How do I Unclog a Bathtub Drain?

K. K. Lowen
K. K. Lowen

There are many methods that you can use to unclog a bathtub drain. Some ways are inexpensive and are easy to accomplish. Other techniques may involve an investment of time or money. The extent of clogged drain will determine which method you use.

Vinegar, when used in combination with baking soda, is a natural way to unclog a bathtub drain.
Vinegar, when used in combination with baking soda, is a natural way to unclog a bathtub drain.

A bathtub drain typically has a cover or hair strainer at its opening, which is usually easy to remove. After you take it off, clean out the exposed area. Hair and other debris can accumulate quickly in the space below the drain cover, and removing the obstructions may be the fastest and easiest way to unclog a bathtub drain.

If there is debris at the surface of the drain, you might need to try clearing a clog that has occurred further down the drain. Products exist that are specially designed for insertion into drains to assist in clog removal, or you can stick a stiff wire or other long, hooked object down the drain to extract the clog from the drain pipe. You should slowly work the wire down the pipe to avoid pushing the clog further down the drain.

A plunger may work well on a bathtub drain as well. Before plunging the drain, make sure there is some standing water in the bathtub or put in some hot water to permit proper suction. The plunger method may take more energy, but it is inexpensive.

Liquid drain cleaners can be used to unclog bathtub drains.
Liquid drain cleaners can be used to unclog bathtub drains.

Other devices are also available to help unclog a bathtub drain. Professional plumbers frequently use an item known as a snake, but a layman can purchase and operate the tool. A snake has a long metal spring on one end that extends down a drain and has a crank on the other end. The tool can slide deep into a pipe and can be quite effective at loosening and gathering debris.

You could also try to unclog a bathtub drain with some form of liquid drain cleaner. Some people like to use a combination of baking soda and vinegar, causing a chemical reaction that may clear a drain. Other natural drain unclogging agents exist and are better for the environment, but they may be less effective than chemical mixtures.

Harsher chemicals may help with tougher clogs. Always follow the instructions on the product’s packaging and be careful not to let the chemical come into contact with your skin, mouth, or eyes. You should try not to overuse the abrasive chemicals because they can deteriorate your pipes over time.

If you have a large budget or very little time, you could pay a professional plumber to unclog a bathtub drain. A trained plumber can identify and fix any type of clog. You may want to try the cheap and fast methods before calling a plumber, because their services can be expensive.

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    • Vinegar, when used in combination with baking soda, is a natural way to unclog a bathtub drain.
      Vinegar, when used in combination with baking soda, is a natural way to unclog a bathtub drain.
    • Liquid drain cleaners can be used to unclog bathtub drains.
      Liquid drain cleaners can be used to unclog bathtub drains.