How to Unclog Bathtub Drain: Easy DIY Methods

How to Unclog Bathtub Drain

Introduction

What is a clogged bathtub drain?

A clogged bathtub drain is a blockage in the drainpipe that prevents water from flowing freely. Clogged bathtub drains can be caused by a variety of factors, including hair, soap scum, grease, and food particles.

Why do bathtub drains clog?

Bathtub drains can become obstructed for various reasons. Some of the most frequent causes encompass:

  • Hair: Hair is one of the most common causes of clogged bathtub drains. Hair can get caught in the drainpipe and build up over time, forming a clog.
  • Soap scum: Soap scum is a residue that is left behind when soap and water combine. Soap scum can build up in the drainpipe and clog the drain.
  • Grease: Grease can come from a variety of sources, including cooking oil, body lotion, and shampoo. Grease can coat the inside of the drainpipe and make it difficult for water to flow freely.
  • Food particles: Food particles can get washed down the drain and clog the drainpipe.

How to prevent bathtub drains from clogging

There are a number of things that you can do to prevent bathtub drains from clogging:

  • Install a drain strainer: A drain strainer will catch hair and other debris before it enters the drainpipe.
  • Clean the drain regularly: Use a drain cleaner or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to clean the drain on a regular basis.
  • Avoid putting grease and food particles down the drain: When possible, avoid putting grease and food particles down the drain. If you must put grease down the drain, be sure to flush it away with hot water.

Common types of bathtub clogs

The most common types of bathtub clogs are:

  • Hair clogs: Hair clogs are caused by a buildup of hair in the drainpipe.
  • Soap scum clogs: Soap scum clogs are caused by a buildup of soap scum in the drainpipe.
  • Grease clogs: Grease clogs are caused by a buildup of grease in the drainpipe.
  • Food particle clogs: Food particle clogs are caused by a buildup of food particles in the drainpipe.
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How to identify the type of clog in your bathtub drain

To identify the type of clog in your bathtub drain, you can try the following:

  • Look at the standing water in the bathtub: If the water is greasy, then the clog is likely caused by grease. If the water is hairy, then the clog is likely caused by hair.
  • Use a drain snake: Insert a drain snake into the drainpipe and see if you can feel the clog. If you can feel the clog, then you can try to dislodge it with the drain snake.

How to choose the best method for unclogging your bathtub drain

The best method for unclogging your bathtub drain will depend on the type of clog. If you have a hair clog, you can try using a plunger or a drain snake. If you have a soap scum clog, you can try using a drain cleaner or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. If you have a grease clog, you can try using a chemical drain cleaner. If you have a food particle clog, you can try using a wet/dry vacuum.

Methods for unclogging a bathtub drain

1. Using a plunger

How to choose the right plunger

Cup plungers and flange plungers are the two primary types. Cup plungers are the most common type of plunger and are best suited for unclogging bathtub drains. Flange plungers are better suited for unclogging toilet drains.

When choosing a cup plunger, make sure to choose one with a large cup that is specifically designed for sinks and bathtubs. The cup should be large enough to cover the entire drain opening.

How to position the plunger over the drain opening

Place the plunger over the drain opening so that the cup creates a good seal around the opening. Make sure that the cup is completely submerged in water.

How to create a good seal with the plunger

To create a good seal with the plunger, press down firmly on the plunger handle. This will create a vacuum that will help to dislodge the clog.

How to use the plunger effectively

Once you have created a good seal with the plunger, plunge up and down vigorously for a few minutes. Be sure to apply a lot of force to the plunger handle.

If the clog is severe, you may need to plunge for several minutes before it is dislodged.

2. Using a drain snake

How to choose the right drain snake

There are two main types of drain snakes: manual and electric. Manual drain snakes are less expensive, but they require more effort to use. Electric drain snakes are more expensive, but they are also easier to use.

When choosing a drain snake, it is important to consider the size and type of clog that you are trying to remove. For small clogs, a manual drain snake should be sufficient. For larger or more stubborn clogs, an electric drain snake is a better choice.

How to insert the drain snake into the drainpipe

To insert the drain snake into the drainpipe, remove the drain stopper or strainer. Then, insert the end of the drain snake into the drain opening and crank the handle to feed the cable down the pipe.

Be careful not to over-crank the handle, as this could damage the drainpipe. If you feel resistance, stop cranking and try to twist the handle to dislodge the clog.

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How to feed the drain snake down the pipe

Once the drain snake is inserted into the drainpipe, crank the handle to feed the cable down the pipe. Continue cranking until you reach the clog.

If you cannot reach the clog with the drain snake, you may need to remove the P-trap. The P-trap is a curved pipe that is located under the sink or bathtub. It is designed to trap debris and prevent it from entering the sewer line.

To remove the P-trap, loosen the nuts that hold it in place. Once the P-trap is loose, remove it carefully and pour out any debris that is trapped inside.

How to use the drain snake to dislodge the clog

Once the drain snake has reached the clog, twist the handle to try to dislodge it. You may also need to crank the handle to feed the cable further into the pipe.

Continue cranking and twisting the handle until the clog is cleared. Once the clog is cleared, flush the drain with hot water to remove any remaining debris.

Using a chemical drain cleaner

How to choose the right chemical drain cleaner

There are two main types of chemical drain cleaners: acidic and alkaline. Acidic drain cleaners are more effective at dissolving clogs, but they can be more corrosive to pipes. Alkaline drain cleaners are less corrosive, but they may not be as effective at dissolving clogs.

