Picture this: you're taking a nice, relaxing shower and then, out of nowhere, you realize that water is pooling below you and coming up past your ankles. Before you take another shower, you're going to have to unclog the tub drain. But what do you do?
Chemical drain cleaner may come to mind first, but this is a harmful way to unclog drains for a few reasons. First, repeated use of harsh chemicals can damage your pipes and lead to trouble later on. Second, pouring toxic substances down the drain pollutes the municipal water supply.
It’s much better to use natural methods and home remedies to unclog a bathtub drain.
Here are some recommendations on how to unclog your bathtub:
Remove easy-to-reach gunk
Start by removing the stopper. If your tub has a pop-up drain plug, insert a screwdriver under the cover, loosen the screw, and remove the plug. As you lift it out, you may find that hair and other debris have accumulated here. If you’re too grossed out to remove this gunk by hand, bend a wire coat hanger into a hook using needle-nose pliers. Then, fish out any foreign material from the drain with this handy tool.
Sometimes, simply removing and cleaning these parts will get things moving. Send a blast of hot water down the drain to finish the job. If the tub still backs up, the blockage is located further down, and you’ll need to try other home remedies to unclog the bathtub drain.
Pour boiling water down the drain
Boil a large pot of water and pour it slowly down the tub drain. The goal is to dissolve the soap scum and dislodge the hair buildup. Pouring a cup of baking soda followed by one cup vinegar can also loosen things up.
Use a plunger
With the stopper removed, you can clear the drain with a plunger. First, you should plug the overflow drain to create a vacuum. To do this, remove the cover plate below the bathtub faucet and insert a washcloth or hand towel into the hole so air can’t escape.
Next, set the plunger over the drain and fill the tub with a few inches of hot water. Apply several thrusting motions to attempt to get things moving.
Use a plumber’s snake
If the clog remains despite your efforts with a plunger, it’s time to break out the heavy artillery. An auger, or plumber’s snake, features a long, flexible cable with a coiled spring at one end and a hand crank on the other. You can purchase or rent one for the job.
Insert the cable into the drain and turn the crank until you reach the blockage. Push and pull the cable to help it become embedded in the clog. Then, turn the crank in the opposite direction to pull the cable back out. If the coiled spring comes up empty, try inserting it into the overflow drain to clear blockages that lie beyond the drain trap.
If you suspect your bathtub is clogged, give us a call and we can help!