A clogged tub drain can turn out to be a perfect calamity when you have no idea what to do about it. As a matter of fact, it can enthusiastically ‘upchuck’ its contents all over your nice clean floor, your carpets, your furnishings et el, while you run around in circles, trying helplessly to stem the proverbial tide.
However, it does not have to be this way, even if you are allergic or of just plain wary of harsh acids and scourging agents to clean your drain. This is because even the most tightly clogged drains can easily be cleared as long as you know how to clear a clogged tub drain naturally.
It is really not that difficult, provided you have the relevant knowhow to get it done, the all-natural way. That is, without using the harmful chemicals that would wreak havoc on not just your drains but also the enamel and paint of your bath tub, and not to mention your skin, should it come into contact with these highly corrosive acids and other assorted chemicals.
This holds especially true when you vector in the fact that such harmful factors apart from being really detrimental to your washroom are equally bad (if not even more so) for the overall environment.
Moreover, they are better used for clogged kitchen sink and toilet drains, where you may not have much choice other than to opt for these otherwise highly corrosive chemicals. But, for a bathtub drain that is merely a tad slow in draining the water. It will be better for you, your washroom and ultimately the whole environment if you learn how to clear a clogged tub drain naturally.
Why you should learn how to clear a clogged tub drain naturally
Let us look at the environmental aspect in some detail. Your typical highly abrasive drain cleaner, laced with suitably corrosive chemicals will inevitably get washed into the central sewer system once it gets done cleaning your drain, and from there onwards till it eventually ends up into the local waterways of your area. Once there, such highly dangerous chemicals have the potential to severely damage all plant life as well as animal and bird habitats and thereby, cause severe genetic mutations in the offspring of these species. As a matter of fact, many of these chemicals are downright lethal and have the potential to out rightly kill and decimate the more sensitive species of the ecosystem near you home. But that is the least of your worries because, as par data compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There do exist many different chemical drain cleaners that contain sulfuric acid and lye that once combined together, can also create extremely hazardous fumes in the place where they are applied.
So, if you are using the washroom while or after using the drain cleaning agent, you will be exposed to them and it can lead to unconsciousness, and should you not remove yourself from the vicinity of these fumes in time, they actually have the potential of being fatal.
There are many ways you can go about learning how to clear a clogged tub drain naturally. Some of them include the following:
1. The ubiquitous ‘plunger’
The humble plunger is the standard staple of just about every household, chiefly because it is the very first line of offence against the clogged drain. In fact, before trying any other remedy, this is what you should opt for when the water flowing though the drain is not going as fast as it really should.
Not every knows or is aware of the proper technique of using a plunger. The thing is that the plunger only works when the seal is perfect. Should any air leak inside, it will not create the desired suction and thereby unclog the drain. This is why it is imperative that you completely cover the drain and pump the plunger, slowly but surely. If it is not covered properly, the chances are that the contents of the drain might ‘blowback’’ right back at you. But before commencing the procedure to open the drain, it is important that you try your level best to remove as much water out of the bathtub as you possibly can, so as to be able to avoid creating a really big mess in the washroom.
Once most of the water is out of the tub, carefully place the plunger (rubber side down) over the opening of the tub’s drain. Slowly generate a vacuum by pushing and pulling the plunger alternately. Once you think that enough of a vacuum has been created, grip the handle of the plunger firmly with both hands and completely yank it off the drain in one quick and smooth motion. If you have done it correctly, the odds are that it will effectively help to break the clog (or clogs, as the case may be) in the drain and get it flowing as quickly and smoothly as ever before.
2. The wire hanger
This is another handy little tool found in almost every home. A wire hanger can do so much more than simply hang clothes. From opening doors of a vehicle where the key has been left inside, all the way to opening clogged drains, the trusty little wire hanger does it all. If you do not have one, simply get it from the neighborhood store. Take a wire coat hanger apart until it actually forms a single rigid wire. Now push this wire down into the drain opening till it meets resistance. This will be the clog due to which your drain is not functioning the way it is supposed. Push it vigorously and wiggle it all around till the clog has been completely removed. It will help, if you have twisted the bottom part of the hanger into the shape of a hook so that it could ‘hook’ onto the clog and effectively tear it apart. Go on pushing and pulling till the drain has been unblocked completely and the buildup in the drain has been washed away.
