Why Do You Need to Remove Your Shower Strainer?
If you’ve noticed a decrease in water flow during your shower or a pool of stagnant water forming in your tub, it might be time to remove your shower strainer. The shower strainer, also known as a drain cover or grate, is responsible for catching debris and preventing it from clogging your drain. Over time, however, the strainer can become clogged with hair, soap scum, and other gunk, hindering proper drainage and causing water to accumulate.
Removing your shower strainer is necessary to address these issues and restore optimal water flow. It allows you to thoroughly clean and unclog the strainer, as well as the underlying drain hole. By doing so, you can prevent future clogs and maintain a hygienic and functional shower.
Furthermore, removing the shower strainer is often necessary when replacing it with a new one. Whether you want to upgrade to a more aesthetically pleasing strainer or switch to a different model for improved functionality, removing the old strainer is the first step in the replacement process.
Another reason to remove the shower strainer is to address any damage or wear. Over time, the strainer may become cracked, warped, or loose, compromising its functionality. Removing it allows you to assess its condition and determine if repairs or replacements are necessary.
Tools You’ll Need
Before you start removing your shower strainer, it’s important to gather the necessary tools to ensure a smooth and successful process. Here are the tools you’ll need:
1. Screwdriver: Depending on the type of shower strainer, you may need either a flathead or Phillips-head screwdriver to remove any screws holding the strainer in place.
2. Pliers: In some cases, you may encounter stubborn screws that require additional force to remove. Pliers can provide the extra grip and leverage needed to loosen and extract them.
3. Putty knife: A putty knife is useful for scraping and removing any old sealant or caulk around the perimeter of the shower strainer. This ensures a clean surface for the new sealant to adhere to.
4. Adjustable wrench: If your shower strainer is secured with a clip instead of screws, an adjustable wrench will come in handy to loosen and remove the clip.
5. Plumbers’ tape: Also known as Teflon tape, plumbers’ tape is a thin white tape used to create a watertight seal between the shower strainer and the drain pipe. It helps prevent leaks and provides a secure fit.
6. Old toothbrush or scrub brush: To thoroughly clean the drain hole and remove any debris or gunk, an old toothbrush or scrub brush can be handy. It allows you to reach into the tight corners and crevices.
7. Bucket or container: Having a bucket or container nearby is essential to catch any water or debris that may be released during the removal process. This keeps your work area clean and minimizes any potential mess.
With these tools at your disposal, you’ll be well-equipped to successfully remove your shower strainer and address any issues that may be affecting your shower’s drainage.
Step 1: Prepare the Area
Before you begin removing your shower strainer, it’s important to properly prepare the area to ensure a smooth and efficient process. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Clear the surrounding area: Remove any personal items such as shampoo bottles, soap dishes, or loofahs from the shower area. This creates a clear workspace and prevents anything from getting in the way during the removal process.
2. Lay down a protective cover: To prevent any accidental scratches or damage to the bathtub or shower floor, place a towel, old cloth, or a protective mat over the area where you’ll be working. This provides a cushioned surface and catches any debris that may fall during the removal process.
3. Turn off the water supply: If your shower has separate hot and cold water handles, make sure to turn off the water supply by shutting off both handles. This prevents any accidental water flow while you’re removing the shower strainer.
4. Put on gloves: It’s always a good idea to wear protective gloves, such as rubber or latex gloves, when working with plumbing or removing a shower strainer. Gloves offer extra grip and protect your hands from any sharp edges or debris.
5. Remove any visible debris: Take a moment to remove any hair, soap scum, or other visible debris from the surface of the shower strainer. This helps prevent additional debris from falling into the drain hole during the removal process.
By following these preparation steps, you’ll create a safe and organized work environment, ensuring that the removal of your shower strainer goes smoothly. Once you’ve completed these preparations, you’re ready to move on to the next step of removing the screw or clip holding the strainer in place.
Step 2: Remove the Screw or Clip
Once you have prepared the area, the next step in removing your shower strainer is to remove the screw or clip holding it in place. Follow these steps:
1. Locate the screw or clip: Depending on the design of your shower strainer, it will either be secured with a screw or a clip. The screw is typically located at the center of the strainer, while the clip is situated on the sides. Identify which fastening mechanism is used in your shower strainer.
