How to Unclog a Bathtub

How to Unclog a Bathtub

Out of all the drains in your home, your bathtub or shower drain is the most likely to get clogged. It sees a daily influx of hair, soap, shaving gel, and dirt. If you have children, it could even get clogged with miscellaneous objects and tub toys. It won’t be long before you suddenly find yourself standing in an inch or more of water while you’re taking your morning shower. But no need to worry — there are some simple things you can do to unclog your bathtub drain:

Look Inside

If you have a drain stopper or plug, remove it and set it aside somewhere safe. Then simply take a peek inside using a flashlight. If your blockage is at the surface, you can remove it easily with a pair of gloves. You may also be able to grab it with a bent wire hanger.

Pour Boiling Water

When you experience a slow draining tub due to soap and scum buildup, it’s easy to break it up with boiling water. Using a kettle or pot, boil some tap water and carefully pour it down the drain. You may need to repeat this once or twice. As the buildup dissolves from the heat, your clog should disappear pretty quickly. 

Create a Natural Solvent

When boiling water isn’t enough, you can try a natural solvent to break down the clog. It can be tempting to buy that chemical drain cleaner from the hardware store, but keep in mind that harsh chemicals are harmful to your health, the environment, and your plumbing. Homemade solvents are a safe and effective alternative. 

Using a funnel, pour ¼ cup of baking soda directly into an empty drain. Then, with the same funnel, add in 1 ¼ cup of white vinegar and stop/plug the drain. Let it sit for 20 minutes and rinse with boiling water. Repeat if necessary.

Try a Drain Snake

When there is a significant amount of hair in your drain, boiling water and solvents may not be strong enough. A drain snake (or plumber snake), should do the trick. You can purchase this affordable and easy-to-use tool at almost any hardware store. Simply feed the snake down the drain and push until you meet some resistance. Turn the handle and pull up slowly. The clog should release and come up with the snake. Once you’re done, run some water to see if the clog is gone.

Use a Plunger

A plunger is another cheap and effective tool for clog removal. Be sure to purchase a cup-style one that’s made for drains. Before you begin, remove the cap from the overflow drain. This is that circular metal cap between the faucet and the drain. This mechanism will need to be unscrewed and placed aside. Now in order to create proper suction with a plunger, you’ll have to seal the hole from the overflow drain. You can try plugging it up with a rag or covering it with duct tape. 

Next, remove the drain stopper from your drain and put it aside. Position the plunger over the drain hole, pushing down firmly. Then fill the tub with a few inches of water. Pump the plunger up and down for about 15 seconds. If it worked, you’ll see the water drain out of the tub once you remove the plunger.

Stephens Plumbing Knows How to Unclog a Bathtub

We receive a lot of service calls for bathtub clogs. Since this type of drain clog is one of the most common plumbing problems, we’ve seen enough to know the best ways to unclog them. Sometimes it’s best to leave it up to the professionals; and when it is Stephens Plumbing can help! Available 24/7, our highly trained plumbers will get your bathtub or shower drain working again in no time! Call us anytime for all your bathroom plumbing needs.