • Plumbing Vents: Plumbing vents allow air to enter the plumbing system, preventing water from backing up.

How the RV Plumbing System Works

The RV plumbing system is relatively simple. Water flows from the water supply to the appliances that need it. After the water is used, it flows into the drain line and into the gray water tank or black water tank. The plumbing vents allow air to enter the plumbing system, preventing water from backing up.

Maintaining the RV Plumbing System

Maintaining the RV plumbing system is essential to prevent clogs and other issues. It is essential to keep the drain line clean and empty the gray water and black water tanks regularly. If you notice any issues with the plumbing system, such as slow drains or overflowing tanks, it is essential to address them immediately.

In summary, understanding the RV plumbing system is crucial for maintaining your RV’s plumbing and preventing issues. Regular maintenance and attention to the plumbing system can help prevent clogs and other issues that can be costly to repair.

Common Causes of Clogged RV Shower Drains

Clogged RV shower drains can be a frustrating and messy problem to deal with. There are several common causes of clogs that RV owners should be aware of to prevent future issues.

Hair and Soap Scum Buildup

One of the most common causes of clogged RV shower drains is a buildup of hair and soap scum. When you shower in your RV, hair and soap scum can accumulate in the drain and trap other debris, leading to a clog. To prevent this, consider using a hair catcher or drain cover to catch hair before it goes down the drain.

Debris and Dirt

Debris and dirt can also cause clogs in RV shower drains. Dirt and sand can accumulate in the drain, especially if you’ve been camping in a sandy area. Additionally, food residue and grease from cooking can also contribute to clogs. To prevent this, make sure to clean your shower regularly and avoid washing food down the drain.

Clogged P-Trap

The P-trap is a U-shaped pipe located below the shower drain that is designed to trap debris and prevent odors from entering your RV. However, if the P-trap becomes clogged, it can cause a backup in your shower drain. To prevent this, make sure to clean the P-trap regularly and avoid pouring grease or other substances down the drain.

Other Common Causes

Other common causes of clogged RV shower drains include a full gray water tank, a closed drain line valve, and blocked plumbing vents. Additionally, your shower may drain into the black water tank, which can cause issues if it becomes full. To prevent these issues, make sure to regularly empty your gray and black water tanks and keep your plumbing vents clear.

By understanding the common causes of clogged RV shower drains, you can take steps to prevent future issues and keep your shower drain running smoothly.

Tools and Materials Needed to Unclog RV Shower Drains

If you find yourself dealing with a clogged RV shower drain, don’t worry. With the right tools and materials, you can easily unclog your drain and get back to enjoying your trip. Here are some of the essential items you’ll need to get the job done:


A plunger is a tool that can help you dislodge a clog in your RV shower drain. It works by creating suction and pressure to push the blockage through the pipes. Be sure to use a separate plunger for each purpose.

Drain Snake / Plumber’s Snake

A drain snake, also known as a plumber’s snake, is a long, flexible tool that can help you reach and remove clogs that are deeper in your pipes. It’s especially useful for removing hair and other debris that has accumulated over time.

Green Gobbler

Green Gobbler is a natural, eco-friendly drain cleaner that can help dissolve tough clogs in your RV shower drain. It’s safe to use on all types of pipes and won’t damage your plumbing.

Hair Catcher

A hair catcher is a small device that fits over your drain and catches hair and other debris before it can go down the drain. It’s an excellent preventative measure to keep your RV shower drain from clogging in the first place.

Dish Soap / Laundry Detergent

Dish soap or laundry detergent can help break down grease and other substances that can cause clogs in your RV shower drain. Simply pour a small amount down the drain and let it sit for a few minutes before flushing with hot water.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners can be effective in removing clogs, but they can also be harmful to your plumbing and the environment. Use them sparingly and follow all safety precautions when using them.

With these tools and materials on hand, you’ll be able to tackle any clog in your RV shower drain. Remember to always follow safety precautions and use these items as directed to avoid causing further damage to your plumbing.

Step-by-Step Guide to Unclogging Your RV Shower Drain

Dealing with a clogged RV shower drain can be frustrating and inconvenient. Luckily, there are several simple steps you can follow to unclog your drain and get back to enjoying your RV shower. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you fix the problem:

  1. Identify the Cause of the Clog: Before you start unclogging your shower drain, it’s important to identify the cause of the clog. Is it due to hair and soap scum buildup, or is there a larger issue like a blocked P-trap or valve? Understanding the cause of the clog will help you determine the best solution.
  2. Try Hot Water: One of the simplest solutions for unclogging an RV shower drain is to pour hot water down the drain. Boil a pot of water and carefully pour it down the drain. Let it sit for a few minutes and then run hot water from the tap. Repeat as necessary until the clog is cleared.
  3. Use Vinegar and Baking Soda: Another effective solution is to use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes and then flush the drain with hot water.
  4. Boiling Water and Ice: If the clog is particularly stubborn, you can try a combination of boiling water and ice. Fill a plastic bag with ice and place it over the drain. Pour boiling water over the ice and let it sit for a few minutes. The combination of hot and cold can help break up the clog.
  5. Check the P-trap: If the clog is not in the drain itself, it may be in the P-trap. Remove the P-trap and clean it out. Reassemble the trap and run hot water to ensure the clog is cleared.
  6. Check the Flush Valves: If you’re still having trouble unclogging your RV shower drain, it’s possible that the flush valves are the problem. Check the valves and clean them out if necessary.
  7. Call a Professional: If you’ve tried all of these solutions and still can’t unclog your RV shower drain, it may be time to call in a professional. They can help diagnose the problem and provide a more comprehensive solution.

