If a washcloth manages to get beyond your bathtub stopper, it can fall down the drainpipe and become trapped. Once it clogs your drain, it can be difficult to remove. Following a few steps to remove a washcloth from your bathtub drain can clear the drainpipe and allow water to drain freely again.
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Removing the Stopper
The first step to removing a washcloth from a bathtub drain is removing your bathtub stopper to gain better access. Removal depends on the type of bathtub stopper you have. If you have a toe-touch, push-pull, flip-it or lift-and-turn style stopper, it'll be easier to remove, as you don't have to deal with a trip lever. If you have a pop-up or plunger style stopper, you'll need to remove the trip lever too.
Removing the Washcloth
Once you've got your stopper off, you'll be able to better assess the damage. The good news is, even if a washcloth has fallen into your bathtub drain, it's unlikely to have fallen far. It's much easier to try to pull the washcloth back up the drain rather than trying to force it down and through the mainline.
First, see if you can reach the washcloth with your fingers; if so, pull it out of the drain. If you can't reach the washcloth manually, there are a few different tools you can try. For example, a long pair of tweezers or hemostat pliers can extend your reach. Extracting a washcloth from a bathtub drain can be a long and frustrating process, so go slow and don't give up. Keep gripping and gently lifting, and it should eventually come free.
You can also try using a drain snake to catch hold of a hard-to-reach washcloth and pull it back toward the drain's entrance. In a bathtub, it may be necessary to remove the overflow plate as well as the stopper to try to access your washcloth through the overflow hole.
Twist the drain snake clockwise and counterclockwise until you feel it catch onto your washcloth. It should then have enough of a grip on the washcloth to allow you to pull it out.
Clearing the Blockage
If your washcloth has been trapped in your drain for a while or if your tub still isn't draining as it should, it may be a good idea to further unclog your drain after you've removed the washcloth. You can use a commercial drain cleaner to ensure your drain is as clear as possible. Make sure you take the proper safety precautions when using any harsh chemicals, such as always wearing gloves and ensuring the room is well ventilated by opening a window or turning on your exhaust fan.
Alternatively, you can try some household items to clear your drain. Bob Vila suggests pouring 1/2 cup of baking soda down your drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Cover your drain for at least five minutes and then rinse the drain with a gallon of boiling water, which can be a great way to remove soap residue and other minor clogs.