bathtub water

Bathtub drains, much like any other household drainage system, are prone to clogging. The most common culprits are hair and soap residue, but other substances can also contribute to the blockage. In this article, we will walk you through a step-by-step guide on how you can unclog a bathtub drain and prevent future blockages.

Understanding the Clogged Drain Issue

The first step to tackling any problem is to understand its root cause. In the case of bathtub drain clogs, hair, soap residue, bath oils, and conditioner are the usual suspects.

Although it’s not as daunting as grabbing the plunger and unclogging a toilet, if your bathtub has been draining slowly since installation, you may need to consult a professional. This could indicate issues with the gradient of the pipework beneath or a more serious sewerage problem.

Prevention: The Best Form of Cure

Prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to your bathtub drain. If your tub drain is constantly getting clogged, consider making a few changes to prevent it from happening again. A simple strainer can prevent hair from clogging the drain, and regular drain cleaning with ready-made drain cleaners or even just hot water can help keep soap scum at bay. These tactics can also be beneficial for preventing frequent clogs in other sinks around your home.

Step-by-Step Guide to Unclogging a Bathtub Drain

While some cases may need the assistance of your professional plumber, here we have some great step-by-step tips on how to efficiently unclog a bathtub drain.

Step 1: Removal of Obvious Obstructions

Start by removing any visible blockages in your drain. This could be anything from long hair clogs to soap scum. We recommend that you wear gloves.

If you have a traditional drain stopper on a chain, accessing the opening on your bathtub drain will be easy. But most modern baths have integrated drain stoppers which may require a screwdriver to remove. Once you have removed the tub drain stopper, take a good look down the drain and remove any visible obstructions.

Step 2: The Boiling Water Trick

Assuming there is no standing water in your bath, the next easiest solution for unclogging a bathtub is the good old pouring boiling water trick. Boiling water can help clear grease and soap that have stuck together, thus helping things move in your drain.

Pour the boiling water slowly down the drain, ensuring it reaches the clog. Be careful not to splash yourself, and wait a few minutes for the hot water to work its magic.

Step 3: The Power of a Plunger

A plunger can be a powerful tool when you have a bathtub clogged and need it cleared. To execute the plunger technique properly, remove the integrated drain stopper and fill the water up by a couple of inches, then place the plunger directly over the drain and pump it up and down a few times.

Maintain a firm seal with the plunger head throughout each pump, and listen for any gurgling sounds that may indicate the clog dislodging.

This technique can be repeated a few times until the clog is gone. If the bathtub drain clog remains, repeat the process or consider trying our next method.

Step 4: Baking Soda and Vinegar

Cleaning with white vinegar and baking soda (or bicarbonate soda) is a good way to clear a blockage in a bathtub drain. The chemical reaction that occurs creates a strong foam-like substance that might dislodge any debris and unclog a bathtub drain and will also help neutralise unpleasant odours.

  1. Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup of white vinegar. The fizzing action will loosen any stuck-on debris and break down scum.
  2. Let the mixture sit for at least 20 minutes, allowing the reaction to occur and the baking soda to work its magic.

Step 5: The Plumber’s Snake

If your bath and shower drain clog is still refusing to budge, it’s time to hit the hardware stores and tool up and learn how to use a drain snake. Plumber’s snakes, hair snakes and long, flexible pipe cleaners are all brilliant for breaking through bathtub drain clogs further down the pipework underneath your bath.

Choose the right size snake for your bathtub drain and ensure it’s clean and in good condition. Once the snake is removed, run hot water down the drain to see if it’s flowing freely. If the clog persists, try repeating the process or consider calling a professional plumber for more advanced solutions.

What is Safe To Pour Down the Bathtub Drain to Unclog It?

For minor tub drain clogs, pouring boiling water should be your first port of call, as mentioned in step two. In case of severe clogs, you may need to resort to chemicals or unblockers. However, it’s important to remember that these solutions should be used responsibly, as they can potentially damage your pipes.

While you can use a drain cleaner, however, they aren’t kind to your systems. Remember, a clogged bathtub drain doesn’t have to ruin your day. With these tips, you can unclog your bathtub drain and prevent future clogs.

When to Call a Plumber to Unclog Bathtub Drain

While DIY methods can often unclog a bathtub drain, there are certain situations where calling a professional Woden Valley plumber is the best course of action. Here are some key indicators that it’s time to seek expert assistance:

Recurring blockages

If your bathtub clogs frequently, it’s a sign of an underlying issue that needs professional attention.

Standing water on the tub surface

When water rises in your bathtub and refuses to drain, it’s a serious indication of a deep clog or a damaged pipe

Foul smell

If your bathtub emits foul odours even after cleaning, it could be due to a clog that’s trapping organic matter and bacteria.

Signs of pipe damage

If you notice any leaks, cracks, or corrosion around your bathtub drain, it’s a clear indication of damaged pipes.

  • Limited DIY skills: If you’re not comfortable tackling plumbing tasks or lack the necessary tools and skills, it’s always best to leave it to the professionals.
  • DIY methods not working: If you’ve tried all the DIY methods like boiling water, plungers, baking soda and vinegar, and a drain snake without success, it’s time to call a professional.
  • Emergency situations: If you’re experiencing a major plumbing emergency, such as a burst pipe or sewage backup, calling a plumber immediately is crucial to minimise damage and prevent further complications.

Seek Professional Help for Complex Bathtub Clogs

Plumbing problems can often be complex, and attempting DIY solutions without the necessary knowledge and experience can worsen the issue. By calling a professional plumber when faced with a challenging bathtub clog, you can ensure the problem is resolved safely and effectively, providing peace of mind and preventing further damage to your plumbing system.