My shower drain has 4 plastic "teeth" that stick out into the center of the drain. From this I have found some stalactite calcium columns hanging down to the U bend. I tried to pull one of them up with needle nose pliers but it broke and the others are too far down to get to. This is starting to block the water from draining.

How can I get rid of this calcium build up?

An answer to a question on DIY suggested using white vinegar. I haven't tried that yet. The calcium isn't in the U bend so it won't be sitting in the vinegar if I pour it in there.

  • I got rid of those chunks of build up around drain pipe by pouring vinager and baking soda and grabbing chunks out with pliers. Unfortunately many chunks fell in the drain. Now I think those chunks have solidified and attached deeper in the drain. Water isn't completely flowing now. I've use liquid plumber and it clears for a few days then water runs super slow. Today I put the shop vac in the drain and sucked up water and some chunks of rock hard calcium build up came out. I think that's my problem. Just poured more vintager intor the drain and gonna shop vac it again To see if it all comes o
    – user53935
    Commented May 14, 2016 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


Acid. Vinegar, Citric (aka sour salt), CLR, Barkeepers friend, phosphoric, etc. Keep applying (and re-applying) it, and see if perhaps you can get dry citric acid or barkeepers friend mixed to a "paste" or "slurry" form that might cling to the problem area - or fill the trap with acid and use sections of rope or rags (secured against going down the drain) to act as wicks.

You might also want to install a softener if your water is so hard it's growing stalactites. Yeesh.

  • The irony is that I have a water softener that I "think" works really well because when showering it feels like you can't rinse the soap off because the water is so soft. The fact that calcium is still building up is a mystery to me. I regularly check the softener to make sure that it has plenty of salt in it.
    – Guy
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 18:49
  • 1
    ...yet evidence would suggest that it's not. It may be misadjusted or malfunctioning; In any case, having a sample of the "softened" water tested for hardness would be a first step in sorting out what's going on. Merely having salt present is no guarantee that the softener is online, the resin is in good shape, or that the timer valve is doing its job regenerating the resin with the brine.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 19:20
  • Good point - thank you! I just posted: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/61249/…
    – Guy
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 20:44

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