How to Keep Your Bathtub Drains Working

Plumbing is one of the greatest inventions of modern history. It means we don’t have to cart water from streams and rivers, nor dispose of it via buckets that break our backs. It’s not without its inconveniences, however, and bathtub drains can be a source of frustration when they don’t work as they’re supposed to.

Clogging is a bug-bear for lots of people. Considering that the bathtub is where we get clean, it’s odd to think that we’re transferring all our bodily grime to the plumbing system … and there it stays until we are forced to do something about it.


Nobody likes clogged bathtub drains yet everyone is responsible for causing them. If they remain clogged, you’ll have problems with water back-up, drainage and odors so sooner or later, you have to bite the bullet, get in there and dig out all that gross stuff that you know is lurking just out of sight.

Some bathtub drains have removable parts that allow you to put your fingers – or tongs – in and pull out the hair, soap bits and other matter. If yours doesn’t, however, you might need to pour a commercial-strength solution such as Drano down the drain. Just be very careful as these products are caustic, follow all instructions and exercise caution.

You can actually prevent clogs by mixing up a wonderful, safe mixture and pouring it down your kitchen, basin and bathtub drains on a weekly basis. It’s environmentally friendly too which is always a bonus. Simply mix together a cup of salt, a cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of cream of tartar. Follow with a couple of cups of boiling water to flush it through.

The plunger method

A plunger is another way of unclogging bathtub drains and even though it is effective, it might take a little practice to learn how to do it. Apply some Vaseline to the plunger rim, which will create a seal between the plunger and the drain. Put the plunger over the opening of the drain then run a bit of water into the bathtub.

Apply the plunger vertically and get a good grip on it. Plunge firmly and deliberately to encourage good suction, and that’s what’s going to unclog your drain. You will have to repeat it a number of times, and make sure you hear the squelchy, sucking sounds or it’s not working. Eventually you’ll dislodge whatever is causing the clogging and your drain should open up properly again.

Getting serious

If you’re really having problems dislodging the gunk in your bathtub drains, then you might need to call a plumber, or at least borrow a plumbing snake that you feed down into the drain to physically try to move the blockage along.

That blasted ring!

Ah yes, the ring around the tub. It’s not so difficult to remove, it’s just a pain to have to do it. But what about dirty bathtub drains? They seem to collect everything and need a concentrated effort to shine them back up again. Just make it a regular little task and use mild cleaning agents so as not to damage the appearance.

If yours is kind of far-gone, then you might need to fill the tub with water and add some bleach to really get stuck into it. Otherwise, an application of some paste made with water and bicarbonate of soda will clean off stains and grime.

Bathtub drains may seem like an insignificant element in your home but just like your floors, door hinges and light fittings, they too require maintenance and care to keep them functioning properly.

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