Why is My RV Shower Not Draining? Is it Clogged? How Do I Fix it?

Christopher London
9 min readApr 30, 2024


The RV shower is an essential part of any recreational vehicle, providing comfort and convenience while on the road. However, one common problem that many RV owners face is a clogged shower drain. A clogged RV shower drain can be frustrating and can disrupt your travel plans. In this blog post, we will discuss all possible causes for an RV shower drain to be clogged and provide detailed solutions on how to fix an RV shower that won’t drain.

Article Overview:

Is My RV Shower Drain Clogged?

Is My Gray Tank Preventing My RV Shower from Draining?

How to Fix an RV shower not draining due to a full gray tank?

Other Causes of My RV Shower Not Draining?

How Do I Unclog my RV Shower Drain?

How to Remove and Check the Shower Drain P-Trap?

What’s the Best Replacement P-Trap for RV Shower Drain?

Chemicals to Unclog RV Shower Drain?

RV Shower Drain Cleaners?

Is My RV Shower Drain Clogged?

There are several reasons why an RV shower drain may be clogged. Some of the most common causes include hair buildup, soap scum, and debris such as dirt and sand. Additionally, mineral deposits from hard water can also contribute to a clogged shower drain. To properly diagnose the issue and address it effectively, it is important to understand the potential causes of a clogged RV shower drain.

Is My Gray Tank Preventing My RV Shower from Draining?

Yes, a full RV gray tank can prevent your shower from draining properly. Fortunately, this is the easiest fix of all. 9 time out of 10, all you need to do is simply drain the gray water.

The gray tank is responsible for collecting wastewater from the shower, sinks, and other drains in your RV. When the tank becomes full, it can cause a backup and prevent water from draining properly. This can be a common cause for RV showers not draining and you will want to check this item off your list before trouble-shooting other types of clogs.

How to Fix an RV shower not draining due to a full gray tank:

has put together a great video that shows you how to check to see if your RV gray tank is full and if so, how to drain it to get your shower flowing smoothly again.

1. Check the gray tank level:

Locate the gray tank level indicator on your RV’s control panel or use a separate tank monitoring system to determine if the tank is full.

2. Empty the gray tank:

If the tank is full, you need to empty it. Find a suitable dump station or sewer hookup and follow the proper procedures for emptying your RV’s gray tank. This may involve connecting a hose to the tank’s outlet and opening the valve to allow the wastewater to flow out.

3. How to Clean an RV Gray Tank:

Neglecting to clean the gray tank can result in clogs. If you have emptied your gray tank and you continue to have issues it is possible that accumulated debris such as; hair, soap and grease are blocking the gray tank’s drainage system, causing water to back up into the shower. This not only hampers the functionality of these facilities but also poses a risk of water damage to the RV’s interior.

If you need to thoroughly clean you RV’s gray tank, please follow the steps in this guide:


4. Use a gray tank treatment:

To prevent future issues with your gray tank, consider using a gray tank treatment such as Happy Campers Holding Tank Treatment. This type of treatment will help break down waste and control odors, keeping your tank clean and functioning properly.

It’s amazing when one product changes your life or makes something like dumping your tanks, a little less dreadful. Who knew I could get so excited about RV tank treatment? Haha. I honestly just want everyone to know how amazing it is, and that fumes coming into your RV while you dump is not normal. I’m not affiliated with them in any way, aside from adding the affiliate links to Amazon in this post. We just love their product because it works! It’s also environmentally friendly, super cost-effective, and easy to use.

5. Monitor tank levels regularly:

To avoid similar problems in the future, make it a habit to monitor your gray tank levels regularly. Empty the tank before it becomes full to ensure proper drainage from your shower and other drains.

Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for your specific RV model when dealing with gray tank maintenance and emptying.

What Other Causes Would Make My RV Shower Not to Drain?

1. Hair Buildup

One of the most common causes of a clogged RV shower drain is hair buildup. Hair can easily get trapped in the drain, causing a blockage that prevents water from flowing freely. To prevent hair buildup in your RV shower drain, consider using a drain strainer or hair catcher to catch any loose hair before it enters the drain. Regularly cleaning the drain strainer can also help prevent clogs caused by hair buildup.

2. Soap Buildup

Another common cause of a clogged RV shower drain is soap scum. As soap is used in the shower, it can leave behind residue that can accumulate in the drain and cause a blockage. To prevent soap scum buildup in your RV shower drain, try using a mild cleaner or vinegar to break down the residue. Regularly cleaning the drain with a brush or plumbing snake can also help prevent soap scum from causing a clog.

3. Other Dirt and Debris

Debris such as dirt, sand, and other particles can also contribute to a clogged RV shower drain. To prevent debris from accumulating in your RV shower drain, be mindful of what goes down the drain. Avoid rinsing large amounts of dirt or sand down the drain, as these particles can easily become trapped and cause a blockage. Using a drain strainer or filter can help catch debris before it enters the drain and prevent clogs.

4. Hard Water Mineral Deposits

In addition to hair, soap scum, and debris, mineral deposits from hard water can also contribute to a clogged RV shower drain. Hard water contains high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which can leave behind deposits that can accumulate in the drain and cause a blockage. To prevent mineral deposits from clogging your RV shower drain, consider installing a water softener or using a descaling solution to break down the deposits. Regularly cleaning the drain with a descaling solution can help prevent mineral buildup and keep the drain running smoothly.

Now that we have explored the other possible causes of a clogged RV shower drain, let’s discuss how to unclog an RV shower drain. There are several methods you can try to unclog a blocked RV shower drain, depending on the severity and type of the blockage.

