How to Unclog a Bathtub

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Drains are the underappreciated components of our hygiene systems that make sure our gunk isn’t coming back up into our homes. The bathtub drain in particular takes in a lot of pressure from the gush of water that goes through the pipes each time we finish a soak.

Since bathtub drains take on such important tasks in the bathroom, clogged drains can be a nightmare for any homeowner. What causes clogged drains, and how to fix a clogged bathtub drain? In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of getting rid of those clogs once and for all.

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The Different Ways and Methods to Unclog a Bathtub

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain?

Unclogging a bathtub drain means to remove any obstruction that is blocking the flow of water to go into the pipes. The clog may be as shallow as a few inches beneath the drain, to an extensive clog that accumulated through the pipe system. 

DIY: Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are a power duo that keeps your drains clear of any clogs that may be obstructing water flow in your tub drains. Simply pour a cup or two of the powdered soda down the drain, and follow suit with some distilled white vinegar. Be sure to use distilled white vinegar as apple cider vinegar may leave a yellow or brown stain on the surrounding area of the drain.

Allow the mixture to bubble and work its magic by dissolving any obstructions that may have been caused by mineral deposits, soap scum, and any oil residue from body cleaning products. 

After letting the mixture sit for around 10 minutes, pour boiling water into the bathtub drain to rinse out the clog from the pipe walls. Let the drain cool before using. Best to flush out the drain with warm water from the tap to clear any remaining residue.

Commercial: Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaners are powerful and corrosive solutions that can dissolve practically any obstruction from a clogged bathtub drain. A commercial drain cleaner can conveniently remove a bathtub drain clog, but will need to be handled very carefully so as to not get the corrosive solution onto your skin.

There are plenty of options available on the market to easily clear out that clogged bathtub drain. Some may require you to rinse with boiling water, while others require you to leave the solution overnight. Follow the instructions that come with your cleaner to make sure that you are using the product correctly and safely.

Take precautions when handling commercial decloggers, as these can burn your skin, and the fumes from the declogging action can damage the lining of your respiratory system. Don a mask, eyewear, and wear thick gloves when handling these products. 

Professional: Call on a Plumber

A slow bathtub drain can be indicative of a deeper problem, and a professional plumber will be able to fix that clogged drain, and check on the overflow plate while they’re at it. Professional plumbing services, like the one we offer at Luce Home, can unclog a bathroom drain safely and quickly. 

When it comes to a clogged drain, professionals are more than knowledgeable on getting rid of these clogs for good.

Modern bathroom with bathtub
Bathtubs can get clogs with oils from cleaning products.

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The Dos and Don’ts When Unclogging the Bathtub

Once you’ve figured out your drain is clogged, there are a few common mistakes done when unclogging a drain. Here are a couple of dos and don’ts when unclogging a bathtub that will make the job easier, and cause you less damage:


  • DO remove the tub drain stopper before doing any sort of unclogging. A bathtub drain stopper is typically made from silicone or rubber, and can dissolve when in contact with harsh chemicals. Remove the drain cover, and put it aside while you unclog the drains.
  • DO unclog a bathroom drain with a drain snake or drain stick before you pour cleaners down the pipes, to clear the pipes of any large pieces of grime. 
  • DO figure out your pipe system first before using any chemical cleaners to ensure that the material of your pipes won’t dissolve in the solution.


  • DON’T keep flowing water down a slow drain, as the drain won’t be able to handle that much water while still clogged.
  • DON’T pour oils down the drain as these may make the clog worse.
  • DON’T forcibly shove a stick down the drain in an attempt to clear the clog, as you may just be pushing the obstruction further into the pipes.
  • DON’T try to stick your hand in the bathtub or shower drain, as the vacuum can make your arm stuck down the pipes.
Bathtub with bath and petals
Keep your bathtub clog-free for the best self-care days!

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How to Keep the Bathtub Clog-Free

Bathroom clogs are never pleasant, as the nature of the bathroom isn’t particularly glamorous. However, clogs are avoidable when you take care of your pipe system, and avoid oily substances from going down the drain.

Here are a few tips that can prevent your from having to unclog a bathtub drain:

  • Avoid using scrubs with plastic microbeads, coffee grounds, or other similar materials, as these will not easily dissolve down the drain.
  • Use sugar or salt-based body scrubs as these will easily go down the drain with no problems.
  • Use a monthly pipe maintenance solution to keep your pipes clog-free.
  • Use drain stoppers when filling the tub, and skim out any toys, small trinkets, or wax from scented candles that may find their way into the drain before you remove the stopper. 
  • Avoid using body oils in the bathtub or shower, as the oils can build up in the drains over time.

For any bathroom issues, you can call on our professional plumbers and cleaners in Luce Home to tackle the problem for you. Our experienced plumbers and cleaners can upkeep your bathroom to provide you with a pristine bathroom from top to bottom!

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