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How To Fix A Bathtub That Won’t Drain

A clogged bathtub drain is one of the worst things to find, and you always discover it right when you’re about to take a shower or bath. Here’s how you can quickly fix a bathtub that won’t drain.

You fix a clogged bathtub drain by first removing any visible gunk, hair, or debris from the drain. The next step is to flush the drain with boiling water and clear any clogs using a drain snake or auger. Your last step should be to use a commercial drain cleaner to clear out any stubborn clogs.

Let’s dive into the best tips and tricks for fixing a stuck bathtub drain. 

How To Fix A Bathtub That Won’t Drain

Fixing a stuck bathtub drain is all about removing clogs preventing water from flowing freely from the drain, down the pipes, and out into the sewer system.

These clogs are caused by hair, soap scum, and everything else that runs down your bathtub drain, including essential oils and other beauty products. You can minimize your chances of having your drain clogged by using a drain cover to catch large pieces of debris like hair and chunks of soap.

If that doesn’t prevent your drain from clogging, you will need to try some of these tips to get it unclogged. 

Remove Visible Gunk and Clean Your Drain

You should always start by removing all of the visible gunk from your drain before moving on to more complicated solutions.

It’s also important to do this while wearing rubber gloves. There are a lot of bacteria that live in your drain, and you don’t want to run the risk of accidentally getting an infection while working on getting your bathtub clean.

The visible gunk is likely just hair and soap scum. It might be larger bits of debris such as chunks of soap or hair care products like bobby pins and rubber bands.

Once you remove this surface layer of debris, you should try your drain again to see if it gets working. 

Flush the Drain With Hot Water

Water fresh off the boil can also dislodge a lot of the debris that can cause a clogged bathtub drain. This is especially effective for removing soap scum and helping to flush so drain clean.

All you need to do is boil some water on the stovetop or using a kettle and then flush it down the drain. 

Break Out The Plunger

Did you know that you could use a plunger on your bathtub in the same way it can be used on a toilet? Technically, the plunger works on every single drain in your house.

All you need to do is let your tub fill with a few inches of water so that the plunger can get under the surface of the water and start plunging. This is great for dislodging stubborn clogs that have stood up to everything else. 

Use Vinegar And Baking Soda

Combining vinegar and baking soda is also a great way to get your drain unclogged.

All you need to do is pour some baking soda down your drain and wash it with vinegar. As the vinegar and baking soda react, it will dislodge any debris that could be clogging your tub.

You can think about this as a very safe and gentle version of using a commercial drain cleaner. 

Use a Drain Snake or Auger 

There’s also a good chance that the club could be further down the drain than you can reach. Baking soda also has trouble penetrating too far down, and hot water will cool before it gets too deep in the pipes. This is the perfect occasion to break out that drain snake.

A drain snake, or an auger, is a tool that can go several feet down the pipe to remove stubborn clogs. Remember to clean your drain snake as you reel it back in to prevent the entire auger from getting covered in gunk from your drain. 

Also, remember to take things easy when you’re reeling your drain snake back in. If it gets stuck, try working it back and forth to dislodge it. You never want to try and force a drain snake as this could damage your pipes and cause a much more serious problem than a clog. 

Use Commercial Drain Cleaners 

Add your local hardware store and pick up a drain cleaner when in doubt.

These contain caustic chemicals that eat away the hair, soap scum, and other gunk that clogs your drain. You need to ensure you get the right drain cleaner for your pipes as certain types of drain cleaners can corrode the pipe itself.

You also want to be careful not to get drain cleaner on your hands. These are potent chemicals, and they can cause burns or injuries. 

When To Call a Plumber For a Clogged Drain

There are three sure signs that you need to call a plumber for your clogged drain. 

The first is that nothing else is working on getting the drain unclogged. You might have a particularly stubborn clock that needs a professional hand to get it unclogged.

You should also call a plumber if your drain is clogged because you dropped something down the drain by accident. You don’t want to risk losing a wedding ring by trying to fish it out yourself.

You should also call the plumber if you notice any other clogs or water pressure issues in your bathroom. If your toilet and your tub are clogged at the same time, it’s definitely the right call to schedule a plumber before trying DIY fixes


A clogged drain can be the most frustrating thing, especially when nothing is clogging the drain.

We recommend making it a daily or weekly routine to ensure all your drains are cleared out. If you wait long enough, then you will have major issues that require a plumber to fix. This could cost you hundreds of dollars when in reality, you need to give it 20 minutes a week of your attention.