2. Use a screwdriver or wrench: If your shower strainer is secured with a screw, use a screwdriver (flathead or Phillips-head, depending on the screw type) to remove it. Insert the screwdriver into the screw and turn it counterclockwise until it becomes loose. Keep the screw in a safe place as you will need it later for reinstallation.
3. Remove the clip: If your shower strainer is secured with a clip, use an adjustable wrench to loosen the clip and remove it. Position the wrench around the clip and turn it counterclockwise to loosen it. Once loosened, carefully lift the clip out from the sides of the strainer.
4. Set aside the screw or clip: After removing the screw or clip, set it aside in a safe place. You’ll need it for reinstallation once you’ve finished cleaning or replacing the shower strainer.
By successfully removing the screw or clip, you have now cleared the way to proceed with the next step of loosening the shower strainer. This step ensures that the strainer is not fixed in place and can be easily removed for cleaning or replacement purposes.
Step 3: Loosen the Strainer
After removing the screw or clip holding the shower strainer in place, the next step is to loosen the strainer itself. Follow these steps:
1. Apply lubricant (optional): If the shower strainer is tightly stuck or difficult to turn, you can apply a small amount of lubricant, such as WD-40 or a silicone-based lubricant, around the edges of the strainer. This helps to loosen any buildup or corrosion and makes it easier to remove.
2. Grip the edges of the strainer: Place your fingers or a pair of pliers on the edges of the strainer, ensuring a firm grip. If using pliers, cover the jaws with a cloth or use adjustable pliers to prevent scratching the strainer surface.
3. Twist and turn: With a steady grip, twist and turn the strainer counterclockwise. Apply gentle but firm pressure to loosen it from its position in the drain hole. If the strainer is stubborn and doesn’t loosen easily, you can tap it gently with a rubber mallet or a block of wood to help break any remaining seal.
4. Continue twisting until fully loose: Keep twisting the strainer counterclockwise until it is completely loose. Be patient and avoid using excessive force, as this can cause damage to the drain pipe or the strainer itself.
5. Lift out the loosened strainer: Once the strainer is fully loose, gently lift it out of the drain hole. Place it aside in a safe location, as you may need to clean or replace it.
By successfully loosening and removing the shower strainer from the drain hole, you are now ready to proceed to the next step of removing any old sealant and preparing the area for the installation of a new strainer.
Step 4: Remove the Old Sealant
Once you have removed the shower strainer, it is essential to remove any old sealant or caulk that may be present around the edges. This step ensures a clean surface for the installation of a new strainer or the reinstallation of the existing one. Follow these steps:
1. Scrape off the old sealant: Use a putty knife or a scraping tool to carefully scrape off the old sealant from the area around the drain hole. Start at one end and work your way around, applying gentle pressure. Be cautious not to scratch or damage the surface of the shower floor or tub. Take your time to remove as much of the old sealant as possible.
2. Clean the surface: Once you have scraped off the old sealant, use a damp cloth or sponge to clean the surface of any remaining residue or debris. Wipe down the area to ensure it is free from any loose particles or dirt. This step prepares the surface for the application of new sealant.
3. Dry the area: After cleaning, make sure to thoroughly dry the area around the drain hole. Moisture can interfere with the adhesion of the new sealant, so use a clean cloth or allow the area to air dry completely before proceeding.
4. Inspect for any damage: While removing the old sealant, take a moment to inspect the surrounding surface for any signs of damage or wear. Look for cracks, chips, or other issues that may need to be addressed before proceeding with the installation of a new strainer.
By successfully removing the old sealant, you have now prepared the area for the next step of removing any debris from the drain hole. This ensures a clean and secure surface for the installation of a new shower strainer.
Step 5: Remove the Strainer
With the old sealant removed and the area clean and dry, it’s time to proceed with removing the shower strainer from the drain hole. This step allows for thorough cleaning or replacement of the strainer. Follow these steps:
1. Inspect the strainer for any additional screws or clips: Before attempting to remove the strainer, check if there are any hidden screws or clips securing it in place. Some strainers may have a secondary fastening mechanism to ensure a more secure fit.
2. Use your fingers or pliers to grip the strainer: Place your fingers or a pair of pliers around the edges of the strainer, ensuring a firm grip. If using pliers, cover the jaws with a cloth or use adjustable pliers to prevent scratching the strainer surface.
