Skip to Content

How to Clean a Bathtub Drain

Sharing is caring!

There are many ways to clean a bathtub drain, but here we will focus on just a few: natural cleaners, zip snake tool, plunger, and boiling water. If your clogged drain is draining slowly, you should address the problem before it becomes a larger issue.

How do Bathtub Drains Get Clogged?

First, let's talk about ways bathtub drains get clogged. A clogged bathtub drain can be caused by many things. It can be a plugged drainpipe, or it can be a clog from hair, soap scum, or other debris that gets stuck in the drain. If your bathtub drain is clogged, you will need to have it unclogged.

There are several methods of unclogging a bathtub drain. You may be able to clear a clogged bathtub drain on your own, but if this doesn't work, you'll need to call a professional plumber to help. Most of the methods below don't use chemicals.

Why Use A Drain Cleaner?

The most common reason to use a drain cleaner is to prevent clogs and blockages in your drains. If you have a clog, it can be difficult or impossible to remove with a plunger alone. Pouring a chemical drain cleaner will break up the debris, unclog the drain and allow the water to flow freely again. There are many different types of drain cleaners on the market.

The best chemical drain cleaners for your particular needs depend on the size of your home, the type of fixtures in your home, and the types of materials in your drains. Always review the manufacturer's instructions because these vary from product to product. Slowly pour the drain cleaner into the drain and let it sit for the amount of time indicated in the product instructions.

Use a Plunger

If you have standing water from a clogged bathtub drain, use a plunger to clear it out. This can save you a lot of time and energy. This can release the clog and allow water to drain again. If this doesn’t work, call a plumber or try one of the other ideas below.

Baking Soda & Vinegar Natural Bathtub Drain Cleaner

The first thing you can do is use a simple homemade cleaner, made from baking soda and white vinegar. It’s a quick and easy way to get rid of the gunk that builds up in the drain and it works great. To use, pour some baking soda into the drain. Add 1 cup of vinegar and stir well. Pour into the tub and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse with hot water.

You can also try a combination of vinegar and dish soap. Simply mix 2 tablespoons of each and pour down the drain. Let it sit overnight or longer if you have time. Rinse with hot water. If your drain is clogged, you may need to call a plumber to clear it. Most plumbing companies offer same-day service so you don’t have to wait until the next day to get help.

Pour Boiling Water into a Sluggish Bathtub Drain

If your bathtub drains are sluggish, it may be time to call a plumber. But, before you do, it is worthwhile to try a few tricks and potentially save money.

Poor boiling water directly down the drain. Follow this with hot water flushing the drain for about 20 minutes and then let it sit for a few hours to let the steam evaporate and help unclog the drain. After a few hours, run water again to see if the bathtub or shower drain clog is fixed. This can work well for small clogs.

Unclog a Bathtub Drain with a Plumber's Snake Tool

A plastic plumber's snake tool uses barbs to grab hair and other debris clogging bathtub pipes. Using a snake tool to clear clogged drains is easy enough. If you are having trouble clearing out a drain, we have some tips that may help. If you are using a snake tool, make sure you have the right size snake.

You can use the following tools to find the right size: Use the inside diameter of your drain as a reference. Make sure you have the right length of snake. The recommended length of snake is at least four times longer than the inside diameter of your drain. There are a variety of sizes at the hardware store, or you can try your luck with a metal clothes hanger.

  1. Turn off the water supply and remove the drain cover. 
  2. Lift the tub drain stopper with a stick, wire, or needle nose pliers. Be careful not to pull it out too quickly or you could damage the drain pipe. If the plug is stuck in place, use a screwdriver to pry it up. Steps
  3. Once you have the plug out, use a small amount of dish soap mixed with warm water to loosen the clog.
  4. Clean the area around the drain with a brush to remove any debris that might have built up around the drain. 
  5. Remove the old stopper and replace with a new one. 
  6. Turn on the water supply again and test the faucet. If there are no leaks, then you’re all set!


  • Jessica McCoy

    Jessica McCoy is a seasoned food blogger with 14+ years of experience in the industry. As a self-taught home cook, she enjoys creating and finetuning easy recipes that are fool proof and simple for anyone to make. Her expertise is in all things kitchen: cooking tips, air fryer recipes, Instant Pot and other pressure cooking recipes, and slow cooker recipes. Jessica was the previous owner of AllSheCooks, where she focused on easy every day recipes including budget friendly dinner recipes and desserts.

Sharing is caring!

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Easy Sandwich Recipes
← Previous
Instant Pot Spanish Rice Recipe
Next →