How to Fix a Clogged Tub Drain? 

 November 16, 2020

By  Xion Lab

“The water is not going down the tub drain!”

It is one thing that we all dread hearing, yet we often have to deal with the situation. The first thing that comes to mind after hearing this is the mess that a clogged tub creates. You know it will be all wet and slippery in the bathroom, and probably it will smell bad as well.

Ugh! Dealing with such a situation is no fun, but it seems like clogged drains are part and parcel of our plumbing systems. It is dedicated to some extent; we have not yet been able to work out a plumbing system that is entirely free from the risk of developing clogs.

What makes the situation worse is the way we abuse them. Yes! Drains are probably the most abused thing in our houses, be it the kitchen sink drain, garbage disposal, toilet drain, or bathtub drain. We throw many things down the drain, sometimes unintentionally, but intentionally at times as well, that we know harmful for the system and could create problems.

Plumbing Systems Are Like Trees

To understand a household plumbing system, consider it as a tree. The central drain is like the tree trunk from which the secondary drain pipes shoot off like a tree’s branches. These secondary pipes are then divided into smaller drain pipes, just like the smaller branches of a tree attached to each house drain, such as bathroom sink, toilet, and bathtub.

The water and debris enter the plumbing system through the smaller drain pipes and then go through the secondary lines into the main drain from where everything is taken out to the sewerage system.

While blockages can occur anywhere in the drainage system, they mostly develop below the smaller drains and, thus, only require that specific fixture, where the clog has occurred, to be treated. So, you do not need to get too worried if a clog has happened in your bathtub because such clogs are called ‘localized’ and are relatively easy to remove. In short, how to fix a clogged tub drain isn’t as serious a problem as it appears, provided you know t how to fix a clogged tub drain the right way.

How Does A Clog Develop In The Bathtub Drain?

How to fix a clogged tub drain is one of the most commonly asked questions regarding household issues. But why?

The tub drain is one of the most ill-treated gutters of the home, in addition to the kitchen sink drain.

A clog in the bathtub does not develop overnight. As we take a shower, many things flow down the drain, including, but not limited to, soap and shampoo. All these things keep accumulating inside the pipes until one day, and you notice yourself standing in the dirty water collected in the bathtub during the shower.

It sounds too disgusting to even think of, right?

Many people have been in a situation, searching how to fix a clogged tub drain, at least once in our lifetime we detest dealing with a mess.

The answer to how to fix a clogged tub drain does not have to be difficult, though. If you want to know how to fix a clogged tub drain using simple yet useful tips and remedies without having to spend vast amounts of money in paying plumber bills, you have to the right place.

This blog is specifically written to discuss easy DIY tips for clog removal to help all those people out there who have been searching for how to fix a clogged tub drain.

Before we go into fixing a clogged tub drain, it is essential to know what causes the clogs in the bathtub drain. It will help figure out the right method for clog removal, according to the clog’s nature. Still, it will also help to prevent such clogs from happening in the future by undertaking specific precautionary measures beforehand.

What Causes Clogs In The Bathtub Drain?

In addition to soap and shampoo, some other things can clog the bathtub drain, as mentioned above. These include several hair care products, hair, and sometimes even the cartilage of the razor blade.

Some of the common reasons we often have to face the problem of how to fix a clogged tub drain are as follows:

·       Hair

The majority of the time, we have to deal with fixing a clogged tub drain issue. It is because of the hair buildup.

No matter how healthy your hair is, they fall during the shower, and you cannot prevent them from going down the drain, no matter how hard you try. As hair flow into the gutter with water, often get stuck to the drainpipe walls. Not only do they start accumulating, but they also catch other debris and soap scum as it passes down the drain.

Hair clogs are not only common in shower drains, but they are also one of the most stubborn ones.

·       Soap/ Shampoo Scum

It is hard to accept that soap or shampoo can be why you have to deal with fixing a clogged tub drain until you are faced with a clog created due to the buildup of soap and shampoo residue.

Soap scum that we think is easily dissolved in water and hence, smoothly flows through the drain can become a severe problem to the gutters when it gets solidified. Yes, soap scum does get thickened once it goes into the drain and sticks to the pipe walls. Over time, layers after layers of soap scum deposits decrease the drainpipe space, reducing the water flow and creating a complete blockage if not with dealt.

In addition to this, soap tends to stick to other things flowing through the drain and make them stuck in the pipe. Thus, soap contributes to converting potential clogs into real clogs much quickly.

Although it is impossible not to let soap and shampoo flow through the drain, we can certainly take steps to minimize the effects and slow down the buildup process. Small flakes or pieces of soaps often break down, do not let them flow into the drain; otherwise, the pipes will get clogged quickly, making you worried about how to fix a clogged tub drain now and then.

·       Dust, Gunk, and Skin

Do you know that about 30,000 scales of our skin flake off our body, naturally, in one minute?

Yes, 30,000 scales in every passing minute!

In addition to dust, dirt, and gunk, stick to the soap scum and deposit on the drainpipe walls, creating blockage over time.

·       Hard Water

Although hard water does not seem to be doing any harm to your tub drain, it deposits solid materials on the drain walls, giving other debris a place to hold on and constrict the water flow. If gutters are not regularly cleaned, these deposits continue to buildup and eventually cause clogs in the bathtub drain, making you wonder how to fix a clogged tub drain.

