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5 Steps to Unclog Your Bathtub

Bathtub Clogs

Dealingwith a clog is no fun, no matter where it occurs. Yet most homeowners are fairly familiar with getting rid of clogs in their toilet, or even their sink. Bathtub clogs are another matter.

Although perhaps not as common, tub clogs occur over time because of hair and soap scum buildup in the shower. It is a good idea to put in a bathtub strainer to cut down on this, yet if a tub/shower clog does occur, you can usually take care of it on your own. Follow these five steps to unclog your bathtub, and remember to call All City Plumbing for all your essential plumbing, drain, and sewer services.

Follow These 5 Easy Steps the Next Time You Need to Unclog Your Bathtub

  1. Assemble the Right Tools: Like any household task, assembling the right tools for unclogging your bathtub is the essential first step to not only getting the job done but getting it done right. Ideally, you should have a bucket or large cup, a pair of rubber gloves, some old towels or rags, and a cup plunger. Depending on your tub, you might also need a screwdriver. Remember, when we talk about a cup plunger, we are being specific—there is a difference between a flange plunger, which is the common toilet plunger, and a cup plunger, also known as a sink plunger. You may also want to consider putting on boots, protective eyewear, and even an apron, since the unclogging process can get pretty messy.
  2. Get Rid of Standing Water: Before you can begin the process of unclogging your bathtub in earnest, it is important to bail out any standing water with your cup or bucket. Not only will this create a safer, more unobstructed environment for you, it will also prevent you from having to deal with too much mess during the unclogging process.
  3. Take Out the Strainer: As stated above, it is fairly common to have a strainer in your bathtub in order to cut down on the presence of clogs in the first place. However, for the unclogging process, you will need to temporarily take this strainer out. In some tubs, the strainer is just an additional part that has been purchased and placed on top of the drain. For other homeowners, however, the strainer may be attached to the tub itself, in which case you will have to use that screwdriver we mentioned before to remove it.
  4. Run the Tap Till Your Tub Fills Up a Few Inches: Chances are, if you’ve already removed standing water from your tub, it’s most certainly clogged. However, just to be sure, you should drain your bathtub briefly after you take the strainer out. If the water goes down, congrats, you just had too much hair/debris in your strainer, and your clog problem is solved! If your tub does not drain, the lingering water will help generate the pressure and suction necessary to get rid of the clog.
  5. Plunge Your Bathtub Drain with the Cup Plunger: Position the head of your cup plunger over your tub drain to create a tight seal. Make sure it is at a 90 degree angle, or perpendicular to the drain. Press the head of the plunger down with as much force as you can, then pull it back up so that it returns to its original shape. Repeat this quickly, for about 30 seconds (should be around 10-15 pumps.) If all goes according to plan, your clog should now be broken apart, and you will be able to clean any hair or other debris that came up out of your bathtub.

For All Your Other Plumbing & Drain Needs, You Know Who to Call

If the above instructions do not initially work, you may be dealing with a particularly tough clog, in which case you should repeat these five steps a few times. Although it may seem like an easy solution to use liquid drain cleaners instead, the chemicals in these products tend to be very toxic, and may eat away at your pipes over time. Store-bought drain cleaners are also known for being ineffective, and oftentimes just sit on top of a clog, waiting for a back-up to occur, rather than eating through them.

If you have exercised all other methods and still can’t get rid of that pesky tub clog, your best bet would be to contact our experts at All City Plumbing. Our plumbers offer snaking and other services to break up tough blockages, and offer advanced methods to detect obstructions deep in your lines.

For more tips and tricks on getting rid of plumbing problems, or to schedule an appointment, Call All City Plumbing at (909) 552-7550. You can contact us online.


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