3. The drain snake
If the above two methods have not yielded satisfactory results, maybe it is time to move on to the ‘drain snake’. These devices can be sourced from a hardware store and have been designed specifically to unclog completely blocked drains. They work by using the blades or burrs on their lower part to saw through human or animal hair and fur, fibrous food material as well as any other soft or hard object/s that may be blocking the drain completely.
However, a point to be noted when working which such a drain snake is that they are available in many different sizes as per the requirements of the end user. For example, a sink drain snake will be of a different size and configuration as a main drain snake, and the same holds true for tub drains as well. This is why you should always try and make sure to select the appropriate size of the drain snake when figuring out how to clear a clogged tub drain naturally. If this still does not work than it can be used in conjunction with the vinegar and water and baking soda drain cleaning techniques as well, that we will discuss later in this article.
4. The ‘liquid dish washing soap and hot water’ technique
This is yet another great method with regard to how to clear a clogged tub drain naturally. Simply squirt a quarter of a 300-ml bottle of a powerful dish cleaning liquid soap straight into the clogged drain. Allow a few seconds for it to reach the actual clog itself and then supplement the soap with a full kettle (at least a liter, if not more) of really hot and boiling water. This can help remove a lot of organic matter such as grease and grime and other residue coming from unwashed bodies.
This is especially useful method if you are used to giving your dog a bath in your tub. Another advantage of this technique is that should you do it at least once a fortnight or so, it will help prevent (organic material) drain clogs from even occurring in the first place.
5. Using the ‘baking soda and white vinegar method
Think of this technique along the lines of a subterranean volcanic eruption. White vinegar is a potent acid, while baking soda is an alkaline base. Both of these chemicals are diametrically opposite to each other, per se. When you mix these two substances together, it will lead to a chemical reaction that has the potential to bubble upwards right out of the opening of the drain and effectively eat through the clog itself, in the process.
How to clear a clogged tub drain naturally with nothing but the raw power of chemistry will require you to follow these steps:
- First and foremost, clean the upper surface of the drain opening completely.
- Get rid of the excess water (or as much of it as you can).
- Remove all visible dirt and debris from the clogged drain opening.
- Pour around ¾ cup of dry baking soda down the blocked drain.
- After this, pour ½ cup of pure white vinegar directly down the blocked drain.
- Now cover the opening of the drain as soon as possible with a plug (ideally) or a rag at least.
- Leave the mixture inside the blocked drain for around thirty minutes or so.
- Prepare a kettle full of boiling hot water.
- Remove the plug and gently and slowly pour all hot water from the kettle down the drain.
- Ensure that your face and hands are not touched by either the hot water or the vinegar and baking soda mixture.
Logically, your tub drain should be completely clean and clear by now. However, if that is not the case, then you should consider repeating the process, just in case there is any lingering gunk in the drain pipes that was not cleared in the first pass. Or alternately, it may have been flushed away, only to form another blockage further down the drain. This is why it is important that you repeat the process at least twice. This will help ensure that not only are your drains clean and clear but also free of toxic chemicals too.
6. The virtues of Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is yet another handy and all natural chemical that can also help to unblock your tub drain. Here is how it works:
Simply mix around one tea or coffee cup of hydrogen peroxide with approximately one heaped tablespoon of baking soda. Once this mixture has blended well together, simply pour it down your tub drain and let the whole thing foam. After the foam has evaporated, pour some water down the drain to check and see if it has worked or not. The odds are that the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda combination will break-up the clog and clean your drain completely.
All of the above methods on how to clear a clogged tub drain naturally can help unclog most highly stubborn drains. But nevertheless, there are times when they will not work. Usually, this is because of falling masonry or bits and pieces of the pipes that may have fallen off and somehow managed to find their way into the drain to plug it completely.
If this is the case, then no amount of natural measures (or highly corrosive chemical drain unclogging agents, for that matter) would be able to help and you will need to hire the services of an experienced plumber who would be in possession of a certain level of expertise in his field, so as to be able to do the needful.
Irrespective of whichever of the above methods (or combinations of many) you use to try and unblock your drain, it is absolutely imperative that you undertake certain safety measures to ensure that you are not injured in any way.
For example, when using boiling water, use mittens or hot pot holders so that you do not get burned. Keep your body as far away from the drain so that you do not get scalded or get steam burns. Lastly, always wear rubber or latex gloves when handling any chemicals or drain cleaning agents.
These are the best ways to go about learning how to clear a clogged tub drain naturally and ensuring that your drains and by extension, the environment around you remains clean and chemical free.