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Most of the time, a slow-draining or clogged bathtub drain can be easily fixed without using chemicals. Although you can call an affordable plumber to fix the clog, there are several do-it-yourself quick tricks that professional plumbers do to unclog the bathtub drain. You simply need a few things household items to get rid of the stuff that caused the problem.

Before we explore the different chemical-free solutions on how to unclog a bathtub drain, let us understand the possible causes:

-Hair – We shed 50 to 100 strands of hair every day. Some of these strands go down the drain and get stuck to the sides of the piping. Overtime, strands of hair will buildup and attach to whatever goes down the drain, such as soap scum and dead skin.

-Soap Scum – Accumulation of soap scum can also clog the bathtub. It collects inside the drain and solidifies over time until it creates a blockage.

-Hard Water – Who would have thought that water can be one of the culprits for a clogged bathtub? Hard water contains high mineral content that collects on the side of the pipings and builds up over time. Moreover, water with higher pH levels can worsen the problem and accelerate mineral buildup within the pipes.

-Dirt and Debris – If your kids take a shower after playing outside, dirt and debris can get washed out and quickly accumulate in the drain. This is especially true if the shower has a slow water flow. Let them rinse off outside to get rid of the dirt before bathing.

What You Need to Unclog Your Bathtub

Check your bathtub drain regularly to prevent a clog

In most cases, removing what’s causing the clog in the bathtub drain is relatively simple. It does not necessarily require complex tools to resolve the problem, especially if the clog is not too deep.


The plunger does not only work with toilets, but it can also be used effectively on bathtubs.

How to Use a Plunger:

  1. Take off the bathtub’s stopper and strainer (some bathtubs do not have a strainer).
  2. Clean the strainer or stopper using a washrag or paper towel to remove the strands of hair and soap scums trapped by the strainer or around the stopper.
  3. Fill the tub with water, just enough to cover the plunger to create suction.
  4. Place the plunger over the bathroom drain and press it quickly up and down for 10 to 15 times. If water starts to drain, turn on the hot water to flush out the remaining debris.

Plumbing snake is a more effective solution to stubborn clogs

Homeowner’s Plumbing Snake or Drain Claw

This inexpensive plumbing tool works perfectly on clogs and is widely available in hardware stores. In case you do not have one ready, you can use a wire coat hanger as a substitute. Simply bend it into a straight line with a hook at the end.

How to Use a Plumbing Snake:

  1. Take off the stopper or overflow drain cover of the bathtub.
  2. Clean the strainer or stopper using a washrag or paper towel to remove the strands of hair and soap scums trapped by the strainer or around the stopper.
  3. Carefully insert the snake into the drain and fill the tub with a quarter full of hot water. Continue to push the wire down until it stops. This is most likely where the clog is.
  4. Push the wire up and down while twisting it to work into the clog.
  5. If the water starts to drain, gently pull the wire out.
  6. Replace the stopper or drain cover.

Baking soda effectively dissolves mineral deposits and organic materials

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Both baking soda and vinegar can be easily found in your kitchen cupboard. You only need about 30 minutes to unclog stubborn bathtub drains. You can also try other homemade drain cleaners to unclog your bathtub drain.

How to Use Baking Soda and Vinegar:

  1. Take off the stopper or overflow drain cover of the bathtub.
  2. Clean the strainer or stopper using a washrag or paper towel to remove the strands of hair and soap scums trapped by the strainer or around the stopper.
  3. Pour a pot of hot boiling water into the bathtub drain.
  4. Pour a cup of vinegar and ¼ cup of baking soda into the drain and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Pour another pot of boiling water down the drain and check if the clog is removed by running the water.
  6. Once the clog is cleared, replace the strainer and the stopper.

Why You Should Never Use Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners do more to your drainage pipes

Some homeowners opt using chemical drain cleaners as a quick and hassle-free solution for clogged drains. Unfortunately, drain cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can do far more harm to your plumbing system than good. Even plumbing companies do not recommend using this solution to fix the problem.

Either clear the clog by using the manual techniques or leave the job to the top plumbers servicing your community.

Here are several reasons why it is a good idea to skip chemical drain cleaners:

-Damage the Septic System – Harsh chemicals destroy the beneficial bacteria in the septic tank that help break down the waste. This disrupts the natural process of waste degradation and increases the risk of septic failure, which may require septic repair services.

-Destroy the Pipe – Chemical drain cleaners get rid of clogs by generating heat. However, this results in the softening of PVC pipes and corrosion of old metal pipes.

-Not Always Effective – Chemical drain cleaners are not always effective on stubborn clogs. When it does not work, you may be tempted to pour more to dissolve the clog. Letting it sit for hours, however, can damage your pipes.

-Health Hazards – Drain cleaners are toxic chemicals that produce unhealthy fumes that can irritate the eyes and mucous membranes. If you choose to use drain cleaners, keep children and pets away since their bodies absorb harmful fumes faster than adults.

-Environmental Hazard – Chemical drain cleaners are destructive to the environment. Portions of these toxic chemicals can seep into the water sources and ground areas. Also, tiny amounts of chemicals left in bottles can end up in landfills and contaminate the groundwater, poisoning marine life and wildlife.

To fix stubborn clogs, leave it to a professional plumber

If these home remedies do not do the trick, you can search on the Internet for “plumber near me”. Do not wait for stubborn clogs to get worse. Call Plumbing Authority Inc. immediately at (647) 992-7473 for professional plumbing services. Our team of plumbers in King City are ready to address all your emergency plumbing needs 24/7.