How to Unclog a Bathtub

Unclogging a clogged bathtub drain can be a frustrating task but is usually manageable with some simple tools and techniques. Here is a step-by-step guide to effectively unclogging a bathtub drain on your own:

Assess The Clog

The first step is to assess the severity and location of the clog. Check if the water is draining slower than usual or not draining out at all. Also note if there are any gurgling sounds coming from the drain. Run some hot water into the tub and see if that helps clear the clog a bit – a minor hair or soap clog will often budge with hot water. If the hot water trick doesn’t improve drainage, you likely have a more stubborn clog deeper in the pipes to tackle.

Try A Plunger

If the water is draining sluggishly, start with a basic plunger. Make sure to completely plug the overflow holes with a wet rag or towel first, to get a tight seal around the plunger. Position the plunger directly over the drain opening and plunge vigorously 10-15 times. The suction created can help dislodge minor debris or hair buildup. Check if the drain has improved after a few rounds of plunging. If it’s still slow, you’ll need to move onto advanced methods.

Use A Snake/Auger

For tougher clog issues, you’ll need an affordable drain snake/auger tool, which can reach deeper into pipes. Start by removing the bathtub drain cover and inserting the snake end as far down the opening as you can. Crank the handle clockwise while applying light downward pressure as you rotate – this will drive the snake deeper through the bend in the pipe. 

Once you feel resistance, crank the auger counterclockwise to dislodge and collect debris as you extract the tool. Run hot water again to rinse away any dislodged gunk. Use a flashlight to inspect if any visible obstructions come up. Repeat the process until the tool goes down deeper, indicating the path is now clear.

Try A DIY Chemical Drain Cleaner

If a physical snake still can’t get the job done, the clog may require some heavy-duty chemical dissolving agents. Home improvement stores carry various DIY chemical drain cleaners and decloggers. Try an alkaline-based cleaner or foaming gel product first. 

Follow instructions to pour or spray the product down the drain. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes as it expands and bubbles to break apart the clog, then rinse thoroughly with hot water. If needed, follow up with an acid-based chemical cleaner afterwards to further eat through blockages. Safely neutralize any lingering chemicals with hot water and baking soda/vinegar when done.

Remove The P-Trap

If timers and chemicals both fail to open the bathtub drainpipe, the clog might be located lower down in the curved p-trap section underneath. Start by placing a bucket under the p-trap curve to catch water spillage when disassembled. Loosen the two nuts holding either end of the p-trap using an adjustable wrench or pliers.

Carefully pull off the p-trap piece and empty out its contents. Inspect for any visible obstructions stuck in there. Rinse and clean out the pipe thoroughly before reattaching it firmly back in place by tightening the slip nuts.

Call An Emergency Plumber If Unsuccessful

If you’ve tried all these home remedies to unclog your bathtub drain to no avail, it’s time to call in a professional plumber to handle the problem instead. Persistent clogs that standard methods cannot remove indicate a larger issue. Continuing to use an obstructed bathtub can lead to leaks, water damage and mold over time. 

Don’t delay calling 24/7 Emergency Plumber at 647-948-2730 right away if needed – their licensed technicians have the high-powered equipment and expertise to clear any difficult clog and identify underlying plumbing faults. They offer reliable after-hours and same-day emergency drain cleaning/repair services.

Prevent Future Bathtub Clogs

An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure when it comes to bathtub clogs. Keep drains maintained and free flowing by adopting a few simple habit changes:

  • Install inexpensive bathtub drain catchers to trap stray hair from accumulating inside the pipe. Empty collected debris weekly.
  • Pour 1 cup baking soda + 1 cup hot vinegar solution weekly down the tub drain as a fizzy cleaning treatment, followed by hot water.
  • Be mindful about what gets rinsed down the drain. Avoid washing excess hair, dirt, oils and food scraps down bathtub drains over time.
  • Consider applying baby oil or petroleum jelly along the tub drain seal ring monthly to keep the rubber components conditioned, flexible and watertight over years of use.

Getting Expert Help 

Following these easy preventative measures will go a long way towards stopping bathtub drains from getting clogged prematurely. But if you ever have any persistent drain or plumbing emergencies that require professional help, don’t hesitate to call the 24 hour plumbing experts at 24/7 Emergency Plumber!


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