How to Unclog Your Bathtub Drain

If your bathtub drain was clogged itself, do not waste your money to call a plumber, if you may clear the drain yourself, especially if the flow has not totally stopped.

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Usually, the main cause of a clogged drain is dried soap, which is likely to build up in your bathtub drain after every use, mixed with hair, dead skin particles, oils and bacteria. Therefore, any kind of bathtub tends in time to clog and knowing what to do can save you a lot of money.

First, you should take a look at your bathtub drain, maybe you can isolate what stops the water flow. Many causes can be obvious, other less evident. Sometimes hair and dirt can just accumulate on top of the drain or maybe can be more complicated and the clog to be somewhere inside the drain.

Therefore, many times you can easily unclog your drain by reaching the clog and pulling it out. In fact, this is the clog type that occurs usually and can be removed easily.

It is not so simple when you have to deal with an unseen clog. First, you need to study the type of your drain stopper. Many drains have pre-installed stoppers that can be removed quite easily. You need just to twist it to unscrew and remove the plate. Then you can pull out carefully the stopper assembly. When you have this kind of stopper, chances are very high that this hairy clog to be on the surface. So, using a bent wire hanger, you can reach and get into the clog mass and to pull it out.

However, removing the drain stopper is the best solution in any situation, even if the clog is deep inside. Only in this way, you can use effectively a plunger or a snake.

Using a Plunger

What can you do with a plunger?

Using a plunger you can usually, push the clog more inside the drain to a point where is the least resistance. However, you need to have ready a large amount of hot water into a bucket.

Pour the hot water into the bathtub and then use your plunger and check from time to time if there are any signs of water flowing.

You can pour also, a cup of distilled vinegar into the drain let it set for a couple of minutes then pour again hot water and proceed with your plunger. Vinegar will help to soften the clog.

However, the plunger will not always unclog your tub drain. Many times this stoppage is too deep inside or too coagulated to be broken apart.

Using a Drain Snake

A drain snake, even a manual drain snake is more likely to do a better job than a plunger is. It has a catcher at the end of its coiled cable that will get into the mass of the clog and will pull it out piece by piece.

Although a manual snake does not have a very long length, it is still enough long to reach the clog. You need only to spin the manual crank that is build into the coiled cable, and extract periodically the cable out to clean the catcher.

However, usually your drain is connected to municipal sewer system so you need a longer drain snake in order to go all the way and to reach the blockage has formed. Generally, these types of snakes are operated by an electric motor. It is mandatory to take all the precautions prior using these electric drain snakes to ensure your safety and the pipe integrity. It is quite expensive to replace a drain.

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Using Chemicals

Using chemicals can be considered an inexpensive way to unclog your bathtub drain. They are quite efficient but do not forget that they are extremely dangerous chemicals.  They practically dissolve and “eat” the clog cleaning this annoying blockage.

There are a lot of these “drain opener” types but the best are the gel or foam ones.  It is a smart idea to check before using if they are compatible with your type of drainage pipe. You do not want to cause a corrosion, which could be catastrophic for your bath sewerage.

NOTE: Keep these dangerous chemicals away from children and avoid direct contact with your skin or clothing.

Using a Professional Plumber

If no methods listed above work, you should take in consideration using a professional plumber, who will flush the drain and make all the necessary repairs.

It is true that it is the most expensive method, but it is the latest and safest alternative.