Most people take one, if not two showers a day, and there’s a few things they expect when they take a shower or bath: hot water, clean towels and a tub drain that doesn’t suffer from a blockage.
When it comes to addressing a slow-draining bathtub drain, there are many commercial and home remedies homeowners can try to free up a clogged drain, all of them aimed at removing the blockage causing the clog.
Some may use baking soda and boiling water, or a cup of white vinegar, to drain cleaner and chemical drain cleaners to remove the buildup of gunk and soap scum, to a drain snake or even needle nose pliers to get clumps of hair out of the bathtub drain stopper and cure the standing water in their shower drain – with the last resort of course being to call a professional plumber to come take care of the clogged bathtub drain.
Oftentimes, however, all you need to knockout that bathtub clog yourself at home is a coat hanger with a little bend on the end or a Zip-It Bath and Sink Hair Snare (available at Home Depot and most hardware stores for around $2.50), a plunger, and a screwdriver (rubber gloves are never a bad idea either!)
3 Ways to Unclog Your Bathtub Drain
1 – Remove hair and soap scum with a drain claw type device.
- Remove the strainer or stopper. First, you will need to remove the drain cover, which is usually a strainer, which is located over the drain. You should be able to do this manually, but some models have screws that need to be removed with a screwdriver to access the drain opening.
If your tub has a stopper instead of a strainer, this should be easy to remove because they are not held in place by any screws or attached to the overflow plate. You simply remove the stopper by twisting it and lifting it up. Now that gives you better access to the drain so you can try to unclog it.
- Use the “high tech” coat hanger or Zip-It. Use the coat hanger or Zip-It to pick the sludge and hair out of the drain. You can use the hook and straight end of a hanger to remove all of the accumulated hair and sludge from the drain. If you’re lucky, this may be the only tool that you need. If it still doesn’t drain, you may need to try a plunger.
- Use the plunger. Before you plunge, you’ll need to fill the tub with water and plug the drain. If you don’t fill it with water, you’re just forcing air down the drain. Fill it with several inches of water, release the plug, and plunge the tub with the water in it. This may be enough to completely clear the clog.
2 – Chemical Drain Cleaners
Chemical drain cleaners have grown in popularity over the years, and while many homeowners use them, they do have their drawbacks. Are chemical drain cleaners safe? We dove more into this topic here.
3 – Auger / Drain Snake
If your bathtub is still clogged, you may need to use the homeowner’s version of a drain snake. If you’re up for the DIY challenge, all the power to you. If you are not comfortable using a snake, now is the time to call in a trusted plumber.
If You Use a Drain Snake
If the hanger and plunger tricks did not clear the clog, the next step is to snake the drain. We recommend using a homeowner version of a drain snake/plumber’s snake, which is available at your local hardware store.
After you snake the drain, run some water through the faucet in the tub to see if you successfully dislodged the stoppage/drain clog. If the drain works, congratulations on unclogging the tub!
If you are not a DIY-type person, or if you decide that the clog is beyond your capabilities, please don’t hesitate to contact A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc. to schedule a service call and let our professional drain technicians perform the drain cleaning for you! We can handle many plumbing problems, and can get your water drains unclogged and the water flow restored!