How to Unclog a bathtub

A clogged bathtub drain can be a very frustrating experience. The bathtub drain is one of the most used drains in your home, and it’s not unusual for them to become clogged with hair or soap scum. Your bathtub drains get clogged sometimes, and your bathtub drains slowly or doesn’t drain at all. It can be frustrating. Instead of just taking a shower or bath, your bathtub can turn into a pool of dirty water. If this happens often, you may have a clog in your bathtub drain. Luckily, there are several ways to unclog a bathtub drain.

The bathtub drain may clog in several ways. The most common cause of clogged bathtub drains is hair getting caught in the drain and preventing it from working properly. The accumulation of residue or dirt in the drain can also cause a bathtub to clog.

Unclog a Bathtub

Why is the bathtub clogged?

It may clog your bathtub drain for a variety of reasons. One of them is hair, but there are others. Here are a few:

If you have hard water, calcium deposits can form on your pipes. If you have an older home with improperly joined galvanized or copper pipes, they may leak or corrode, creating a hole through which water can freely flow into your home’s foundation or crawlspace. While newer homes’ PVC pipes won’t corrode, they may leak due to weak joints between sections of PVC pipe or poor manufacturing standards at the factory that made them. These leaks will cause water damage to your walls and floors, as well as a breeding ground for mold spores.

Your bathtub drain may become clogged for several reasons:

  • Hair or lint
  • Soap Scum
  • Food particles
  • Toothpaste
  • Calcium Deposits


You most likely have long hair that you don’t wash frequently enough. It’s not just your hair that gets stuck in the drain; floss and dental implants can also get stuck. To prevent hair from clogging your drains, clean them once a month with baking soda and vinegar or boiling water. You can also try using a drain snake to unclog your bathtub drain, but make sure that the snake is designed specifically for your drain.

Soap Scum:

Another reason your bathtub drain might clog is soap scum. If you use soap or body wash in your shower, it may cause issues with rinsing because it leaves a residue that builds up over time, making it more difficult for water to flow freely through the pipes, resulting in clogs. You can use a drain cleaner to remove soap scum and prevent it from forming. A plunger can also clear the clog.

Food particles:

Food particles can get stuck in the drainpipe and cause a clog. This is especially true if you have young children who like to play in the tub or take baths with their toys!


Toothpaste contains fluoride, which can clog drains if too much is poured down them. Brush your teeth with just enough toothpaste, and avoid commercial products that contain chemicals like whiteners or polishers, as these can harm your pipes.

Calcium deposits

Hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium, which cause mineral deposits around the inside of your pipes. These deposits often form on the inside of your faucets or showerhead over time and in your bathtub drain. While these deposits are usually harmless, they can sometimes lead to clogged drains if they build up enough. You can prevent calcium buildup by using a water softener or a water filter system to reduce the number of minerals in your tap water before entering your home.

The Tools and Materials That You Will Require

  • Wrench
  • Pliers
  • Bucket
  • Rag
  • Screwdriver
  • A Plumber’s Snake
  • Plunger
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Baking Soda
  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Salt

How do you unclog a bathtub?

To unclog your bathtub drain, you’ll need to follow a few steps. It would be beneficial if you always tried clearing the drain first by turning on cold water and watching for any water that comes out of the drainpipe, which could show that there is still hair in the pipe. If there is no water coming out of the pipe, you will need to use a plunger. Slowly plunge the plunger up and down until you can no longer feel the resistance from what is clogging the drain. If that doesn’t work, try pouring a baking soda and vinegar solution down into it. Allow 30 seconds before pouring hot water down the drain. In the following paragraphs, we will delve deeper into this topic.


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How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain with Standing Water


It’s difficult to unclog a bathtub drain with standing water. That’s why you’ll need a plunger, as well as a few other tools. So, let’s look at how you can put this method into practice.

You can start the process after gathering all of this information.

Step 1: Remove the blockage.

Put on your rubber gloves and sift through the water until you find the drain. On top of the drain, you’ll notice some dirt and possibly some soap.

It is essential that you remove them from the water and remove the obstruction.

Remember that you do not unclog the bathtub drain with your hands; you are simply removing the blockage that has accumulated on top of the drain due to the inability of the water to flow down.

It’s also a good idea to repeat this step a few times to ensure that all of the dirt has been removed from the bathtub.

This will make other steps easier than if there was dirt floating around in the water.

 Step 2: Drain as much water as possible.

Grab a cup and begin draining the water from the bathtub. It doesn’t matter if you use this cup or a bucket. The result must be the same – the bathtub must be completely dry.

After removing most of the water with the cup, it’s usually a good idea to use a microfiber cloth to absorb the remaining water. To make this method effective, you must remove as much water as possible.

Step 3: Clear the overflow drain.

Every bathtub usually has an overflow drain, which should be cleaned regularly. So, take an old cloth and begin rubbing inside the overflow drain until it is completely clean.

If you can’t find the overflow drain, it’s usually right under the sink faucet. There will be no difficulties in locating it now.

However, some bathtubs do not have this drain, in which case you can skip this step.

