If your bathtub isn't draining well it can be a problem for taking baths and being able to use your bathroom properly. Getting the drain clear will make your bathtub, and bathroom in general, easier to use. This is a guide about clearing a clogged bathtub drain.
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For slow drains in old houses, pour a bottle of bleach down the tub drain once a month in the evening (every 5 weeks for the bathroom sink). In the morning, heat up a tea kettle and pour one gallon of water down the drain. Aim for the drain (or use a funnel), so as not to crack porcelain. This works only on slow drains.
Source: Frugal Village
By duckie-do from Cortez, CO
We recently paid a plumber $95 to clean a clogged bathtub drain. All our home remedy tips did not free the clog. In fact, we even had to have them get the "snake" that we had used out of the drain because it was lodged in and we couldn't get it to move. He shared a tip that will help keep drains clear. The problem we had was that hair had clogged it up. He said to pour a half gallon of Clorox in there once a month to keep it flushed. He also said never to use those liquid drain cleaners in a situation like this because they would just stop at the blocked up place and make the situation worse.
By Sandy from Elon, NC
If drain cleaners are not working in a shower or bathtub drain, the problem might be higher up.
The shower drain in my long-haired teenage daughter's bathroom was plugged so badly she ended up standing in water up to her ankles when she took a shower. I tried all kinds of drain cleaners, to no avail. Then one day, I took the grate off the top of the drain so that I could look down with a flashlight and possibly see something. What a surprise: I could only see a couple of inches down! The crossbars in the pipe, like a plus sign about two inches down, were completely covered with hair!
I used needle-nose pliers to pull out a wad of long hairs as thick as my thumb, that was draped over the crossbars, hanging down like a fringe, almost completely blocking the pipe where drain cleaners had no effect.
By Mary from Hummeltwown, PA
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Here are questions related to Clearing a Clogged Bathtub Drain.
What is the best way to clean a tub drain?
By Barbara from FL
By Louise B.07/28/2010
A tub drain often has hair stuck in it. Pry off the cover and reach in with something like an old toothbrush to snag out the hair and accumulated soap gunk. Hopefully, this glob of hair and whatnot is all that is causing your drain to be sluggish.
I have found that Drano crystals are very effective for dissolving accumulated hair and soap scum.
I don't put any faith in the baking soda and vinegar treatment, as all that does is create air bubbles in the drain. Pouring coke down the drain would also put bubbles in the drain. Why would that work? I know people swear by it, but I just don't believe it! I suspect that baking soda and hot water would help in a kitchen drain, as it would react chemically with grease build up. Drain cleaners are strong bases; baking soda is a mild base -- the chemical reaction would be the same, only not as strong.
I need to unclog a tub drain that has sheet rock pieces in it. The tub is stopped up.
In my bathroom the face basin and toilet drains properly, but the bathtub does not, it drains outside of my house. I ran a snake in the pipe and that did not help, what can I do?
By Lovell from Houston, TX
Try putting 1 cup baking soda in drain. Follow with either 1 cup salt OR 1 cup vinegar. Finish with 1 cup boiling water. If you run out of liquid before all the soda and/or salt is down, you can push it along with a little extra vinegar or boiling water. Wait at least 1 hour before using drain.
I saw a tip using baking soda to unclog a bathtub drain. I didn't bookmark and now can't find it. Can anyone recall the tip?
Okay. What I want to know is if the baking soda/vinegar will work on a clog that is not responding to Drano? (Not completely clogged, but very slow-moving.) Does anyone know? Thanks.
When we recently found that the water in my bathtub was not draining. I discovered that the lever from the overflow cover was broken. I replaced the bathtub overflow cover unit with a new one.
