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Top Three Ways To Unclog Your Bathtub Drain


The bathtub is not only the one of the most used plumbing fixtures in the house. But like most commonly used things comes the downside of having to repair them when they stop working correctly. The bathtub drain will commonly get clogged with hair and will slowly become so clogged that the bathtub will not drain until the water is completely off and even then will take up to 30 minutes to drain.Top Three Ways To Unclog Your Bathtub Drain

The bathtub uses something called a “trip lever” as the waste system on the tub. There is also a p-trap connected to the trip lever assembly but most of the time the p trap will not be clogged and just the drain will be full of hair and can be cleaned out in a number of ways.Depending on how much hair or debris are clogging the drain will depend on what method will work best for you, so that is why we are giving you three ways to save money by unclogging your drains yourself. The tools and supplies you will need can be purchased at any local home center. If for any reason you feel you can not do any of these steps or methods, it may just be best of you hire a licensed plumber or drain cleaner to do the job for you. Now lets get to the top three ways to clean your clogged bathtub.

How To Unclog Your Bathtub With A Snake:

If you have an electric snake or a manual cable snake you will have to clean out the tub drain the same way. What you will want to do first is to get a flat head screwdriver and remove the two screws that hold the trip lever face plate on. Once you remove those two screws you can pull the face plate towards you and remove the drain stop. Now that you have the trip lever out you can remove the bathtub drain grate by removing the screw in the center of the drain. On most trip levers this is a single Philips head screw that will need to be removed. If you have a touch toe tub drain which pops up and down, you will have to unscrew the drain by turning it counter clockwise.

Once you have the bathtub drain cover off and the trip lever out you will first want to remove any visible hair or debris that is in the drain that was under the grate. Next you will want to remove and hair or debris that is wrapped around the tub trip lever. Once you have cleaned all the visible hair from these pieces [trip lever & drain], you can now take your snake and stick it in the tub drain where you pulled out the trip lever stop. Stick your snake down a little a time until you feel that you have reached the stoppage and then retract your snake and remove the blockage from the end of the snake. If you feel that you have removed everything and then tub line is now clear you will want to test the bathtub drain to make sure that it is fully clear now. To do so, just fill up the tub about half way and then drain the water and see how long it takes to drain. Toward the end, when the tub has a few inches of water you should start to see what looks like a min water tornado, which means the drain is fully open.

How To Unclog Your Bathtub With Liquid Plumber Or Drano:

If you do not have a snake and choose that you want to use liquid plumber or some other type of liquid drain cleaner, there are a few things that you can do first to make it work better. One of the things you can do to make the liquid Drano or plumber work better is to remove the bathtub drain grate or pop up and try to remove any hair that you may see. Once you remove any visible hair, try running the drain to see if you will still need the liquid drain opener anymore.

If your tub drain is still clogged after you have removed the hair you will want to follow the detailed instructions on the bottle of your liquid plumber, as some “off brands” may require longer times before using the bathtub. Some of the major names in liquid drain cleaning like liquid plumber and Drano can actually unclog your drains quickly if used correctly. Always be sure to check the instructions on the container it comes in.

How To Unclog Your Bathtub With A Plunger:

The plunger can be a very effective tool when it comes to unclogging drains and most people do not even know that you can use a plunger to unclog a tub. You will need to do a few things before you start to plunge. The first thing you will need to do is to remove the tub trip lever face plate and clog the trip level opening with a wet rag so when you start to plunge the tub drain you can avoid splashing water from the top of the trip lever, this also will give you more suction when using the plunger.

Now that you have the rag in the trip lever you can start pushing up and down on the plunger until the water starts to drain from the tub. If you have been plumbing for a while and the bathtub drain is still clogged you will either want to try another way to unclog the bathtub or maybe hire a licensed plumber or drain cleaner. Each way to unclog a bathtub drain that is listed above may work in some cases and not work in others. It is always best to try to determine for yourself which method may be best for you since you know your plumbing best. often there are frequently asked questions, so here is some of them with answers.

Problem: “My Tub has no drain cover, now what do I do?”

Solution: If your tub does that have a drain cover then just look in the drain and see if you see anything stuck in it like soap chips and hair.

Problem: “My tub still drains slow after using liquid plumber”

Solution: Even though some of these more common and well know liquid drain openers do a good job in most cases, sometimes is just necessary to use something a bit stronger to clear the stoppage such a drain cleaning machine or manual snake.

Problem: “I dropped soap down my drain and now its clogged”

Solution: This usually happens when there is no drain cover on the bathtub drain. If the soap that has clogged the drain is visible try removing it.

Problem: “I just had a professional Roto-Rooter company clean my bathtub drain and It’s still clogged”

Solution: Sometimes the drain will have a “soft stoppage” and when the snake goes through it will unclog it a bit but not completely and over time it will quickly clogg up. Call the drain cleaning company back up right away and ask them to come and look at what is going on. There could be additional problems with your drain or something just could have been missed. Its always better to call them right away.

Problem: “I have tried everything but my tub still won’t drain”

Solution: It may now be time to call a licensed professional to come and and properly clean your bathtub drain.

Problem: “Where can I buy a plumbing snake?”

Solution: You can buy a plumbing snake a plumbing supply house or a local home center like Lowes or Home Depot.

The three ways listed above are all the most effective ways to clean and unclog your bathtub drain using basic tools. If you have any types of physical limitations you may not want to do this yourself as it will require some awkward positioning as well as a bit of strength to plunge and to snake the tub drain.


  1. Hi There,

    I own a motel and in one building with 4 rooms in it, the shower in 2 of the rooms is clogged up and its the 2 rooms back to back. I tried to run snake but if i put snake in one shower, it comes out of another shower. Called the pro to do the job and he tried snaking from the roof pipe opening and all other openings but no use. He even blocked all the openings and tried 80 pounds air pressure. repeated it 4-5 times and drain cleared up a little but again got clogged as soon as we turned the water on in shower. pro says it has to be jack hammered now. any suggestions

  2. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and
    wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog
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