What To Do With A Clogged Bathtub Drain

Whether you own or rent your home, chances are some day you will have to deal with a clogged bathtub drain. Sometimes bathtub clogs build gradually over days or weeks, and other times they seem to happen overnight. The end result is the same: you find yourself up to your ankles in standing water while you’re taking a shower. Gross. Luckily, most bathtub drain clogs are relatively easy to fix. Here are a few ways you can unclog that pesky drain without using harsh chemicals.

Boiling Water/Plastic Drain Tool

If your bathtub drain is getting a little sluggish, boil a large (4 quart) pot on the stove, then slowly pour it down the drain. Wait fifteen minutes and repeat. This should remove any soap and oil that has begun solidifying inside the pipes, which can slow down water flow.

Alternatively, you can use a Zip-It plastic drain tool to remove hair clogs near the drain mouth. These are cheap and available at any hardware store. You would be surprised how much hair and accumulated scum you can remove from the first 6-12 inches of your bathtub drain pipe. These two methods work best when the clog is in the beginning stages. If your bathtub clog is more serious, you may have to use a heavier-duty method.


The good old-fashioned plunger is a plumbing standby, and for good reason. When used correctly, it can remove some mighty tough clogs. First, remove the metal cover from the overflow drain (the hole located below the tub faucet) and cover it with duct tape. Next, fill the tub with enough water to cover the plunger head. Do not place the plunger straight down onto the drain, but roll it into place so that the inside of the plunger fills with water. Once it is in place over the drain, move the plunger up and down quickly five or six times, creating suction inside the pipes. Finally, pull the plunger straight up forcefully to remove it from the drain. Repeat a few times, or until the clog comes loose.

Drain Snake

If the plunger fails, try using a metal drain snake. These can be bought at your local hardware store for as little as $10. If you’ve never used one of these, it’s actually very simple. You feed the metal snake into the overflow drain (not the drain in the bottom of the tub), then turn the plastic handle clockwise to work the snake into the pipes. Once it is in as far as it can go, simply reverse the process, turning the handle counter-clockwise until the snake comes all the way back out. Remove any hair or debris the drain snake pulled out.

Call A Professional

If none of these methods work, it’s probably time to call a professional. The problem may be something more serious than a simple hair clog. Most plumbers advise against using chemical drain cleaners, like Drano. Not only are they bad for the environment, but they can actually weaken and corrode your pipes over the long term. Instead, give Shoreline Sewer and Drain, LLC a call. We’ll arrive quickly at your home and provide you with an accurate and free estimate. We offer drain cleaning services in Port Charlotte, North Port, Sarasota, Englewood, Venice, Punta Gorda, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Arcadia, Florida.