Bathtub Drain Clearing Methods

Bathtub drains often get clogged by hair, soap and residue. Bathtub drain clearing can be done inexpensively and without a plumber in most cases. If a clog is too severe, the bathroom drain clearing may have to be performed by a professional with the proper equipment.

Clearing Minor Clogs

Many minor clogs can be fixed by removing the drain stopper and clearing out anything that is visible. Sometimes it is the stopper itself that is doing the clogging, with hair and soap residue coating it. In these cases, removing the stopper and thoroughly removing anything wrapped around it is a quick bathtub drain clearing solution.

If the stopper itself is clear, there still may be a clog that is located shallowly enough that it can be reached easily. If there is no clog visible that can be removed with the fingers, a straightened coat hanger may be able to reach the clog and pull it out.

If the clog is located too far within the drain pipes for this to be effective, a regular toilet plunger can often bring the clog to the surface. The plunger should be used in the same way it is used on a toilet clog. It may be helpful to fill the bathtub with a few inches of water to assist the suction and make this bathtub drain clearing method more effective.

Clearing Major Clogs

When a tub clog is more severe, it may require a chemical solution. A baking soda and vinegar mixture will work for many stubborn clogs. A half cup of baking soda should be poured into the drain, followed by a half cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain and allow the mixture to stand for a few minutes.

Then, boil a pot of water and pour it down the drain. The mixture should cause fatty acids in the clog to dissolve, and the boiling water will wash it away. If this method of bathtub drain clearing is not effective, it can be repeated several times. If this method still does not work, stronger chemicals may be needed.

There are many drain cleaners on the market that are caustic to the skin, harsh on the lungs, and still are ineffective on clogs. Some of them can also cause harm to pipes and drain fixtures. Before using any commercial drain cleaner, make sure to read the directions and make sure that it will be safe for your plumbing system or septic tank. The bathroom must be very well ventilated and thick gloves should be worn when working with any type of drain cleaner.

When A Home Remedy Will Not Work

For a clog that is stubborn enough to resist all home remedies, a plumber should be called. Someone with a great deal of plumbing experience can rent a drain snake from a local hardware store to fix the drain themselves, but unless you possess that level of expertise, it is best to let a plumber tackle the slow tub drain problem.

Plumbing snakes in the hands of someone without experience can cause a great deal of damage to both the plumbing lines and the expensive bath fixtures in the tub. If any chemical drain cleaners have been used, you must tell the plumber this before he begins using the snake so that he can wear protective gear to avoid being splashed with the chemicals. After snaking the lines and removing the clog from the deep recesses of the pipes, your slow tub drain problem will be solved.

One type of bathtub drain clearing cleaner that is much less harsh is a bacteria-based enzyme cleaner. These cleaners will eat the organic matter in the drain to dissolve the clog, and will not harm the pipes.