When I completed the replacement, I tested the water in the tub for drainage and the bathtub drained just fine. When I pressed the lever one direction, it drained and when pushed the other direction, it blocked. Two days later the tub will not drain. I removed the newly installed cap and pulled the whole unit that's connected to it out of the overflow pipe, which had a metal cylinder-like tube at the end. I then tried plunging the drain opening on the tub floor, but the water simply came up the overflow pipe out the cover opening back into the tub. It would seem to me that there is more than just dirt as an impediment, but I suspect some part of the system that may be lodged blocking the outflow. Any suggestions what it may be and what can be done to remedy this?
We had that problem too. We snaked the bathroom tub, sink, & stool so many times. The answer came to us when we had to replace the stool. We found a plumber in the yellow pages. Got some good recommendations. They came and snaked the stack! You have to go on the roof for that.
If you can access the stack, rent as big a plumber's snake as possible and to the job yourself. Be sure to ask the rental agency lots of questions, they want their equipment back in good shape too. Be sure to clean the snaket off too. That is just plain common courtesy. You will save lots of little tub snaking jobs in the future.
I use a product called Thrift (this product is recommended by plumbers) to unclog drains. After standing in water in the bathtub, I used the product with no results. Any suggestions will be appreciated. I need to avoid plumber cost.
By Carolyn H.
I have a clogged shower and my toilet drains into the shower. I ran a snake down into the shower and it felt like it was coming out the vent. I ran a hose into the vent and the water came into the shower. Can someone please help?
I had a similar problem, finally called the plumber. There were tree roots getting into the sewer line, he cleared them out.
I need to know if my problem is a pipe clog or a septic problem. The tub fills only to flow from under the toilet and therefore floods the bathroom.
By Martin B.11/29/2013
Pipe clog (unless all your drains are stopped). The clog is below where the drain from the tub joins the drain from the toilet. The wax seal under the toilet is leaking, and water from the tub backs up to the toilet and leaks through the seal onto the floor.
My bathtub has a self close stopper. I took off the little thing connected to a chain that went down in the pipe to open and close the drain. When I did the tub got slower and slower to drain. Is there something dropped down in the pipe that is keeping water from draining out of the bathtub?
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How do you speed up a slow drain?
What helps unclog a bathtub?
Andrea from Clyde, OH
Remove the plug and run the hot water to unclog. There may be hair in the drain. I use a piece of a thin coat hanger or wire with the tip bent like a hook. Try to fish out any hair that might be in the drain. Just clean just below the drain, don't try and shove the wire too far into the drain.Then use a 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar. Pour the soda down the drain (you may need a pin or something to push it down the drain). Then pour in the vinegar and it will start to fizz. Put the plug in as fast as you can and let sit for about 5 min. (02/02/2009)
I've had good results with this drain cleaner: Pour 1 cup of baking soda into drain. You may have to "poke" soda into the drain to get it all in. Pour 2 cups white vinegar into drain. Insert drain stopper and fill sink with water. Wait 2 hrs. remove stopper.
I need some help in cleaning out my bathtub drain. I have used "Plumbers Helper" like it was going out of style but still no results. Plunging has been almost a daily chore and still no relief. How about a few ideas? Help!
Louis from Sarasota, FL
By Red Neck
How can I unclog a tub drain without the use of harmful chemicals?
I have a slow kitchen drain. Anyone have any tips for unclogging it?
Tips for clearing a stubborn or clogged drain. Post your ideas.
I need to know how to remove hair from the bathtub drain. The water cannot go down well, because the drain is clogged up with hair. Please also advise me how to avoid the same problem in the future?
Our kitchen sink is draining slowly. Can anyone help me with this problem?
These ideas may or may not work for a really badly clogged drain, depending on what's clogging it, but it's worth a try.
What can I use besides commercial drain cleaner to clear a clogged kitchen drain?
How can I clean out my bath tub drain? I've pulled out a clog of hair, but it still doesn't drain properly. I don't want to have to hire a plumber.
What is a good way to open a slow drain without taking everything apart?
My tub drains slowly (the only one in the house that does). Do I have to remove the tub, or is there a way to take out the drain plate from the tub so I can see into the drain?