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Clearing a Clogged Bathtub Drain

Category Plumbing
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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By 8 found this helpful
June 29, 2009

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.

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By Sandy from Elon, NC

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By 1 found this helpful
March 30, 2011

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

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By 1 found this helpful
January 15, 2009

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!

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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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By 3 found this helpful
April 15, 2014

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!

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August 17, 20170 found this helpful

A natural solution for clearing a drain is using using vinegar, baking soda, and boiling water. While effective on moderate drain clogs, you must make sure all of the baking soda is flushed from your drain or it can create an even worse clog when it dries and becomes hard.

A jar of baking soda and a bottle of vinegar.

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October 6, 20131 found this helpful

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

Answers

October 7, 20130 found this helpful

I would try pouring about 1/4 cup of dawn dish detergent down the drain and let it sit for 15 minutes then follow it with a kettle of hot water and then do a little plunging.

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October 7, 20130 found this helpful

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

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December 27, 20121 found this helpful

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

Answers

December 27, 20120 found this helpful

I have had to plunge the bathtub also from time to time. You have to cover any other openings when you plunge the bathtub or the plunger wont work very well. I wish I had more to advise than this!

Blessings and good luck on the bathtub!

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December 31, 20120 found this helpful

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.

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November 19, 20130 found this helpful

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

Answers

November 20, 20130 found this helpful

Since no one has answered yet, I'll take a guess. You might have a leak somewhere under the tub, or even a hairline crack if your tub is fiberglass. The water flows to the lowest point first, this being under your toilet, then proceeds to flood the floor. Sorry I am no better help than this.

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November 24, 20130 found this helpful

Hopefully, you have called a plumber on this. There are many reasons for such situations, but it is not something one fixes oneself. You are always better to report the symptoms to the professional, and let them figure out how to fix the problem.

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November 29, 20130 found this helpful

You want to know whether it's a drain clog or a septic problem. If some of your drains are working it's not a septic problem, it's a blockage where the drain from the tub joins the drain from the toilet, or just below that. In that case, water from the tub can back up toward the toilet. There's a wax seal between the toilet and the floor, and if that seal is not perfect, then water backing up to the toilet will leak onto the floor.

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November 29, 20130 found this helpful

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 6, 2011

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

Answers

April 7, 20110 found this helpful

Did you try 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar close the drain tightly, let stand for 30 minutes, and pour one gallon hot bubbling water.

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April 10, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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July 21, 2010

What is the best way to clean a tub drain?

By Barbara from FL

Answers

July 28, 20100 found this helpful

My plumber told me to use a half cup of bleach in each drain. Let it sit overnight and then in the morning run hot water, especially good on the kitchen (grease). It also is good removing soap gunk in the bath drain. But if you have a clog from roots or even hair, you need to snake the drain.

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July 28, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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By 3 found this helpful
February 17, 2010

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

By Linda

Answers

March 31, 20150 found this helpful

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

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January 16, 20140 found this helpful

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

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By 0 found this helpful
August 26, 2013

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.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

November 3, 20090 found this helpful

I have a slow kitchen drain. Anyone have any tips for unclogging it? I know I've seen answers to this in the newsletters but I can't find where I filed them.

- Linne Dodds

Answers:

Drain Cleaning

Mix 1 c. salt and 1 c. baking soda, pour down drain followed by 1 c. vinegar. It will boil and bubble, cleaning out the drain. When all the bubbling stops follow up with a lot of hot water. Hope this helps. (05/10/2001)

By Connie

Drain Cleaning

The best kitchen drain cleaner I've ever used is: 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup baking soda sprinkled into the drain; pour 1/2 cup vinegar over it and let sit for about 15 minutes. Pour boiling water (I usually just use hot tap water) over it for several minutes. This flushes the drain nicely, removes grease and/or hair buildup, and keeps the drain open for a long, long time. Even my husband was impressed with how effective it is! (05/10/2001)

By Jennifer

Drain Cleaning

Using a septic tank treatment in the drain every month will keep it cleared out. If you have a disposer use the rubber plug that came with it to stop up the non disposer side, then fill the disposer side with water. Hold the plug in the non disposer side down firmly and turn the disposer on. The disposer will turn into a water pump and force the clog out. (07/05/2005)

By Plumber

Drain Cleaning

Baking soda and hot water, or simply boiling water are often enough to clean the sink.

When you use baking soda and vinegar together, they bubble and create CO2, but they don't react with the grease in the clog. Products such as Drano are a strong base, and they react with the grease in the clog and dissolve it (base+grease=soap). Baking soda is a milder base, and so will work in the same way. (01/05/2009)

By louel53

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April 6, 20110 found this helpful

I need to unstop bath tub drain. It is loaded with hair.

