How to Unclog Your Bathtub

If you are experiencing a slow draining bathtub, chances are it is clogged. Most clogs can be resolved without the services of an experience plumber, so before you call, try these solutions.

Clean the Drain

Remove the drain cover and clean underneath the surface of the drain. Some drains are pre-installed with stoppers, so remove the stopper by unscrewing it from the assembly. You may need to use a bent coat hanger to remove the hair and debris underneath the drain.

Straighten the metal coat hanger out, and then make a small hook in the end. Use the hanger to pull out any hair or debris found under the drain. Be careful when using the hanger not to push inward, as this only makes matters worse.

Flush with Hot Water

Once you have removed all the gunk you can from the drain, use hot water to flush the drain. Do not put boiling water down your drains, as this can melt away rubber or wax sealants, but use hot water either heated on the stove, or direct from your tap. Let the water stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Make a Natural Cleansing Mixture

Combine 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of vinegar and quickly pour it down your drain. The mixture will begin to froth up immediately, and the fizzing action helps to release any debris stuck in or around the pipe.


Fill your tub with enough water to cover the drain. Using a plunger, give it about ten pulls to ensure the clog is cleared.

Snake the Drain

A plumbing snake can be purchased inexpensively at any hardware store. The spring steel cable is designed to fit up to 25 feet into the drain pipe. Insert the snake into the drain and crank it through until you feel the clog. Once the clog is felt, crank the snake a little further to push it loose, and then crank it back in to remove the clog.


Using a shop vacuum, you can remove many simple clogs. The pressure is usually enough to break loose hair and other debris, but may be ineffective for clogs that are further down the pipe, or grease and grime.

Call the Plumber

If none of the above methods worked to release your clogged drain, contact a plumber. Avoid using any over-the-counter plumbing liquids, as these can increase damage to already damaged pipes. The chemicals are a great way to eat away the clog, but keep in mind that they are capable of corroding your metal pipes.

The plumber is able to come in and determine the real cause of the drain issue and quickly get it resolved without further damaging your pipes or drain system.

About Preferred Plumbing & Drain

Preferred Plumbing & Drain has been providing plumbing services to the Oakland and surrounding East Bay areas since 2004. Preferred Plumbing & Drain is a Licensed Contractor (Contractors License #856944) and a PHCC member.

With Preferred Plumbing & Drain, the estimate is always free and there is no extra charge for nights, weekends, or holidays. There are no trip or travel charges. And you approve the estimate before any work is started.