Home Remedies for Clogged Bathtub Drains

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Is your relaxing bath being ruined by slow drains or complete clogs? Soap scum, hair, and other debris can quickly clump in your drain and slow down the water significantly. Home remedies for clogged bathtub drains can clear the issue without harsh chemicals or an expensive visit from a plumber.

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Use Boiling Water With Caution

Pouring boiling water down your bathtub drain can quickly dissolve any clog-creating soap scum that builds up in the drains. However, boiling water can cause issues in some drains. Never pour boiling water down a drain that uses PVC pipes. While the PVC can handle hot water coming from the taps, it often can't handle the extreme heat of boiling water. Even if you don't notice anything immediately, leaks and other issues could spring up down the road.

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It's also best to avoid chemical drain openers. These caustic chemicals can burn your skin and cause other injuries if they get on you. They can also damage your plumbing. If you use chemical openers and then try a plunger or other bathtub clog remover method, the chemical bathtub drain cleaner could still be in the water and splash on your skin or in your eyes.

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Pull Out Visible Gunk

If your bathtub drain is slowing down or won't drain at all, there's a good chance it's full of soap scum, hair, and other debris from your family's showers. You can often see the hair buildup if you remove the bathtub stopper to reveal the drain. Grab the gunk and pull it out of the drain to open it. Creating a hook at the end of a piece of stiff wire can help you dig out more of the clog.

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Grab a Plunger

Sometimes a plunger can help move the clog through the drains in your bathtub. Look for a plunger with a flat bottom so it creates a seal against the tub. It'll work best if there's some water in the tub. Place the plunger over the drain completely and thrust it up and down multiple times with lots of force. If any debris comes up from the drain with the plunging, remove it to keep it from going back down the drain. Repeat the plunging a few times to see if it frees the bathtub clog and lets the water drain freely.

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Try a Plumber's Snake

Another useful tool for a bathtub drain is a plumber's snake. It has a long cable that goes down the drain and helps break up the clog. You typically need to remove the overflow plate just below the faucet so you can thread the snake cable down through that opening.

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Continue threading the cable down the opening until you hit the clog. Twisting and shaking the cable helps break up the clog. Then, you can crank the cable back out of the drain, pulling some of the debris with it. Repeat the snaking process until you clear most of the clog out of the drain and the water flows freely.

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