This site contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Full Disclosure Here.

What is the black stuff coming out of shower drain (Solution)

Categorized as Showers & bathtubs
black stuff coming out of shower drain

It’s not uncommon to find black stuff coming out of shower drain. This stuff could be hair, oil, or soap scum buildup that has been lurking in the drain pipes for a while and are making their way down to the shower after you turn on the water.

Don’t worry; the black stuff won’t harm you. In fact, this problem can easily be solved by using some baking soda and vinegar together with boiling hot water to clean up all the sludge buildup in your pipes.

If this doesn’t work, try other alternatives that we shall talk about in this article or simply contact a professional plumber.

Why and what is the black stuff in my shower drain?

There are many reasons that a person might see black stuff coming out of their shower drain. Here are some things to consider if you notice this happening in your home.

1. Damaged pipes

Do you use any harsh cleaners or chemicals on the bathroom floor? If so, they may be leaching into the pipes and causing damage.

The black stuff coming out of your shower drain is not a good sign. It means that you are using too many harsh chemicals to clean the bathroom and they are damaging the drain pipes.

You should change up how you clean the bathtub, toilet, sink, or any other surfaces where the water goes down the drain. The less harsh cleaners will do just fine.

2. High water pressure

One potential cause of a clogged shower drain is high water pressure.

Have you noticed an increase in water pressure recently? The increased water flow could also cause debris from inside the drainpipe to come loose and back up into your bathtub or shower stall.

When the force of the water pushes against any debris in your pipes, it can create suction that pulls more and more dirt into the pipe.

The result is an increasingly backed-up plumbing system with less space for drainage.

To avoid this issue, install a low-flow faucet aerator or use less hot water when taking showers to lower how much pressure you’re exerting on those pipes.

3. Hair and soap scum buildup

Is there something stuck in your plumbing systems such as hair and soap scum? These can accumulate over time and create clogs which will eventually lead to blockages leading to all sorts of problems in the drain.

You can find a product that will dissolve it, or you can use baking soda to do the job if necessary.

No matter what your choice of cleaning method, make sure you clean out the entire sludge from your shower drain on a regular basis for the best results.

4. Rust scales in the plumbing system

The black gunk flowing out of your shower drain could be due to corrosion in your plumbing system.

Over time, water may start to corrode the metal pipes and cause them to rust which can lead to clogs that are difficult or impossible for you to clean on your own.

This problem can be avoided with regular maintenance from a professional plumber who specializes in this type of work.

It’s also important to know what kind of pipe material was used in the plumbing so that you can avoid certain bathroom cleaners that can corrode the pipes. This will also help you have an idea of whether or not you may experience serious problems in the future like the bursting of pipes.

How do you get black gunk out of the shower drain?

We all know the black stuff that comes out of our shower drain is gross and disgusting. But what exactly is it? It’s a mixture of oils, hair, soap scum, dirt, bacteria, and other things you don’t want to think about.

Thankfully there are some easy ways to keep your drains from getting clogged with this goop so you can have cleaner showers without.

  • Baking soda and vinegar

You might be tempted to use harsh chemicals and expensive products to unclog the drain but the most effective solutions lie right in your kitchen cabinets such as baking soda and vinegar.

Baking soda is great because it reacts with vinegar to create a reaction that will break up stubborn fats, oils, and soap scum from the pipes.

All you need to do is pour baking soda down the pipe followed by some hot water (not boiling) and then add enough white vinegar to make it bubble.

Let them sit overnight while they work their magic on that pesky black stuff in your plumbing system. The next morning, just clean the drain and rinse thoroughly with enough water.

See also: How to clean clogged shower head without vinegar

  • Shower drain cleaners

One of the most common reasons for slow and clogged drains is hair. At times, hair might not easily dissolve no matter how much baking soda and vinegar you use.

If this sounds like your problem then try using a shower cleaner with enzymes like Green Gobbler Enzymes Cleaner that breaks up the hair as well as dissolve the grease or soap scum in the drain.

You can also use other products such as Drano Max Gel Clog Remover, CLR, or Clorox Drain Cleaner, which will remove even old, tough clogs in just one treatment.

It’s worth trying these methods first before calling out a plumber who may charge hourly rates or worse yet tell you he needs to dig up your pipes to correct the issue.


It doesn’t matter if you have a traditional bathtub or a modern shower; clogged drains are an all-too-common problem.

If you have black stuff coming up from your shower drain, it is likely due to the build-up of hair and soap scum.

One solution that has worked well in the past includes putting baking soda down the drain followed by hot water and vinegar. Another solution is to use shower drain cleaners like Green Gobbler enzyme cleaner, CLR, or Clorox Drain Cleaner which can be found at most hardware stores or from online retailers.

By Becky Jones

Becky is a mother and self-proclaimed DIY enthusiast. She blogs about her latest projects, from fixing little things in the bathroom to big DIY hacks and tricks. When she's not writing or doing one of her projects, she keeps herself busy being a mommy.