How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain: A Florida Tech Explains

February 06, 2019

Troubleshooting

If you’re noticing standing water in your bathtub or your bathtub is taking an extended time to drain, you likely have a clog. Lucky for you, there are a few DIY fixes you can try with the help of:

  • A drain claw

  • A toilet plunger

  • Baking soda and vinegar

If your bathtub drain is still clogged after trying the above, we suggest you unclog your bathtub drain with the help of a professional.

Below, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to use these methods to unclog your bathtub drain as well as the importance of hiring a professional if these simple methods don’t work.

Rather have the professionals handle it from the beginning? We get it! Our team of experts can come clean out your drain. If your drain clogs again in 7 days, we’ll fix it for free.

Drain claw

Using a drain claw allows you to clean out hard-to-reach debris. To unclog your bathtub using a drain claw, follow these steps.

Step 1: Get rid of any standing water still left in your bathtub.

Step 2: Remove the stopper and/or strainer that is covering the bathtub drain (not all bathtubs have strainers).

Step 3: Clean off the stopper and/or strainer with a damp washcloth or paper towel. Many times, debris like hair can get caught on the underside of the stopper or strainer. This could be the source of your clog.  

Step 4: If your drain is still clogged, slowly lower the drain claw into the drain, first clearing out any visible clogs and then moving farther into the drain. Using the hook at the end of the drain claw, pull out any material that is clogging the drain.

Step 5: Turn the water on and test to see if the clog is cleared.

If the drain is still clogged…it’s probably time to call a professional. You don’t want to risk damaging your pipes or pushing the clog further into your piping.

Note: If you don’t have a drain claw handy, a pair of needle nose pliers or a bent wire (like a wire hanger) will probably work depending on how deep the clog is.

Toilet plunger

As gross as they may be, they work! This method is usually inexpensive (most people own a toilet plunger) and easy. Below we’ll explain how to unclog your bathtub with a plunger.

Step 1: Remove the stopper and/or strainer from your bathtub drain.

Step 2: Fill the bathtub with enough water to cover the base of the plunger, usually this is just a couple inches of water. This will allow the plunger to create suction and unclog your drain.

Step 3: Place the plunger over your bathtub drain and...You know the drill. Plunge your drain for about 15–20 seconds.

Step 4: If you see dirty water or debris, this method is likely working. The pressure created will usually be enough to break up the clog.

Step 5: Rinse your bathtub with hot water, washing any broken-up debris away.

If your drain is still clogged, try a few more minutes of vigorous plunging. If this doesn’t work, move to a different method.

Baking soda and vinegar

Rather than using drain cleaning chemicals (which often harm your pipes), using these household items can help to quickly unclog your drain.

Step 1: Remove your drain stopper and/or strainer.

Step 2: Heat a few cups of water and pour this hot water down your drain.

Step 3: Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the bathtub drain.

Step 4: Mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of hot water and pour this solution down the drain, on top of the baking soda.

Step 5: Wait for 10–15 minutes. You should hear fizzing noises (this means the solution is working).

Step 6: Pour another few cups of hot water down the drain to flush out the clog.

Step 7: Replace your drain stopper and/or strainer.

Drain still clogged? Contact a professional

If you’ve exhausted all of these methods and still have a clogged bathtub drain, it’s time to call a professional. Unless your clog is easy to reach and dislodge, attempting to fix it on your own could cause serious issues like:

  • Damaged pipes

  • Expensive repairs

  • Clogging your drain/pipes further

A professional not only has more extensive knowledge about drains, but has access to tools (like a drain snake) that can help with more extensive or harder-to-reach clogs.

Note: Tools like a drain snake are complicated and can cause extensive damage if used incorrectly. It is better to hire a professional to use tools like this than to rent or buy them.

Need a professional to unclog your drain?

Our team of experts is experienced in drain cleaning and can quickly diagnose and fix your issue. 

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