Step 4: Plunging

Now is the time to grab a plunger and begin plunging vigorously until the clog is removed. This, however, will not always work.

A plunger is a good option for clogs that are easier to clean. Otherwise, you’ll need something more powerful to clear the clog.

Place the plunger on top of the drain and ensure that no air is escaping. Then, for a few minutes, start plunging up and down.

That will undoubtedly clear the clog.

Step 5: Fill with hot water

Last but not least, fill the bathtub with hot water and pour it down the drain smoothly. Continue to run the water for about 5 minutes.

You’ll ensure that the drain is clean and that everything runs smoothly this way.

Baking soda and vinegar method

Use baking soda and vinegar as a home remedy for stubborn and difficult-to-clean clogs.

This vinegar and baking soda mixture are extremely effective at clearing clogs from your bathtub drain, particularly if there is standing water in it.

What you need:

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Cup
  • Rubber gloves
  • Wet cloth

Let’s look at how to use baking soda to clear a clog in a bathtub drain with standing water.

Step 1:

Preparation You must first prepare for the entire procedure. This means you must first put on a pair of rubber gloves before beginning. Start by removing large dirt or soap particles from the standing water. This will make the remaining steps go more smoothly.

Step 2:

Drain the tub of all water. Then, using the cup, drain all the water from the tub. It is critical that you attempt to remove as much as possible.

We understand the tub will not be completely dry, but you can try to remove everything.

Step 3:

Flush the baking soda down the drain. After you’ve removed all the water, pour 0.5 cups of baking soda down the drain. This will elicit a response. If you don’t measure the amount correctly, you risk damaging the drain.

Step 4:

Add some vinegar to the mixture. Vinegar now enters the picture. Pour 0.5 cups of white vinegar down the drain and watch the magic happen. Baking soda and vinegar will dissolve every particle in the drain, and you will unclog a bathtub completely in no time.

Step 5:

Insert the drain plug and rinse thoroughly with hot water. To complete the process, rinse the tub with hot water and allow it to drain. Allow the hot water to run for at least 5 minutes. This will guarantee you good results.

Use a plumbing snake

This may be difficult if you are unfamiliar with plumbing snakes, but don’t let that stop you.

If a plunger isn’t working, try clearing the drain with a plumbing snake. A power snake with a 14-inch cable is required. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s available for rent at a tool rental shop. Depending on whether the clog is further up or down the pipe, we insert this handy tool into the drain and turn it in either direction. If you have a bathroom sink or shower, use this method first before trying any other options because they are more susceptible to hair and soap scum buildup than an outside drain.


Remove the overflow plate first. The snake should be inserted into the overflow opening rather than the bottom drain. With one hand, control the snake while the other grips the cable. Take your time. Slowly and firmly insert the cable into the drain.

Step 2:

Don’t be tempted to snake down the drain, even if it appears to be easier. This may cause the pipe to break. Approach the entrance. The cable should not protrude more than a foot from the opening. Keep the cable tight to prevent it from kinking on you.

Step 3:

If the cable bends and you feel it is about to kink, pull it back. Slow down even more if this occurs. A large, hard clog can cause a lot of stress. Pull the cable out now and then to see if the clog has already formed on the plumber’s snake.

The snake’s small bend or hook may assist the cable in moving past the trap. If things become too difficult, try bending the cable slightly.

Step 4:

In most cases, the toilet mainlines and tub drain are connected in less than 10 feet. If you didn’t clear the clog after running more than 10 feet of cable, it could have gone up the vent line and into the drain trap.

Step 5:

If you hear the cable going up the wall, you’ll know it went the wrong way, but it won’t necessarily make a sound if it goes that way. To fix this, try running the cable in reverse from the beginning. This method isn’t guaranteed to work, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have other DIY options for clearing the clog.

Use Chemicals Down the Drain.

You can also try a chemical drain cleaner to clear out any buildup that might cause it to clog. Chemicals designed specifically to clear clogged drains are available in many forms, such as liquid cleaners or tablets. Some even claim to dissolve hair and soap scum buildups, grease, food particles, and other debris that all contribute to a clogged tub or sink drain.

Some of these products perform better than others when you unclog a bathtub or sink drain. We can find instructions on the label. You may have to wait up to half an hour after pouring the chemical down the clogged drain. You’ll have to flush the cleaner with cold water, unlike other methods. All of them, however, must be poured down the drain, left to sit for a few minutes (or even overnight), and then rinsed away.

How do you stop a bathtub drain from smelling?

If your bathtub drain smells like rotten eggs, you probably have sulfur buildup in your pipes. At your local hardware store or home improvement center, you can purchase products designed to eliminate this odor. When the bathtub water drains into an area with limited ventilation (like under a concrete floor), you might require the help of an expert plumber to eliminate the odor permanently by installing an air admittance valve (AAV).


We should avoid bath products that contain oil. If you absolutely must use such products, make sure that hot water is constantly running and that you use a sufficient amount of it. Always ensure that you have a strainer or drain cover in place. You should clean the opening whenever you notice that debris has begun to collect there. When the pipe needs to be cleaned, you can use the method that calls for vinegar, baking soda, and water that has been brought to a boil.