How Do I Unclog My Tub?
It doesn’t matter how diligently you clean the hair from the bottom of the bathtub, the drain will eventually slow down or clog. That’s because it’s impossible to catch all the hair. In addition, shampoo and soap can cause gunk to build up in the pipes over time.
Clearing the drain is inconvenient and gross, but it’s usually not a difficult job. Start by removing the stopper and using a flashlight to look for obvious obstructions like a hair clog. These can usually be cleared with your fingers, small tongs, or a wire coat hanger.
If that doesn’t work, use a drain snake (readily available from any hardware store) to break up blockages further down in the pipe. Push the snake down the drain slowly until you reach the clog, then carefully turn the handle of the snake to bring it out. You may need to use the snake a few times to completely clear the clog.
Since you’re already visiting the hardware store, it’s also a good idea to invest in a sink plunger (which is not the same as the one you use for the toilet). The proper technique includes creating a vacuum by plugging the tub’s overflow with a washcloth or removable putty, placing the plunger directly over the drain, and pumping it up and down a few times. To create a better seal, try putting a small amount of petroleum jelly around the rim of the plunger.
As long as there’s no standing water in the tub, another trick is to pour boiling water down the drain. The heat will activate stuck-together grease and soap and help get things moving again.
For a little more “oomph” – and if you enjoyed those volcano experiments when you were a kid – you can try baking soda and white vinegar. Pour some soda into the drain, let it sit for about 15 minutes, then add the vinegar and wait for the eruption. One advantage of this method is that it also neutralizes odors. Be sure to rinse the tub thoroughly when you’re done having fun.
If none of these tips prove effective, or if unclogging a drain just isn’t your idea of fun, consult with the