How to Fix a Clogged Tub Drain?

While the most straightforward answer to how to fix a clogged tub? Drain’s question is to call a plumber or head to your nearest grocery store and buy a commercial drain cleaner.

But, are these the preferred ways to resolve the problem?



Because plumbers usually charge a lot for even small problems and the cons outweigh the pros of industrial cleaners, they effectively and quickly remove the clogs and are generally easy to use. They are harmful to the environment and probably for your drainage system too.

Given these factors, it is recommended to try some DIY methods to fix a clogged tub drain before opting for any other way.

The following are some useful DIY methods to get rid of clogs in the bathtub drain. Try them and you will be hooked to these simple, low cost and effective remedies and will never get worried about how to fix a clogged tub drain.

·       Good Ol’ Vinegar + Antacid Tablet

Yes, antacid!

Many people have been worried about fixing a clogged tub. Drain effectively and quickly have found antacids as great for an opening clogged tub drain.

Take about 3 to 4 good antacid tablets (Alka – Seltzer have been found to work great for many people), break them down into small pieces, and drop them into the drain. Now, pour about a cup of vinegar (the white one) down the drain.

It will start to bubble. Do not worry because the chemical reaction dissolves the grease that holds the clog. Let the vinegar and Tablet work for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and allow it to boil. Flush it down the drain. Hot water will break the clog that has already been loosened by the vinegar and tablet mixture. Try flushing with regular water, and you will be surprised to see how excellent this simple remedy is. We bet, once you try, you will be suggesting it to all your friends and family members who have been concerned about how to fix a clogged tub drain.

·       Wire Hook

As mentioned above, hair is the most common cause of clogs in the bathtub or shower drain. Hair clogs are stubborn, and many people find them the hardest to remove.

In reality, tub drain clogs caused by hair accumulation can easily and quickly be removed using a wire hook. Experts say that 80% of how to fix a clogged tub drain problems are resolved within 5 to 10 minutes by using a wire hook.

For this, you will need a long, stiff wire. If you do not have the wire, take an old coat hanger, straighten it from one side, and bent it form the other side to make a hook.

Remove the stopper from the drain and shove the wire as deep inside as possible. The sticky clump of hair that usually collects at the crossbar, along with the gunk, will be pulled out by the hook.

We know pulling out the ugly mess of hair and gunk is no fun, but this simple solution for fixing a clogged tub drainis so effective that it is worth doing the nasty task.

·       Salt and Soda

This home remedy for fixing a clogged tub drain requires using table salt and the soda used as an all-purpose cleaner and deodorizer.

You guessed it right!

We are talking about the universal favorite ingredient, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), usually found in every household kitchen cabinet.

For this DIY remedy, you will need:

  • Baking Soda: 5 cups
  • Table Salt: 5 cups
  • Water: 6 cups

How to use it?

First, combine baking soda and table salt in a bowl and pour the mixture down the clogged tub drain. Follow with the boiling hot water. Leave it overnight (make sure not to use this remedy once you are done with the shower because you should not use it after pouring the ingredients into the drain).

The next morning, take some hot water and flush the drain with it.

This remedy for fixing a clogged tub drain is not only pocket friendly (the only thing you could have run short of is baking soda and that too, is readily available at a low price), but highly effective for all types of clogs.

Salt and baking soda act as abrasives and force the clog to loosen up and break free. Also, the mixture will scrub clean the drain pipes from inside.

·       Liquid Dish Detergent

Take a small pot of water and bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling, remove from heat and add about 3 to 4 tablespoons of any liquid dish detergent. Mix and pour this mixture slowly into the drain. Let it work on the clog for about half an hour. Now take some hot water and pour it down the drain.

The solution to how to fix a clogged tub drain could not get any simpler than this.

·       Plunger

The plunger works as effectively for eliminating clogs from the bathtub drain as it does in other drains. The plunger is often the first tool to be used by pros to remove a clog from the drain. First, to use a plunger, fill the tub with enough water to cover the gutter and the bottom of the plunger. Close the overflow outlet with a piece of old towel or rag and get ready to use some elbow grease!

Now, place the plunger over the drain and make sure it forms a tight seal with the tub; this is crucial for the plunger to work effectively. Plunge in and out vigorously for about 6 to 8 times; make sure the seal remains intact.

The plunger’s pressure often removes all clogs in the drain, but you may have to repeat the process 2 to 3 times because sometimes the clog, when breaks from one place, moves down the pipe and gets stuck again at some other point.

Final Word

Since you have learned simple, low cost and useful DIY tips to eliminate how to fix a clogged tub drain problem, we bet you will never go back to using the industrial drain cleaners or even call a plumber for clog removal.

Once you clear the tub drain, make sure to be a little careful and keep an eye upon what’s flowing down your tub drain. Never intentionally throw hair or pieces of soap down the tub drain. Also, take action as soon as you notice the water is not draining correctly. Please do not wait for it to become severe and creates a complete clog in addition to this, including drain cleaning a part of your regular house cleaning. Only pouring hot water down the drain helps to remove small buildups and prevents the development of clogs. So, if you do not want to face the mess of cleaning after a clogged drain, make sure to pour hot water into all the drains in your house once a week.

Subscribe to our newsletter now!