3. Twist and turn the strainer counterclockwise: Apply steady but gentle pressure as you twist and turn the strainer counterclockwise. This motion helps to loosen the strainer further and break any remaining seal between the strainer and drain hole.
4. Lift out the loosened strainer: Once the strainer is fully loosened, lift it out of the drain hole. Be cautious when removing the strainer as there may be accumulated debris or stagnant water trapped beneath it. Place the strainer aside for cleaning or replacement.
5. Inspect the drain hole: Take a moment to inspect the drain hole for any debris, hair, or buildup that may have collected over time. Use an old toothbrush or scrub brush to clean out any loose particles and ensure a clear and unclogged drain.
By successfully removing the shower strainer, you have now created an opportunity to clean or replace it as needed. Additionally, inspecting and cleaning the drain hole provides an opportunity to optimize the functionality of your shower’s drainage system. Now you can move on to the next steps of the removal process.
Step 6: Clean the Drain Hole
After removing the shower strainer, it’s important to clean the drain hole thoroughly. This step ensures optimal drainage by removing any debris or buildup that may have accumulated over time. Follow these steps to clean the drain hole:
1. Inspect the drain hole: Take a close look inside the drain hole and check for any visible debris, hair, or gunk. Use a flashlight if needed to get a clearer view of the inside of the drain.
2. Remove loose debris: Using an old toothbrush, scrub brush, or a pair of tweezers, carefully remove any loose debris or hair that you can easily reach. Be extra cautious not to push any debris further down the drain.
3. Flush the drain with hot water: To further clean the drain hole, run hot water directly into it. The heat helps to dissolve any soap scum or buildup, and the force of the water can dislodge any remaining particles. Let the hot water run for a few minutes to flush out the drain thoroughly.
4. Use a drain cleaner (optional): If you notice any stubborn clogs or buildup that the hot water alone cannot handle, you may consider using a drain cleaner. Follow the instructions on the product carefully and use it sparingly to avoid damaging your plumbing system. Remember to rinse the drain well with hot water afterwards.
5. Dry the drain hole: After cleaning and flushing the drain hole, use a clean towel or cloth to dry the area. Moisture in the drain can lead to mold or mildew growth, so ensuring it is dry is essential for maintaining a clean and hygienic shower.
By thoroughly cleaning the drain hole, you optimize the functionality of your shower’s drainage system. This step helps prevent future clogs and ensures that water can flow freely down the drain. With a clean drain hole, you’re ready to proceed with the next steps of the installation or reinstallation process.
Step 7: Replace the Strainer
Now that you’ve cleaned the drain hole, it’s time to replace the shower strainer. Whether you’re installing a new strainer or reattaching the existing one, follow these steps to ensure a secure and functional fit:
1. Align the strainer with the drain hole: Position the strainer over the drain hole, ensuring that it aligns correctly with the opening. The strainer should fit snugly into the drain, with no gaps or misalignment.
2. Insert the strainer into the drain hole: Gently press the strainer into the drain hole, using even pressure across the entire surface. Ensure that the strainer sits flush with the surrounding shower floor or tub surface.
3. Twist the strainer clockwise to secure it: With the strainer in place, twist it clockwise to tighten and secure it. Apply firm but gentle pressure and make sure the strainer is tightly fitted without overtightening.
4. Check for proper alignment: Double-check that the strainer is aligned correctly and sits evenly on the surface. Adjust if necessary to ensure a clean and uniform appearance.
5. Test the strainer’s stability: Give the strainer a gentle tug and ensure that it doesn’t move or shift. A properly installed strainer should be stable and securely attached to the drain hole.
6. Reattach any screws or clips (if applicable): If your shower strainer is secured with screws or clips, now is the time to reattach them. Carefully insert and tighten the screws or clips, ensuring that they are secure but not overtightened.
By successfully replacing the strainer, you’ve restored the proper functioning of your shower’s drainage system. Now you’re ready to proceed with sealing the strainer and testing the drain to ensure its functionality.
Step 8: Apply New Sealant
After replacing the strainer, it’s essential to apply a new layer of sealant around the edges. Sealing the strainer prevents water from seeping into the gaps between the strainer and the drain hole, ensuring a watertight connection. Follow these steps to apply new sealant:
1. Choose the right sealant: Select a high-quality silicone-based sealant specifically designed for bathroom use. Look for a sealant that is waterproof, mold-resistant, and compatible with the materials of your shower or tub.