By Beffy from Dayton, OH

Answers:

Unclogging a Bathtub

I've used tweezers to get most of mine out. After that I use the white vinegar and baking soda remedy. I also bought those screen plug drain things for all my drains. I found mine at my local flea market. (10/11/2010)

By keeper60

Unclogging a Bathtub

"Nair" will do it very fast if the problem is hair. It is made to dissolve hair on your body and it will do the same thing in your sink. (10/12/2010)

By Lilac

Unclogging a Bathtub

On the Mr. Fix-It show on WGN radio, Saturday morning, Lou Manfordeni suggested using a 'Drain Claw' to remove hair from drains. It costs about $5.00, and is sold at most ACE or True Value Hardware stores. He also suggests some drain cleaner with the word CAT in the name. (Can't remember complete name, maybe something like Black Cat.) Give the drain claw a try. (10/12/2010)

By WIsgal

Unclogging a Bathtub

I think the ladies who have thought to use Nair (or any other product such as that) are brilliant. I would try just fishing out the hair with a wire or pliers or part of a coat hanger bent into a loop. I also use an old toothbrush. If that doesn't do the trick, use Nair.

I don't see how vinegar and baking soda will do anything, but bubble. Do they dissolve your hair if your put the solution on your head? Of course not! What they do is react together to make salt water and carbon dioxide, hence, the bubbles. (10/12/2010)

By louel53

Unclogging a Bathtub

Do you have an afghan crochet hook, can you borrow one? It is a crochet hook that is long and straight like a knitting needle. Hopefully you can reach into the drain with it and pull out the hair. (10/12/2010)

By knitter926

Unclogging a Bathtub

Use Clorox (about 2 cups) and boiling water. Alternate between the two. Give the Clorox time to "eat" up the hair. Trust me this works every time. You may have to use a whole bottle of Clorox and keep redoing it, but it will clear out any drain. (10/13/2010)

By Bythec42

Unclogging a Bathtub

Use a wet/dry vac, just don't turn it on till you have the nozzle firmly over the drain opening. Works like a charm and no chemicals. (10/21/2010)

By work smart

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March 29, 20110 found this helpful

My tub drains slowly (the only one in the house that does). I am sure there isn't a clog. I have an enamel tub, so I removed the plate, and when I gently pulled it out there wasn't a chain. I don't know if it a plunger type or a ball. 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?

By George from Berlin, MD

Feedback:

By rygobus 10/29/2010

Sometimes when a bath tub drain is slow, there is an accumulation of hair and crud in the drain between the tub and the trap. Trap cleaners rarely clear these obstructions. There is a tool available at most home stores that is just right for this job and it only costs a couple of dollars. Find a Zip It, they work great!

Good luck. Rygobus

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October 23, 20100 found this helpful

What is a good way to open a slow drain without taking everything apart?

By Charlie from Las Vegas, NV

Answers:

Fixing a Slow Drain

I use vinegar and baking soda every week to keep my drains running smoothly and odor free. Dump baking soda down the drain, then pour vinegar in after. The acidity of the vinegar and the bubbling action will help keep drains clear. (07/01/2010)

By sassieroses

Fixing a Slow Drain

Also, have you tried the salt and boiling water? There was a post this past week, too, by a man that puts coffee grounds down his drain and never has slow drains, search that out on this site for more details. Good luck! (07/02/2010)

By mom of towers

Fixing a Slow Drain

Try using boiling water, I mean water boiled in a pot or teakettle, not just very hot from the faucet. This should help dissolve whatever is clogging the drain. As you may have to do it several times, while waiting for the next container of water to boil you could use the vinegar/baking soda combination. (07/11/2010)

By AnnmacC

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October 10, 20100 found this helpful

I need information on how to unclog a bathtub drain.

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July 21, 20100 found this helpful

How do you clear a clogged pipe for the sink or tub?

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June 29, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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June 10, 20100 found this helpful

What can I use besides commercial drain cleaner to clear a clogged kitchen drain?

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March 8, 20100 found this helpful

How do you unstop a clogged drain line?

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February 17, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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February 15, 20100 found this helpful

Our kitchen sink is draining slowly. Can anyone help me with this problem?

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January 7, 20100 found this helpful

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?

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November 19, 20090 found this helpful

Tips for clearing a stubborn or clogged drain. Post your ideas.

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October 3, 20090 found this helpful

What can I do to open a slow moving drain?

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August 4, 20090 found this helpful

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

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April 23, 20090 found this helpful

What do you do for a clogged tub drain?

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April 6, 20090 found this helpful

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?

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February 19, 20090 found this helpful

What helps unclog a bathtub?

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December 30, 20080 found this helpful

I've had good results with this drain cleaner: Pour 1 cup of baking soda into drain.

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October 1, 20080 found this helpful
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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