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A bathtub drain acting up and becoming clogged or leaking is among the peskiest (and most common) plumbing problems to be encountered in any home. In this short guide, we will briefly explain the basics of how to unclog the bathtub, how to replace tub drain assembly (if need be), how to recognize more complex bathtub drain plumbing issues and so on. Whenever you notice that your bathtub won’t drain or you’re dealing with a leaking shower drain, you should be able to handle the situation on your own at least temporarily, until you’re able to call in the professionals for a more thorough and permanent fix. Here’s everything you need to know about the most common bathtub drain issues.

How to Remove a Bathtub Drain

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As long as the clogged bathtub drain isn’t completely blocked up, there are still chances that you can perform the drain fix yourself. To verify just how clogged the situation is (if the drainage is very slow, but you’re not sure whether it’s completely blocked or not), you need to let water run in the tub for a while and then observe to see if there’s any signs of the water draining away and how fast. If you’re dealing with a completely clogged bathtub drain (standing water), then you’re dealing with a completely clogged drain bathtub. When the tub won’t drain at all, it’s best to call for professional drain repair and not attempt to handle the situation yourself, since you risk making it worse.

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If instead you’re just dealing with just a partially clogged bathroom drain, it’s safe to attempt one of the DIY unclog bathroom drain methods below:

  • The Drain Claw: To fix a simple clogged tub drain, you can try using a claw. A professional plumber has some expert equipment in this department, but you can attempt to use any type of firm drain stick you can improvise. A long plastic thin line, relatively flexible, would work well, for example. This is how to fix a bathtub drain through this method: remove the drain stopper (you may need to use a screwdriver for this), remove the most visible gunk which is clogging up the drain, and then insert your claw (drain stick) deep enough, then pull it back up hoping it will take most of the blockage with it.
  • Use Chemical Cleaners: Another solution when dealing with a slow drain situation (bathtub not draining but not clogged either) is to use chemical cleaners. You can find chemical drain leak cleaners in almost any supermarket, in the same section with the bathroom cleaning supplies. These manage to unclog bath drain blockages more or less efficiently, if you’re only dealing with minor clogging issues. Run a bit of hot water in your semi-clogged bathtub drain, wait for it to drain away, then pour the chemical cleaner according to package instructions. If you’re dealing with a shower drain slow draining, this method should work well enough, at least for a while.
  • Baking Soda: The next idea on how to fix a clogged shower drain is the simple baking soda, probably present in any household. It works pretty much in the same way with supermarket-bought chemical bathtub drain cleaners. Though it sounds too good to be true, many users swear by the fact that baking soda managed to fix clogged shower drain issues as efficiently as the chemical option. The fix won’t last forever, but if you’ve diagnosed your tub drain clogged, it’s worth trying until you manage to schedule a professional visit from your plumber. Boil water in a tea kettle, add a couple of spoonfuls of baking soda and pour the contents in your clogged bathtub drain.
  • Toilet Plunger: The last method worth trying if you’re wondering how to unclog your shower drain is to use the toilet plunger. Fill your tub with just a few inches of water then use the plunger directly on the clogged drain and hope for the best. In about half cases, you may be able to unclog it at least partially, by forcing the blockage to move a little back and forth inside the sewage. About 10 plunges usually manage to solve a tub drain clogged situation.
  • How to Prevent Clogging Your Bathtub Drain

    The best solution on the long run, in order to avoid having to attempt fidgeting with the above methods of unclogging the bathtub drain, is thorough prevention. This can be done in two main ways. The first one consists of the simple fix of trying to regularly clean the gunk which accumulates around the drain stopper. In its initial stages, this gunk consists of soap residue and clumps of hair, which could theoretically be scrubbed away regularly in order to make the bathtub drain clog more slowly in the future.

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    The second method of prevention involved discussing a more professional and permanent fix with your plumber. We can’t recommend a definitive clogged drain fix for you here, since it all depends on the exact configuration of your house and sewage system, but solutions can be found for even the most unfortunate setting. Depending on the details, your plumber may recommend any combination of the following: installing mesh screens on all your drains, investing in a more professional home plunger, teaching every member of the household a short training course on maintaining the ‘health’ of the drains (including teaching them about what items and substances can be disposed through drains and so on and which shouldn’t be disposed this way), and so on.

    If the setting of your building is extremely unfortunate (much too narrow drains), you could even discuss with your plumber the possibility of rebuilding your sewage system for a complete modernization. This would of course not come as cheap as the other fixed recommended above, but it will surely save you years of frustration and further spending, since the smaller fixes above can take quite a toll on your budget if repeating too often. You will definitely be dealing with a clogged bathtub drain much less often (if ever), once you check if any such improvements can be made to your sewage system.

     

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