How to Unclog Your Bathtub Once and For All
Plumbing 101 DIY New Homeowner

How to Unclog Your Bathtub Once and For All

Gabe Halimi
Gabe Halimi
Gabe Halimi

Slow draining bathtub? We’ve all been there. Over time, bathtub drains get clogged up with hair and soap. If left alone long enough, your bathtub might get to the point where it doesn’t drain at all. Fixing these clogs can take a little work, but in most cases you should be able to get rid of the clog on your own.

Before we start, a little note on chemical drain cleaners. Cleaners like Drano are advertised as quick, easy fixes for clogged bathtubs and sinks. There’s a few problems, though:

  • Health risks. Drano is made up of some pretty serious chemicals that can burn your skin and eyes. Pouring it down the drain leaves you at risk. If the clog doesn’t go away and you try to plunge the drain, you can have chemicals splash back at you.
  • It’s bad for your pipes. Plumbing pipes are designed to carry water and organic matter. That’s it. Pretty much any kind of household pipe is going to come under stress when it comes into contact with these chemical cleaners. Some pipe material, like PVC, might corrode completely. Then you’re left with an even bigger problem.

Avoid the temptation to just dump a bottle of Drano into your bathtub. There are plenty of methods that will not harm you or your home.

Unclogging Your Bathtub With Dish Soap and Hot Water

Dish soap works at knocking out some more mild clogs because of its degreasing properties. For this method you’re going to need a cup of dish soap and a pot of water.

First, start heating up a pot of water on the stove. While the water is heating up, try to get as much standing water out of your bathtub as possible. You want to be able to get the dish soap into the drain for this method to work.

Once you’ve cleared the tub of standing water, pour a cup of dish soap into the drain. Let that sit in and activate. By now, the pot of water should be ready to go. It doesn’t have to be quite at boiling temperature. As long as there’s some steam coming out of it, it’s hot enough.

Pour the pot of water directly into the drain. It might take a bit for the hot water to work its way through the clog, but this method should do the trick if you have a minor clog that isn’t too deep. If the soap and hot water didn’t get the job done, you can try the next method.