Tips for How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain?

Do you have a slow-draining or a completely clogged bathtub drain? Before calling a professional plumber, there are some methods that you can try out to deal with the problem yourself. This will save you a lot of time and money for a professional plumbing service.

On the other hand, keep in mind that dealing with partially or fully clogged drains can be a messy and pretty gross task, so brace yourself and try out one or more of the following DIY drain unclogging methods which we will discuss in detail.

Unclogging your bathtub drain with a drain claw

A drain claw or snake is among the easiest to use and most effective drain and pipe unclogging tools you can use.

It is a flexible wire which has an auger with attached hooks on one end. The principle of using a drain claw or snake is that you can push it into the drain and in the pipes, and by moving it around and back and forth, the auger and the wire itself will push or capture any larger debris, hairs, soap residue and other gunk and thus allow you to fix your bathtub drain problem.

The drain claw can easily pass through all types of pipes, curves, and clogs and will allow you to either push and flush away or pull out the debris, which is causing the problem with the draining.

Here are the steps to follow when using a drain claw to unclog a bathtub drain:

  • Remove the drain strainer

The strainer is designed to prevent larger debris and substances from getting into the drain and pipes. Unfortunately, many of the clogs occur due to a buildup of soap, hair, and other substances and occur over time, so the filter cannot wholly prevent the clogging.

To remove the strainer, use a suitable screwdriver to loosen the screw, which will allow you to lift the hair strainer.

  • Get the stopper out

After the strainer has been removed, you should proceed to remove the stopper of your bathtub drain. It can be removed without the need for tools. Just twist it and lift it.

After both the strainer and stopper are out, use a brush or sponge to clean them thoroughly from any gunk or other buildup.

  • Insert the drain claw

Start inserting the drain claw inside the drain pipe. If you feel that you have hit a curve, trap, or residue clogging the line, continue pushing and maneuvering the wire to pass and push through the pipe and hopefully the buildup or material clogging it.

Once you pull the drain snake out, you will notice that the hooks on its end have captured the residues which have been causing your draining problems.

Use a paper towel and gloves to remove all of the captured items and substances, and clean the hooks by rinsing them and brushing them off thoroughly.

By keeping your drain claw and its hooks clean, you will ensure that you are ready for the next time there is a problem with the drains at home.

  • Flush the drain and test it

After using the drain snake, turn the faucet on and let the water flush the drain. Look for any persisting slow draining or clogging issues, and if the drain is still not working properly, proceed to clean the bathtub drain using one of the next methods.

If you find that you have resolved the issue, place the stopper and strainer back in the drain, and you can enjoy a clean and nice bath.

Unclogging your bathtub drain with chemicals

There are various unclogging chemicals that are available both online and offline. Many of them are very quick and efficient for unclogging bathtub drains, but you should take extra precautions when using them and follow the instructions in order to stay safe from the harmful fumes they produce.

The first thing to remember is never to mix different chemicals in a clogged drain because they can lead to dangerous and even toxic reactions and fumes.

Most chemical pipe uncloggers dissolve hair and soap scum that has accumulated in pipes, but they are ineffective against obstructions caused by foreign items.

Pick a trusted drain cleaner, such as Drano Max Gel or something similar, but before you use it, make sure it’s safe for the pipes and bathtub you have. Some unclogging products, for example, shouldn’t be used with metal pipes, while others aren’t advised for PVC ones.

The use of chemical products has the advantage that you won’t have to deal with the gunk that’s obstructing your drains and pipes.

Here’s how to use a chemical drain cleaner in your bathtub:

Always read the label and directions before using a chemical unclogging solution. Some of the products may necessitate the use of safety equipment, such as goggles and gloves, due to the presence of chemicals or other substances. What you need to know about the drain and plumbing type you have, as well as the manner of application and the amount needed, should be made clear to you.

  • Remove as much standing water as possible

While some chemical unclogging solutions are advertised as suitable for use even with completely clogged drains and in standing water, for safety reasons, it is recommended that you remove the water from your bathtub before using the unclogging product.

You can use a bucket, bowl, or other means to scoop out as much of the standing water as possible.

  • Take the necessary safety precautions

Open the window in your bathroom, or turn on the ventilation of the bathroom. Put on protective gloves and goggles before handling the chemical product.

Try not to splatter it in standing water and in a way that can cause it to splash back onto your skin or face.

  • Pour the recommended amount of the chemical into the drain

After checking the instructions from the manufacturer, proceed to pour the chemical straight into the drain. Try not to spill or splash it to avoid damaging your tub and other appliances or getting it on your skin.

Pour the recommended amount of the chemical into the drain, and wait for it to work as instructed by the label. Most unclogging products are fast and will require only 15 to 30 minutes to work, but some may require several hours or be left overnight.

Set a timer with an alarm to alert you when the chemical needs to be flushed out.

  • Flush the chemical with water

Depending on the chemical unclogging solution you choose, you should flush it through the drain and pipes with cold, warm, or hot running water.

While flushing the chemical out of the pipes, keep an eye on the drain for any clogging problems.

If the problem with slow draining or clogging persists, then it is very likely that the clogging is not due to accumulated hair and soap scum. If the problem is due to a non-dissolvable non-organic object clogging, you probably should call a professional plumber to handle the problem.

  • Do not attempt to use another type of chemical in the same drain

For your and your family’s safety, never attempt to unclog a drain with more than one type of chemical unclogger if the first one does not flush and drain properly. Mixing different types of chemicals can cause harmful and even dangerous reactions and toxic fumes.

Unclogging your bathtub drain using natural non-chemical remedies

If you are not a fan of using potentially harmful chemicals in your home or of polluting the environment with them, there are some non-chemical and all-natural draining solutions you can try for unclogging your bathtub drain.

Here are some of the most efficient non-chemical methods for unclogging a bathtub drain:

  • Vinegar and baking soda

After removing the strainer and stopper from the drain and cleaning them from the gunk, pour four ounces of baking soda followed by four ounces of vinegar into the drain. Let the mixture work for about 5 minutes, and then flush it with boiling water from a kettle.

  • Use tweezers

If the clog is right under the drain of the bathtub, you may be able to get the hairs, scum, and other gunk out with the help of tweezers. Remove the hair filter and the stopper and proceed to try to reach the stuff which is causing the clogging and pull it out and discard it.

  • Use a plunger

A plunger is among the most popular and easiest ways to resolve most clogging issues. In order to get proper suction with the plunger, it is recommended to fill up the bathtub with a few inches of water.

Place the plunger head on top of the drain and press and pull it quickly over and over again. You will notice hair and gunk being pulled out of the drain. After you are done, clean the bathtub and throw away the gunk (do not flush it back into the drain!)

  • Use hot water with Borax

After removing the strainer and stopper, pour four ounces of Borax straight into the drain. Then pour two cups of boiling water from a kettle into the drain slowly.

Let the mixture work for about 15 minutes, and then proceed to flush the drain with running cold water.

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