Clogged Bathtub Drain? Try These 4 Tips Before Calling a Plumber

It’s always a pain when you end up swamped in four inches of slow-draining water during your shower. Cleaning the tub can be a hassle as it leaves a residual ring of soap scum around the corners. If you're having drainage problem, here are 4 do-it-yourself remedies that target common bathtub clogs. These simple tips can save you a call to the plumber!

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar Mixture

This old time remedy never seems to go away. The classic combination of baking soda and vinegar can be used to clean every part of the bathroom and kitchen, and the bathtub drain is no exception.

To make the mixture, boil some water in a kettle, and pour half of the hot water down your clogged drain, reserving some of the liquid for later. Then, mix a 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of white vinegar in a separate bowl and pour the liquid down the drain. Leave the liquid to sit for about 10-15 minutes. Proceed to pour the reserved boiling water down the drain, which should help clear any blockages.

2. Use a Plumbing Snake

Plumbing snakes are an inexpensive necessity to have around the house; you can find one at your local hardware store for $25. The tool will break up any sediment that is clumping together. The spiral coil at the end of the tail, the auger, allows you to fish out the clog from the pipe. Before using the snake, you’ll have to remove any screen coverings or obstructions to the drain opening. Depending on your shower or bathtub, this could be a drain covering on the floor of the shower or a metal overflow plate on the side of the bathtub. In order to remove the overflow plate in a bathtub, you will need pliers and a screwdriver.

Once the drain opening is clear of any screens, take the auger end of the snake and slowly insert the coil into the pipe. Continue to lower the auger deep into the pipe until you feel the blockage. When the snake is unable to move any further, take the handle of the snake and begin a rotating motion as if spinning a wheel. Rotating the coil will cause the auger to pick up any hair or clumps within the pipe, and as you pull out the snake, you can use a paper towel to remove and clean off the sediment. Repeat as needed.

3. Try a Plunger

By utilizing air pressure, a plunger can forcefully clear away blockages and break up any clogs in the pipe. First, remove the drain covers or stoppers from the drain’s opening. Place the plunger over the drain opening, and pump the plunger to create suction. Without letting go of the suction, fill the bathtub with enough water to cover 1-2 inches of the plunger, and begin to pump the plunger with water from the tub. The suction and air pressure combined with the force of the water will create enough motion to move and break up any clogs or debris within the pipe, thereby clearing the pathway.

4. Avoid Overusing Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners can be effective and helpful to clear out the gunk in your pipes, but we don’t recommend using this strategy often. Drain cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can damage and corrode your pipes, which will require pipe replacement and cost you more money in the long run. If you find that you have repeated incidents of a clogged drain, the problem may be that the clogs are too deep in the pipe. In this case, it will require an expert to properly remove the culprit.

Problem Not Going Away? Let Us Help.

If none of these remedies are working to clear your drain, or if you notice that you have multiple clogged drains in the home such as the sink and the toilet, you may have a problem in the main sewer line. Other red flags to note include colored water (brown, red, yellow), or foul-smelling water coming up from the drain. If you see any of these signs, you should call a professional plumber immediately.

Mr. Clean Plumbing has 35 years of professional experience in plumbing, electrical, and custom remodeling services, and can quickly offer you the right diagnosis and solution to your drain problem. Whether it’s a concern with the main sewer line or issues with low water pressure, Mr. Clean Plumbing offers 24 hour, 7 days a week, full emergency services at a reasonable cost to satisfy a happy customer. Call 562-809-0485 to find efficient and quick help for your home!