How to unclog a bathtub drain?


It is really annoying to have a bathtub that is blocked, particularly when you want to take a shower or relax in the tub. To your relief, it’s possible that you won’t need to get a plumber to help you address the issue. There are a few different things that could be causing the drain in your bathtub or shower to smell.

It is a possibility that your pipes are home to odor-causing bacteria that are feasting on trash. Hydrogen sulfide gas, which has a pungent odor similar to that of sewage or rotten eggs, will be produced as a byproduct of this procedure. Mold formation on the material that is producing a clog might result in an unpleasant odor. Mold growth is frequent in showers and bathtubs since these areas are warm and moist, which is ideal conditions for mold growth.

NOTE:  It is recommended to seek help from a plumbing professional to ensure you do not damage your bathtub or plumbing. 

The following is a list of some of the methods and products that you can use to unclog your bathtub on your own, whether you get them from the shop or from around the house:

1. Water at Boiling Temperature

Boiling water

Shampoo and soap can clog your bathtub drain with a slimy buildup. To combat the issue, bring a pot of water to a boil and pour it slowly down the drain. Although this tip may not work for all types of clogs, hot water can quickly dissolve the majority of soaps. Try this method first to see if it unclogs the drain; if it doesn’t, it’s time to try another.

Assuming there is no standing water in the bathtub, the next simplest method for unclogging it is the age-old boiling water method. Pouring boiling water down the drain will help you reach areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Chris Wootton, Managing Director of the cleaning service Poppies, explains that boiling water is ideal for dislodging grease and soap that have adhered to one another, as the heat will help loosen them.

2. How to Use a Plunger to Clear a Clogged Bathtub Drain

A plunger is one of the most common tools for preventing clogged bathtub drains. Your level of success will depend on the nature of the clog and the design and size of your drain. Take a plunger and add water to the tub before beginning to vigorously plunge. A small amount of petroleum jelly applied to the plunger’s rim can improve the seal.

“To execute the plunger technique correctly, remove the drain stopper and fill the sink with a few inches of water. Take a sink plunger, not a toilet plunger, and place it directly over the drain before pumping it a few times and pausing to observe if the water begins to drain,’ advises Trinity Owhe, Design Expert, Victorian Plumbing. Repeat this several times until, with any luck, the obstruction is removed.

3. Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda

This all-natural solution may help unclog a bathtub drain if you prefer to avoid using chemicals. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain and allow it to settle for between five and ten minutes.

Next, pour one cup of white vinegar down the drain and let the solution work its magic. Depending on the severity of the clog, you may need to pour boiling water down the drain after the baking soda and vinegar have finished dissolving the icky buildup.

Baking soda and white vinegar are an effective home remedy for clearing a clogged bathtub drain. Pour bicarbonate of soda down the drain and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before pouring white vinegar down it, according to Trinity Owhe, Design Expert, Victorian Plumbing.

‘The chemical reaction that takes place generates a foam-like substance that can help dislodge obstructions and neutralize foul odors. After the mixture has stopped fizzing, be sure to thoroughly rinse it with water,’ she adds.

4. Manual Removal

Simply removing it by hand is a more aggressive approach to learning how to unclog a bathtub drain. You may wish to wear latex or rubber gloves before beginning the procedure. Remove the drain cover and then look down the drain to identify the obstruction. Simply use your fingers to pull out as much hair and other potential clog-causing substances as possible if you observe them nearby.

5. Use a plumber’s snake

Plumber’s snake

A plumber’s snake is a useful clog-removing tool that is available at nearly every hardware store. Slowly feed the snake down the drain until you believe you’ve reached the obstruction. Start turning the snake’s handle in order to pull it back up and out of the drain. Run some water through the drain to confirm that the obstruction has been completely removed.

A 9-foot-long metal plumber’s snake is ideal for removing obstructions that cannot be removed by hand. Ben Chalk, Chartered Construction Manager at GIR Services, remarked that they are simple to use and highly effective.

6. Remove Obstructions That Are Obvious

If your bathtub has a traditional drain stopper on a chain, accessing the drain opening will be simple. Nonetheless, the vast majority of contemporary bathtubs feature an integrated drain stopper, be it pop-up, click-clack (a.k.a. toe-touch), or trip-lever. To gain better access to the drain, it is necessary to remove the obstruction. In some instances, a screwdriver may be required to remove the drain stopper.

After removing the drain stopper – and you may find a hair/gunk clog along with it – examine the drain thoroughly with a flashlight. If any obvious obstructions are visible, use your fingers, small tongs, or a wire coat hanger to remove them.

7. Hire A Local Plumber

Have you done everything to unclog a bathtub drain but the problem is still unresolved? If yes, then it’s about time to hire a local plumber.

In some cases, a do-it-yourself (DIY) plumbing troubleshooting can do more harm than good. If you don’t have the tools and experience to unclog a bathtub drain, it’s best to let an expert do it. Otherwise, you might damage your plumbing fixture, possibly causing a leak or flooding.

Plumbers have advanced tools and equipment to remove the clog in your bathtub drain. They have tiny cameras and sensors to detect the root cause of the plumbing issue. So, hiring one can assure you that the job will be done correctly without damaging your plumbing system.

But not all plumbers are equally good. So, research and choose a licensed plumber from a trusted plumbing company. You can ask for referrals from your relatives and friends to ensure you hire an experienced plumber to address your different plumbing problems.

Choosing a plumbing company with insurance coverage and a service warranty is also a must for your protection from liability and property damage. You may learn more about plumbing and drain services by checking a reputable plumbing contractor’s website, such as

To summarize

Blocked bathtub drains are a typical problem that few households are able to avoid. This is especially true when there are people living in the home with long hair. Because calling a plumber is an investment of both time and money, it’s understandable if you’d rather figure out how to clear a clogged bathtub drain on your own.

Because having a clogged drain can result in a variety of different types of headaches, it is essential to be aware of the proper procedures for unclogging a bathtub drain. You should put these suggestions into practice, but if you run into any problems, you should always seek the assistance of a qualified plumbing provider.

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