By following these simple steps, you can easily unclog your RV shower drain and get back to enjoying your shower. Remember to always take preventative measures to avoid future clogs, such as using a drain cover to catch hair and soap scum.

Safety Precautions When Unclogging RV Shower Drains

Unclogging an RV shower drain can be a dirty and unpleasant task, but it is a necessary one to ensure proper sanitation and hygiene in your RV. However, it is important to take some safety precautions before attempting to unclog the drain.

First and foremost, always wear gloves and protective eyewear when handling any plumbing-related tasks. This will protect your hands and eyes from any harmful chemicals or debris that may be present in the drain.

It is also important to ensure that the plumbing vents are not blocked, as this can cause sewer gas to build up and potentially harm your health. To check if the vents are blocked, look for any debris or buildup around the vent opening on the roof of your RV. If you notice any blockages, clear them out using a plumbing snake or by flushing water through the vent.

When using any chemicals to unclog the drain, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and avoid using any caustic chemicals such as Drano or bleach, as they can damage your pipes and seals. Instead, try using natural alternatives such as baking soda and vinegar or a drain snake to clear the clog.

Lastly, be careful not to damage the pipes or plumbing fixtures when attempting to unclog the drain. Avoid using excessive force or sharp objects that could scratch or break the pipes.

By taking these safety precautions, you can effectively unclog your RV shower drain without causing any damage or harm to yourself or your RV’s plumbing system.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Clogged RV Shower Drains

Taking preventive measures can help you avoid clogged RV shower drains. Here are some tips to keep your RV shower drain flowing smoothly:

  • Install a drain strainer: A drain strainer can help prevent hair and other debris from going down the drain and clogging it. Make sure to clean the strainer regularly.
  • Limit shower time: Long showers can lead to a buildup of soap scum and hair in the drain. Try to limit your shower time to reduce the amount of debris going down the drain.
  • Use a low-flow showerhead: A low-flow showerhead can help reduce the amount of water going down the drain, which can help prevent clogs.
  • Use a drain cleaner: Regularly using a drain cleaner can help keep your RV shower drain clean and prevent clogs. Make sure to use a drain cleaner that is safe for RV holding tanks.
  • Fit your RV with the right size drain: Make sure that your RV shower drain is the right size for your RV. A drain that is too small can easily become clogged.

By following these preventive measures, you can help avoid clogged RV shower drains and keep your RV plumbing in good working order.

Frequently Asked Questions

What drain cleaner is safe for RVs?

When it comes to drain cleaners for RVs, it’s important to choose a product that is safe for use in your specific plumbing system. Look for drain cleaners that are labeled as safe for use in RVs, as they will be formulated to work with the materials and components commonly found in RV plumbing systems. Avoid using harsh chemical drain cleaners that can damage your pipes or harm the environment.

How do you unclog an RV shower drain?

There are several methods you can use to unclog an RV shower drain. One easy solution is to pour hot water down the drain to help loosen any blockages. You can also try using a plunger to create suction and dislodge the clog. If these methods don’t work, you may need to remove the drain cover and manually remove the blockage using a plumbing snake or other tool.

Why is my shower not draining in RV?

There are several reasons why your RV shower may not be draining properly. One common cause is a clogged drain, which can be caused by a buildup of soap scum, hair, or other debris. Another possible cause is a malfunctioning plumbing vent, which can prevent proper drainage by creating a vacuum in the system. In some cases, a faulty P-trap or other component may also be to blame.

Can you use Drano in an RV?

While Drano may be effective at unclogging drains in some situations, it is not recommended for use in RVs. Drano and other harsh chemical drain cleaners can damage your RV’s plumbing system, including your pipes and septic tank. Instead, opt for a drain cleaner that is specifically formulated for use in RVs, or try a natural solution like hot water or vinegar.

How to remove RV shower drain cover?

To remove the drain cover from your RV shower, start by locating the screws that hold it in place. These screws are typically located around the perimeter of the cover. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws, and then gently lift the cover off the drain. If the cover is stuck, you may need to use a flathead screwdriver or other tool to pry it loose.

RV shower and sink not draining.

If both your RV shower and sink are not draining properly, it may be a sign of a larger plumbing issue. Start by checking for any clogs or blockages in your drain system, and try using a plunger or drain snake to clear them. If this doesn’t work, you may need to call in a professional plumber to diagnose and repair the problem.