How to Unclog a Bathtub

Unclog A Bathtub

You roll out of bed and make your way into the bathroom. You’re ready for a refreshing shower to start your day off right. But as you lather up your hair, you realize the water is creeping up around your ankles. Before your next shower, you need to unclog that bathtub drain!

Thankfully, fixing a clogged bathtub drain is a task that any homeowner can do. We’ll show you how to unclog a tub drain and answer a few of your most frequently asked questions.

Tips on How to Unclog a Bathtub

When you first notice your tub drain is clogged, a chemical drain cleaner may come to mind as an easy solution, but this is a harmful way to unclog drains. Repeated use of harsh chemicals can damage your pipes and lead to trouble in the future. Pouring these toxic substances down the drain can also pollute the municipal water supply.

It’s much better to use natural methods and home remedies to unclog a bathtub drain. Here are the top suggestions from the professionals at Mr. Rooter Plumbing®. Below we list 5 ways to try clearing that tub drain:

1. Manually Remove Easy-to-Reach Gunk

To do this, start by putting on gloves and removing the stopper. If your tub has a pop-up drain plug, insert a screwdriver under the cover, loosen the screw, and remove the plug by pulling up on it. As you lift it out, you may find that hair and other debris have accumulated there. If you don’t want to remove this gunk by hand, bend a wire coat hanger into a hook using needle-nose pliers and fish out any foreign material from the drain with this handy tool.

Sometimes, simply removing and cleaning these parts will get things moving. Send a blast of hot water down the drain to finish the job. If the tub still backs up, the blockage is located further down, and you’ll need to try other home remedies to unclog the bathtub drain.

2. Pour Baking Soda and Vinegar Down the Drain

Pouring a cup of baking soda followed by one cup of vinegar can loosen things up in your drain. The foaming action of the baking soda and vinegar creates pressure to force the clog down while also cleaning the inside of the drain.

3. Use Boiling Water

Boil a large pot of water and pour it slowly down the tub drain. The goal is to dissolve the soap scum and dislodge the buildup.

4. Use a Plunger

With the stopper removed, you can clear the drain using a plunger. To do this, you need to plug the overflow drain to create a vacuum by removing the cover plate below the bathtub faucet and inserting a washcloth or hand towel into the hole so air can’t escape.

Next, set the plunger over the drain and fill the tub with a few inches of hot water. Apply several thrusting motions to attempt to get things moving.

5. Use a Plumber’s Snake

If the clog remains despite your efforts with a plunger, it’s time to break out the heavy artillery. An auger, or plumber’s snake, features a long, flexible cable with a coiled spring at one end and a hand crank on the other. You can purchase or rent one for the job.

Insert the cable into the drain and turn the crank until you reach the blockage. If you haven’t already removed your tub stopper, you will need to do so before using the auger. Push and pull the cable to help it become embedded in the clog. Then, turn the crank in the opposite direction to pull the cable back out. If the coiled spring comes up empty, try inserting it into the overflow drain to clear blockages that lie beyond the drain trap.

Clogged Tub Drain FAQs

How do you unblock a badly blocked bath?

To unblock a badly blocked bathtub, you may need to use a plumber’s snake. This device, also known as a drain snake or an auger, reaches into your bathtub drain and clears out any gunk that prevents the drain from allowing water to flow down it. You can also try the other methods described above before attempting to snake the drain.

How do you unclog a bathtub with standing water?

A bathtub with standing water can be cleared using a few different methods, but a plunger may be particularly effective. Plungers can use the existing water in the drain and tub to force the clog down through the drain and out of the pipe.

What will dissolve hair in a drain?

Hair can be dissolved by drain cleaner or baking soda followed by distilled white vinegar. We recommend using the baking soda and vinegar method described above as it is gentler on your drain than drain cleaner.

Contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing for Help Clearing Clogged Drains

While you should be able to unclog the bathtub yourself, you may not have the time, patience, or capability to do the job. Fortunately, Mr. Rooter Plumbing is here to help. We offer quick, affordable drain clearing to get your tub flowing smoothly again.

To schedule services with one of our courteous plumbers, call us or set up a service online.