2. Cut the tip of the sealant tube: Using a utility knife or scissors, cut the tip of the sealant tube at a 45-degree angle. Start with a small opening to avoid using too much sealant initially.
3. Apply a thin bead of sealant: Squeeze a thin, even bead of sealant around the outer edge of the strainer, ensuring full coverage between the strainer and the shower or tub surface. Start at one end and work your way around, applying consistent pressure on the tube to control the flow of sealant.
4. Smooth the sealant: Use your finger or a damp cloth to smooth and spread the sealant along the edges. This helps to create a neat and uniform seal and ensures that the sealant adheres properly to both the strainer and the shower or tub surface.
5. Remove excess sealant: Wipe away any excess sealant with a damp cloth or paper towel, taking care not to disturb the newly applied sealant along the edges. A neat and clean finish will enhance the aesthetic appearance of your shower.
6. Allow the sealant to cure: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the drying and curing time for the sealant. It typically takes around 24 hours for the sealant to fully cure, during which time you should avoid using the shower or getting the sealant wet.
By applying a new layer of sealant, you ensure a watertight and secure connection between the strainer and the shower or tub. This step helps prevent water leaks and extends the lifespan of your shower strainer.
Step 9: Reinstall the Screw or Clip
After the sealant has cured, it’s time to reinstall the screw or clip that secures the shower strainer in place. Follow these steps to ensure a secure and stable attachment:
1. Retrieve the screw or clip: Locate the screw or clip that you set aside earlier during the removal process. Ensure that it is clean and free from any debris or damage.
2. Position the screw or clip: Place the screw or clip in its designated spot on the strainer. Align it with the corresponding hole or slot and position it for easy installation.
3. Attach the screw or clip: If your shower strainer uses a screw, use a screwdriver (flathead or Phillips-head, depending on the screw type) to insert and tighten the screw. Turn it clockwise until it is secure, but be careful not to overtighten and strip the threads. If your strainer uses a clip, use your fingers or an adjustable wrench to reinstall and secure it in place.
4. Test the stability: Once the screw or clip is reattached, gently test the stability of the shower strainer. Give it a slight tug to ensure that it is properly secured and doesn’t move or shift. A stable attachment ensures that the strainer functions effectively while preventing any potential leaks.
5. Make final adjustments if necessary: If you notice any misalignment or instability, carefully adjust the screw or clip as needed. Ensure that the strainer sits flush with the surrounding surface and is securely attached without any wobbling or movement.
By reinstalling the screw or clip, you finalize the attachment of the shower strainer and ensure its stability and functionality. Now you’re ready for the last step of testing the drain to ensure proper water flow and any necessary adjustments.
Step 10: Test the Drain
After completing the installation and reinstallation process, it’s crucial to test the drain to ensure proper water flow and functionality. Follow these steps to test the drain:
1. Turn on the water: Slowly turn on the water supply and let it run at a moderate flow. Pay attention to how the water drains from the shower and whether there are any signs of slow drainage or pooling.
2. Observe water flow: Watch the water as it flows down the drain. It should flow smoothly without any backups or restrictions. If you notice any sputtering, gurgling, or unusual water flow patterns, there may still be an obstruction or issue that needs to be addressed.
3. Check for leaks: Examine the area around the strainer and the edges where the sealant was applied. Look for any signs of water leakage or seepage, such as puddles or wet spots. If you notice any leaks, you may need to tighten the strainer or reapply sealant to ensure a watertight connection.
4. Test with debris: To further test the drain’s functionality, you can introduce a small amount of debris, such as hair or soap scum, into the drain. Observe how well the drain handles and removes the debris. If any clogs occur, it may indicate a need for additional cleaning or maintenance.
5. Make necessary adjustments: If you encounter any issues during the testing process, such as slow drainage or leaks, make the necessary adjustments. This may involve resealing the strainer, tightening any screws, or clearing any remaining debris from the drain hole.
By thoroughly testing the drain, you ensure that the installation or reinstallation process was successful. It allows you to identify and address any issues promptly, ensuring optimal water flow and functionality in your shower.