Clearing a Clogged Bathtub Drain

Clearing a Clogged Bathtub Drain, Pulling Hair From Clogged Drain

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.


Solutions: Clearing a Clogged Bathtub Drain

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Use Bleach Once a Month to Keep Drains Clear

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

Tip: Tools For Unclogging the Bathtub

Tools For Unclogging the Bathtub

I was so happy to find these handy tools at Lowe's. No more using wire to unclog the bathroom sink, and the cute little bathtub plunger, was so colorful to pass up!

    Tools For Unclogging the Bathtub

    By Robyn [369]

    Tip: Fixing a Slow Tub Drain

    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

    Tip: Retrieve Long Hair in a Plugged Shower Drain

    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.

    Question: Using Baking Soda to Unclog a Bathtub 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?


    Most Recent Answer

    By Leela09/21/2009

    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.

    Question: Mystery Blockage in Bathtub

    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?

    By Joe


    Most Recent Answer

    By Grandmama [3]12/31/2012

    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.

    Question: Tub Drains from Under Toilet Onto Floor

    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 Amy

    Most Recent Answer

    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.

    Question: Shower Drain Clogged

    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?

    By Ernster

    Most Recent Answer

    By Ginnee [2]10/07/2013

    I had a similar problem, finally called the plumber. There were tree roots getting into the sewer line, he cleared them out.

    Question: Unclogging a Bathtub

    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

    Most Recent Answer

    By Chantal [18]04/10/2011

    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.

    Question: Drain Cleaning

    What is the best way to clean a tub drain?

    By Barbara from FL

    Most Recent Answer

    By Louise B. [6]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.

    Question: Cleaning A Clogged Drain

    I need to unclog a tub drain that has sheet rock pieces in it. The tub is stopped up.

    By Linda

    Most Recent Answer

    By zekegriggs03/31/2015

    Would love answer because I have been having tub clogged 3 days.Liquid plumber and can drano crystals. Help!

    Question: Bathtub Draining Slowly

    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?

    By Shelia

    Question: Clogged Bathtub Drain

    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.


    Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

    Archive: Fixing a Slow Drain

    How do you speed up a slow drain?


    RE: Fixing a Slow Drain

    http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf91432402.tip.html This same question was posted on thrifty fun and here are some remedies. (04/30/2008)

    By MCW

    RE: Fixing a Slow Drain

    Hi Beth! None of the tips posted on the link above worked for me last time I had this problem, so I bought a product at Menard's called Instant Power Hair and Grease Dissolver. It comes in a tall black plastic bottle, inside of a clear plastic bag, like a baggie. I poured about 2 cups of it into my (bath) drain, and by the next morning the drain was completely clear! I also realized what was causing my problem, it was the body wash I had been using, one of the "cream" types. It was good for my skin, but awful for my drain! Made it greasy and a trap for hair and dirt. You might want to give it a try. :) (05/02/2008)

    By Kayray

    RE: Fixing a Slow Drain

    The Menard's fix sounds interesting. I never use chemical products that might harm the drain. I use my garden hose to clear all drains. It even works on the toilet unless there is an unusually tight clog. Simply hook the hose to a faucet (I try to hook it to my basement stationary tub faucet so I get hot water which is more effective). Use one of nozzles on the hose that is the skinny type if you have one, and push it down the drain as far as possible, then pack wash cloths or rags all around to keep the water from coming back into the basin or tub that is slow. Have a friend turn the water on full force while you hold the nozzle into the drain. Let the water run for several minutes...at least 5. The drain should clear, but if not, I'd try it again only longer. It helps to do this process at the wall of a sink and sometimes you will discover the clog is in the trap (curved pipe) under the sink and can easily be cleaned out by hand, eliminating the need to use the hose. (05/02/2008)

    By Cass

    RE: Fixing a Slow Drain

    Put some baking soda followed by vinegar in the drain on a regular schedule. Maybe once a month helps keep it running smooth. (05/03/2008)

    By WIsgal

    RE: Fixing a Slow Drain

    Hi. I frequently use the method of pouring baking soda in the drain and then vinegar. However, I do heat my vinegar in the microwave before pouring it in on top of the baking soda. But stand back, because it really steams up. You can hear the gurgling, then I run hot water afterwords and watch the little whirlpool because the water runs so much faster. (05/05/2008)

    By dianna

    Archive: Unclogging a Bathtub

    What helps unclog a bathtub?

    Andrea from Clyde, OH

    RE: Unclogging a Bathtub

    If you do a search on bathtub drain, you will see some entries about using baking soda and vinegar. I tried it on my slow flowing drain and it helped quite a bit. You put the baking soda in, then pour the white vinegar into the drain and you will see a lot of foaming. Some say to follow that with hot water. I did notice that it did not work as well on my Mom's drain but she has a permanent screen that covers the drain - she can't remove it to clean hair or anything out of it, so it is a real pain. (01/29/2009)

    By KL

    RE: Unclogging a Bathtub

    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)

    By PICO

    RE: Unclogging a Bathtub

    I have discovered a wonderful tool - It is a hose bladder. You connect it to a garden hose and place it down the drain clean out (overflow), insert it past the trap. Turn on the water and when there is enough pressure built up on the line it forces the clog out into the sewer system. No Chemicals- I have 1 bathroom and 5 kids (3 girls with lots of hair) and even with a screen we get clogs often. I can clear a drain in about 10 min. and don't have to worry about and chemicals in the tub. Hope this helps. (02/03/2009)

    By shoegirl847

    Archive: Drain Cleaning Tip

    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.

    RE: Drain Cleaning Tip

    Tried this in my bathroom sink that has been draining slow for months. I even cleaned out the trap a couple of months ago with no help. This did the job! (09/01/2008)

    By Scott

    Archive: Unclogging a Bathtub

    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. How about a few ideas?


    Archive: Unclogging a Bathtub

    What do you do for a clogged tub drain?

    By Truitt

    RE: Unclogging a Bathtub

    Here is a list of websites I found regarding this problem:

    Hope this helps. (04/06/2009)

    By Robyn Fed

    RE: Unclogging a Bathtub

    The hair might be higher up, not down in the drain. Here is what I did, and some other suggestions:
    http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf78187185.tip.html (04/06/2009)

    By Mary T

    RE: Unclogging a Bathtub

    You can use a thing called "Zip-It" (or a similar product) that you should find in the plumbing aisle at your local hardware store. It's a thin plastic strip with thorny looking things along the sides. Push it down your drain as far as it will go then slowly pull up to remove hair (likely what's clogging your tub). Since you have already used chemicals to try to unclog your tub be VERY CAREFUL when pulling out the hair. The chemicals could splash up and get on your skin or in your eyes. Once you have unclogged your tub, you can put a hair catcher either inside your drain (usually metal) or on top of your drain (usually plastic) to prevent hair from going down and clogging your tub again. (04/06/2009)

    By lah34a

    Archive: Unclogging a Bathtub

    How can I unclog a tub drain without the use of harmful chemicals?