August 28


How To Fix A Bathtub That Won’t Drain

By Robin Hatch

August 28, 2022

A clogged bathtub drain is no fun, especially when you’re ready to hop in and relax! Luckily, there are several easy ways to get that water flowing freely again. This guide covers simple homemade remedies, handy tools, and professional help for tackling bathtub clogs.

We’ll walk through removing hair and gunk, using a plunger, boiling water, baking soda, a drain snake, and commercial drain cleaners. With a little elbow grease and the right techniques, you can get that stubborn bathtub drain unclogged yourself. Ready to bid farewell to that stagnant standing water and enjoy your tub again? Let’s do this!

To unclog a bathtub drain, start by removing any visible debris. Then boil water to flush the drain, plunge it, or use a baking soda/vinegar mixture. For deep clogs, use a drain snake or auger. Commercial drain cleaners or a plumber may be needed for severe obstructions.

First, let’s look at why tub drains get clogged in the first place. Hair is the usual suspect, tangling up and accumulating over time. Soap residue and grimy buildup also contribute to blocked drains. Bath products like essential oils don’t help either. Using a drain cover or stopper can catch gunk before it goes down the pipe. But even with precautions, clogs happen!

Here are the best ways to clear them:

Remove Visible Gunk and Debris

Bath tub drain

Start by taking off any drain cover and extracting visible stuff out of the drain. Hair, chunks of soap, and other debris likely contribute to surface-level clogs. Use gloves – who knows what’s lurking down there! Removing the easily accessible gunk lets you assess what you’re dealing with.

Boil Water to Flush

Once any surface gunk is gone, boiling water can help melt and wash away soap scum deeper in the drain. Let a kettle or pot of water come to a rolling boil.

Then carefully pour it down the drain. Let it sit briefly before running the hot tap to flush everything down. The heated water melts away built-up grease and grime.

Plunge the Drain

Bathtub Drain

A trusty plunger can create suction to dislodge stubborn clogs. Fill the tub with a couple inches of water so the plunger bell can submerge. Position it tightly over the drain and plunge vigorously several times. The pressure loosens the blockage like it does in toilets. Remember to clean the plunger thoroughly afterward!

Mix Up a DIY Drain Cleaner

For organic clogs, mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1 cup vinegar and pour down the drain. As the soda and vinegar react, it bubbles away gunk but won’t harm pipes.

Let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing with hot water. The fizzy cleaner breaks up and dissolves gunk. Just don’t use this method after chemical drain cleaners!

Break Out a Drain Snake

A drain auger or snake reaches deep into pipes to physically hook and dislodge stubborn clogs. Slowly feed the snake down the tub drain and twist to grab debris. Carefully remove the snake to pull the gunk out.

Be gentle if it gets stuck – don’t force it to avoid pipe damage. Drain snakes are effective for serious tub obstructions.

Use Chemical Drain Cleaners

Commercial drain cleaners containing lye, sulfuric acid, or other caustic chemicals to dissolve organic clogs are a final solution. Follow product instructions closely as the chemicals can cause burns. With gloves and the right product, they penetrate and clear even severe obstructions.

For the toughest clogs, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber. They have specialized tools and can fully inspect your pipes. But try these DIY methods first for an economical home fix! Stay on top of maintenance to keep your bathtub draining smoothly.

To learn more about your bathtub, view these articles:

Does A Bathtub Need A Vent?

Robin Hatch

About the author

For over a decade, Robin has been a real estate agent, interior design specialist, and mother. Through her trials and tribulations, she wanted to create the perfect website to help you save money and make your home look beautiful.

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