The Wrath in the Bath

How to Unclog
a Bathtub

Why Is the Bathtub Clogged?

Your bathroom probably has more drains than any other room in your house, which means there’s a higher likelihood you’ll end up with some sort of bathtub or shower clog. Luckily, it’s easy to unclog a bathtub.

Bathtub or shower drain clogs can result from a number of things. How to unclog the bathtub drain depends on how sever the drain clog is. Hair is the most likely culprit of drain clogs — especially if someone in your household has long hair. But even if no one in your home has long locks, hair fallout from shampooing or shaving in the shower may lead to buildup and may clog bathtub drains.

Soap scum and the buildup of debris like dirt or sand may also lead to blockages that slow your drain and can eventually cause a full clog. To learn how to unclog a bathtub read our tips below.

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How Do You Unclog a Bathtub?

Step 1:

To fix a bathtub clog, start by removing the bathtub stopper or strainer from the drain. The strainer is the piece that probably resembles a mini pasta strainer.

All bathtub drains are different, so it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for removing stoppers and strainers. Some drains are easier to pull out with just your fingers. Some may require pliers or a wrench.

You can usually remove the bathtub strainer by either lifting it up with your fingernail or wedging a flat screwdriver underneath it and lifting. But, consult any instructions provided to you by the manufacturer to know the best way to unclog a bathtub drain. If you need to remove some screws, make sure they don’t fall down the drain.

Step 2:

Next, run the water to test the bathtub drain flow. You may need to push down through the clog with a drain stick and pull out any gunk or debris you can loosen.

Step 3:

Then, use Liquid-Plumr® Clog Destroyer Plus+ Pipeguard™ or Liquid-Plumr® Hair Clog Eliminator™ to dissolve the bathtub drain clog. These two drain cleaners can also be used periodically to help maintain your bathroom and bathtub drains and helps prevent clog-causing buildup.

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How Do You Unclog a Shower Drain?

Step 1:

Unclogging a shower drain is similar to how you unclog bathtub drains. Start by removing and cleaning the stopper and strainer and remove as much drain-clogging gunk that you can using a drain stick or a snake.

Step 2:

Then, use Liquid-Plumr® Clog Destroyer Plus+ Pipeguard™. When used as directed, this formula dissolves the toughest drain clogs, eliminates drain odors and helps prevent future clogs with regular use. This drain cleaner is safe to use to unclog bathtubs, show drains and other bathroom drains.

Step 3:

After you think the drain clog is gone, flush the drain with hot water to make sure it’s unclogged. Turn on the faucet to see if water drains quickly and easily. If there is still a drain clog, repeat the steps for removing it.

If the bathtub or shower clogs persists, it may be time to call in a professional plumber. For more information, check out our article How to Know When to Leave it to the Pros.

And, try pouring two cups of Liquid-Plumr® Clog Destroyer Plus+ Pipeguard™ down your drain monthly to prevent slow draining showers (and bathtubs).

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How Do You Snake a Bathtub Drain?

If you have a clogged bathtub (or a clogged bathroom drain), your drain may need to be snaked. You can snake it yourself with Liquid-Plumr® Double Impact™, which comes with a single-use 23” drain snake to help you dislodge gunk manually. The thick, clog-dissolving gel will get rid of the rest of the debris.

Step 1:

To use a disposable snake, insert it into your drain and move it downward into the P-trap. Keep moving it so that it bends around the P-trap, and go as far as possible. Then, pull up the snake and throw it away.

Step 2:

You can get rid of what’s left of the drain blockage by pouring the Liquid-Plumr® Double Impact™ gel formula into the drain. Let it sit for 15 minutes then flush with hot water.

How Do You Get Hair Out of a Drain?

Step 1:

To unclog a bathtub drain and get hair out of your drain, start by removing and cleaning the drain stopper and strainer.

Step 2:

Then, use a drain stick to pull out the clog. Use Liquid-Plumr® Clog Destroyer Plus+ Pipeguard™ or Liquid-Plumr® Hair Clog Eliminator™ to dissolve the remaining clog-causing gunk.

If anyone in your household has long hair, it’s a good idea to use Liquid-Plumr® products regularly to prevent the buildup of hair in your drains.Always clean your bathtub and shower drain regularly to avoid clogged drains.

For more information on hair clogs, check out our article How to Deal with Hair Clogs.

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How Do You Stop a Bathtub Drain from Smelling?

There are a couple of reasons that your bathtub and shower drain may smell.

There could be odor-causing bacteria feeding on debris in your pipes. This process with give off a foul-smelling hydrogen sulfide gas, which smells like sewage or rotten eggs.

Also, it’s common for mold to grow in bathtubs and showers — where it’s warm and wet — and mold growth on the debris causing a clog can cause a bad smell.

You can try deodorizing bathtub drains and help shower drain smells with a combination of baking soda and vinegar. These ingredients, when used together, can also sometimes help to clear clogs.

All you need to do is pour a pot of boiling water down the bathtub drain. Then pour a mixture of one cup baking soda and one cup vinegar into the drain. Insert the drain plug, or close the filter, and wait 5–10 minutes. Finally, flush the drain with another pot of boiling water.

For more information on this process, check out our article Do Baking Soda and Vinegar Solutions Clear Clogs?

For information on how you can use Liquid-Plumr® products, visit our FAQs page.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO: wear gloves when removing your bathtub drain stopper and strainer or snaking your drain.
  • DO: use Liquid-Plumr® products periodically in order to prevent the buildup of drain-slowing (or drain-stopping) clogs.
  • DO: call a professional plumber if you have a recurring bathtub clog or one you can’t clear on your own.
  • DON'T: ignore a slow bathtub drain as it probably means there’s a partial clog that should be addressed before it becomes worse and leaves you with standing water.
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