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How to clean a Kerdi Drain - A step by step process

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I was asked to clean up a two bedroom condo up in Whistler not far from my North Vancouver home this week and thought I would share this process with anyone keen enough to tackle the cleaning job of a Schluter Sytems Kerdi drain. The strainer portion of the Kerdi drain comes off easily with just a philips screwdriver unless the tile setter grouted the screws over like the one I worked on.

To access the screws first I used the tip of a sharp drill bit to loosen up the dried grout. This should be done when installing the strainer but was not years ago when this shower was built. Once I removed the excess grout I used a philips screwdriver and untwisted the screws. Careful you don't drop them since they are stainless steel and if they go donwn the drain you will not retrieve them with a magnet.

With the cover removed you can see the nasty junk that had built up inside the drain, out of sight from the user. This is nasty old shower scum, some soap and some hair - all blended into a crusty mess. I used a rag to pull away as much as possible. Yuck.

With the strainer I decided to soak it overnight in a small dish of dishwashing soap and warm water. You can see how much black scum or mold was building up on the bottom side of this strainer.

After this was soaking I acid washed the entire shower and was careful to not let the acid sit on the strainer base of Kerdi drain for to long. Strong cleaners can stain the stainless steel Kerdi drain. I neutralized the acid with multiple fresh water rinses and called it a day.

The next morning I scrubbed the drain with a glass scrubber and it shinned right up. I chipped away little bits of grout with a screwdriver end (standard) and then shined it up with a SOS pad. Turned out great.

Before re installing the screws I used the same glass scrubber brush to clean the inside of the shower drain. I used just soap and water and the drain looks brand new. This drain shows a black inside which is ABS but your drain might be grey and made from PVC. Taken care not to drop the screws down the drain I re-installed the Schluter cover and was done.

The acid cleaning removed some of the efflorescence around the Kerdi drain but not all of it. The shower was poorly built and I will be suggesting we re-grout this shower to make some repairs and fill in missing grout.

Below is a photo send to me by a man who's contractor stop returning phone calls. His shower drain in need of cleaning but after unscrew the two screws he found himself with a Kerdi grill that does not come out.

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Updated 02-05-2014 at 05:24 PM by johnfrwhipple

Shower Drain Cleaning


  1. johnfrwhipple's Avatar
    You need to be careful using different types of cleaners on your shower floor. If you are not comfortable with this work hire a pro to help. Or if you would rather be hiking or gardening - call a pro instead.

    John Whipple - By Any Design Ltd.
  2. johnfrwhipple's Avatar
  3. johnfrwhipple's Avatar
    If your Schluter Shower grill is stuck in the Kerdi Drain trim flange it is most likely the fault of the person tiling and grouting the shower. If some setting material or grout is wiped into the space between the grill and the trim flange - then removing the grill can be a challenge.

    Remember that the trim flange is set in plain non-modifed thin-set and might not be so thick. You do not want to exert to much force for fear of de-bonding the tile around the drain. It is safer to first wet the grout or setting material at the drain for a good thirty minutes. I carefully use my box cutter blade to remove the material bit by bit.

    If there is a lot then repeat the process. Re wet the material and then rake out the material again.

    L.C. wrote me that his contractor has not come back to remove the shower drain which is stuck and asked how to get it off. He managed to remove the screws shown in this picture but the grill does not come out.

    Notice below the grout set into the drain (between the outer drain flange) and the removable grill. Mostly on the top left side below. You can cut yourself so easily with a box cutter. Be careful with your strokes. The drain is stainless it can handle some scraping with a sharp blade - your hands, fingers and thighs can not!

    Once this is done you need to hook the grill with something. The Grill lifting key from ACO is perfect for this. In a pinch some times a coat hanger works or your keys.

    If the grill does not come up easy do not force it. Try repeating the steps above. Perhaps a slight sideways pressure will pop it free. A standard screwdriver and rubber mallet pretty safe tools I think. Careful the screws don't fall down the drain. They are stainless and will not be picked up easy with a magnet.