When choosing a chemical drain cleaner, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • The type of clog: Acidic drain cleaners are best for dissolving clogs caused by hair, soap scum, and other organic matter. Alkaline drain cleaners are best for dissolving clogs caused by grease and fat.
  • The age of your pipes: If you have old pipes, it is best to avoid acidic drain cleaners, as they can corrode the pipes and cause leaks.
  • The type of material your pipes are made of: Some chemical drain cleaners are not safe to use on certain types of piping, such as plastic or cast iron.

How to use a chemical drain cleaner safely

Chemical drain cleaners can be harmful if not used correctly. Here are some safety guidelines:

  • Always read and carefully follow the directions on the product label.
  • Wear eye protection and and eye protection when using a chemical drain cleaner.
  • Open a window or a door to allow for proper ventilation in the area.
  • Avoid splashing the chemical drain cleaner on your skin or clothing.
  • If you do get the chemical drain cleaner on your skin or clothing, rinse it off immediately with water.
  • Never mix chemical drain cleaners with other cleaning products, such as bleach.

How to flush the drain after using a chemical drain cleaner

After using a chemical drain cleaner, it is important to flush the drain thoroughly with hot water. This will help to remove any remaining chemicals from the drain and prevent them from corroding the pipes. To flush the drain:

  1. Pour a gallon of warm water down the drain.
  2. Wait 10 minutes.
  3. Pour another gallon of warm water down the drain.
  4. Continue flushing the drain with hot water until you are sure that all of the chemicals have been removed.

If you have any concerns about using a chemical drain cleaner, it is always best to call a plumber.

Tips for unclogging a bathtub drain

How to clear a clogged drain stopper or strainer?

Most drain stoppers and strainers can be removed easily by hand. If the stopper is stuck, you can use a pair of pliers to grip it and pull it out. Once the stopper is removed, inspect it for any debris that may be causing the clog. If you see any hair or other debris, remove it and then rinse the stopper thoroughly.

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How to remove hair from a bathtub drain?

Hair is one of the most common causes of bathtub clogs. There are a few different ways to remove hair from a bathtub drain. Using a drain snake is one option. Insert the end of the drain snake into the drainpipe and crank the handle to feed the cable down the pipe. Once you feel resistance, twist the handle to try to dislodge the clog. Another way to remove hair from a bathtub drain is to use a wet/dry vacuum. Attach a hose to the vacuum and insert it into the drainpipe. Turn on the vacuum and suck up the hair and other debris.

How to unclog a bathtub drain with baking soda and vinegar? 

Baking soda and vinegar can be used to create a chemical reaction that can help to break up and dissolve clogs. To unclog a bathtub drain with baking soda and vinegar, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then rinse the drain with hot water.

How to unclog a bathtub drain with a wire hanger? 

If you have a wire hanger, you can use it to unclog your bathtub drain. Unbend the hanger and shape one end into a small hook. Insert the hook into the drainpipe and fish around for the clog. Once you have found the clog, hook it and pull it out. Be careful not to scratch the sides of the drainpipe with the hanger.

How to unclog a bathtub drain with a wet/dry vacuum?

A wet/dry vacuum can be used to suck up hair and other debris from a bathtub drain. To unclog a bathtub drain with a wet/dry vacuum, attach a hose to the vacuum and insert it into the drainpipe. Turn on the vacuum and suck up the hair and other debris.

Troubleshooting

What to do if the plunger doesn’t work

If the plunger doesn’t work, try using a drain snake. Drain snakes are long, flexible metal cables with a coil or auger at the end. The coil or auger can grab onto the clog and dislodge it.

To use a drain snake, insert the end of the snake into the drainpipe and crank the handle to feed the cable down the pipe. Once you feel resistance, twist the handle to try to dislodge the clog. Once the clog is cleared, flush the drain with hot water to remove any remaining debris.

What to do if the drain snake doesn’t work

If the drain snake doesn’t work, you may need to use a chemical drain cleaner. Chemical drain cleaners are potent substances capable of dissolving blockages. However, it is important to use chemical drain cleaners carefully, as they can be harmful to your skin and eyes.

To use a chemical drain cleaner, follow the directions on the product label carefully. Ensure you don gloves and eye protection while using a chemical drain cleaner. Once you have poured the chemical drain cleaner down the drain, wait the amount of time specified on the product label. Next, rinse the drain with hot water.

What to do if the chemical drain cleaner doesn’t work

If the chemical drain cleaner doesn’t work, you may need to call a plumber. Plumbers have specialized tools and equipment that they can use to clear clogs that other methods cannot.

What to do if you accidentally spill chemical drain cleaner on yourself or your belongings

If you accidentally spill chemical drain cleaner on yourself or your belongings, flush the area with water immediately. If the chemical drain cleaner gets on your skin, wash the area with soap and water for 15 minutes. If the chemical drain cleaner gets in your eyes, flush them with water for 15 minutes and call a doctor immediately.

How to prevent bathtub drains from clogging again

Here are some tips on how to prevent bathtub drains from clogging again:

  • To catch hair and other debris use a drain strainer .
  • Clean the drain strainer regularly.
  • Refrain from disposing of grease, oil, or fat down the drain.
  • If you have hard water use a water softener .
  • Flush the drain with hot water after each use.

When to call a plumber

If you have tried all of the above tips and your bathtub drain is still clogged, you may need to call a plumber. Here are some signs that it is time to call a plumber:

  • The clog is severe and you cannot clear it yourself.
  • The clog is causing water to backup into the bathtub or shower.
  • You hear strange noises coming from the drainpipe.
  • You smell a foul odour coming from the drain.

If you are unsure whether or not you should call a plumber, it is always best to err on the side of caution and call a professional.

Learn more: DIY Drain Cleaning, Homemade Drain Cleaner Without Vinegar, Homemade Drain Cleaner Without Baking Soda, Homemade Drain Cleaning

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