RV P-Trap Problem

Yes, RVs do have P-traps in their plumbing systems, including the shower drain. A P-trap is a curved pipe that is designed to hold water and create a barrier between the plumbing system and the living space. It prevents odors and gases from entering the RV while allowing wastewater to flow freely. However, just like any other P-trap, your RV shower’s P-Trap can get clogged and prevent water from draining properly.

How Do I Unclog my RV Shower Drain?

We love this practical video by Long Long Honeymoon, that shows a very real-world way to unclog your RV shower drain. I’ve actually done this very same thing to remove my wife and daughters’ hair from our drains!

Here are some more solutions to help you get your RV shower draining properly again:

1. Use a plunger:

One of the simplest ways to unclog a shower drain is to use a plunger. Fill the shower with a small amount of water to create suction, then use the plunger to create a seal over the drain and push and pull the plunger to dislodge the blockage.

2. Use a drain snake:

If the clog is more stubborn and not responding to a plunger, you can try using a drain snake. Insert the snake into the drain and twist it to break up the blockage. Pull the snake out to remove the debris causing the clog.

3. Use a drain cleaner:

For more stubborn clogs or buildup, you can try using a commercial drain cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the product label carefully to safely and effectively dissolve the blockage.

Again, you can follow this guide to completely clean your RV gray water tank:


4. Use a homemade solution:

If you prefer a more natural approach, you can try using a homemade solution to unclog your RV shower drain. Mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar and pour it down the drain. Let it sit for a few hours to break down the blockage, then flush the drain with hot water.

How to Remove and Clean the Drain P-Trap:

If the clog is located in the drain trap, you may need to remove the trap and clean it out manually. Use a wrench to loosen the trap and remove any debris causing the blockage. Clean the trap thoroughly and reinstall it to restore proper drainage.

are full-time RV’ers which a great YouTube Channel. They actually started to notice their shower was draining slower and slower. He tried cleaning the inside directly where the shower drains are, but that did not resolve the slow drain issue. So checked the P-Trap underneath and put together this great video to show you exactly how he solved the problem.

Here’s how you can check your P-Trap is you’re having similar drainage or even smell related issues with your RV shower.

Best Replacement P-Trap for RV shower Drain

The RecPro RV Shower Drain P Trap is a specific product that is recommended by RVers for a few reasons:

1. Space-saving design:

The RecPro RV Shower Drain P Trap is designed to be compact and space-saving, which is crucial in the limited space of an RV. It allows for efficient use of the available space without compromising functionality.

2. Easy installation:

RVers appreciate the ease of installation that the RecPro RV Shower Drain P Trap offers. It is designed to be user-friendly and can be easily installed in the existing plumbing system without the need for extensive modifications.

3. Durable construction:

The RecPro RV Shower Drain P Trap is made from high-quality materials that are resistant to corrosion and wear. This ensures its longevity and reliability, even in the demanding conditions of an RV.

4. Effective odor prevention:

The P-trap’s design and functionality effectively prevent odors and gases from entering the RV living space. This is crucial for maintaining a pleasant and comfortable environment inside the RV.

It’s important to note that while the RecPro RV Shower Drain P Trap is a popular choice among RVers, there may be other P-trap options available on the market. It’s always recommended to research and choose a P-trap that is compatible with your specific RV plumbing system and meets your needs and preferences.

What Chemical Should I Use to Unclog an RV Shower Drain?

When it comes to resolving stubborn clogs in an RV shower drain, we generally recommend avoiding harsh chemicals. If you suspect that hair is the primary cause of the clog there are few good chemicals designed to break down hair specifically for RVs.

Are There RV Shower Drain Cleaners?

YES! But don’t confuse RV Shower Chemicals to unclog drains with chemicals used to clean RV sinks, showers and drains.

Here at Happy Campers, we’re constantly asked what RV toilet bowl and sink cleaners can I use with Happy Campers?

We highly recommend the Thetford Premium RV Aqua-Clean Kitchen and Bath Cleaner . Here are some reasons why this cleaner may be a good choice for keeping the surface areas of your RV bathroom clean:

The Thetford Premium RV Aqua-Clean cleaner

1. RV-Safe Formula:

The Thetford Premium RV Aqua-Clean cleaner is specifically formulated to be safe for use in RVs. It is designed to effectively clean surfaces without causing damage to the RV’s plumbing or fixtures.

2. Versatile Cleaning:

This cleaner is suitable for use on various surfaces found in RV kitchens and bathrooms, including sinks, countertops, showers, and toilets. It can help remove stains, soap scum, and other common residues.

3. Easy to Use:

The cleaner comes in a convenient spray bottle, making it easy to apply and target specific areas. Simply spray the cleaner onto the surface, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe or rinse it off.

4. Effective Cleaning Power:

The Thetford Premium RV Aqua-Clean cleaner is known for its effective cleaning power. It can help remove tough stains and grime, leaving your RV kitchen and bathroom areas clean and fresh.

It’s always a good idea to read customer reviews and product descriptions to ensure that a specific cleaner meets your needs and preferences. Additionally, following the manufacturer’s instructions for use is important to achieve the best results.

Wrapping Up:

In conclusion, a clogged RV shower drain can be a frustrating problem, but with the right tools and techniques, you can easily unclog it and get your shower draining properly again. By understanding the possible causes of a clogged RV shower drain and following the solutions provided in this blog post, you can keep your RV shower running smoothly and enjoy a comfortable shower experience while on the road.

Originally published at https://www.happycampers.store.



Christopher London

Chris London, Owner/Marketing Director for Pixel Productions Inc, is an expert in brand building, Ecommerce Development, and online marketing.