How to Unclog a Blocked Tub Drain

Difficulty: 1 of 5

 

Tub drains may clog from time to time, but unclogging them is an easy process with a few quick solutions.

 

Avoid using caustic chemicals to clear clogged drains. They can damage both the septic system and the environment.

Materials:

– Plumbing snake
– Plunger
– Rag
– Screwdriver
– Wire coat hanger
– Wire cutter

Step 1: Remove the bathtub drain lever.


Use a screwdriver to remove the screws that fasten the bathtub drain lever to the tub. Pull the drain mechanism up and out of the overflow hole in the tub.
Unscrew and remove the drain lever mechanism.

Step 2: Clean the drain mechanism and plug.


Use a cloth or rag to remove any hair or soap scum built up on the drain mechanism or plug.
Use a cloth to remove soap scum from the plug.

Step 3: Clean out the drain with a wire.


To remove hair from the drain, first use a screwdriver to unscrew the drain cover. Remove the drain cover. Cut a piece of wire from an old coat hanger using wire cutters. Bend the wire at the end to form a hook. Insert the hook into the drain and slide it along the side of the drain pipe. Try to hook under any blockages to lift them out. Avoid pushing blockages further into the drain.
Lift the blockage out with the wire hook.

Step 4: Use a plunger to clear the drain.


If the previous steps do not complete the job, use a plunger. First, plug the overflow drain with a wet rag. Be sure to completely block the overflow drain to keep pressure in the pipe. With water in the tub, cover the clogged drain with the plunger and press down with a steady pumping motion. The pressure should loosen the blockage.
Press down with a steady pumping motion.

Step 5: Use a plumber’s snake for stubborn blockages.


If the drain is still clogged, try a plumber’s snake, also known as an auger. Slide the snake into the drain using a pulling and pushing motion. Slide it as far as you can or until you feel a blockage. Turn the handle to rotate the snake while keeping pressure on the blockage. Run hot water into the drain as you work to loosen any grease and break up the blockage.
Work the snake down into the drain.

Step 6: Clean up.


Insert the drain mechanism back into the overflow drain. Fasten it in place with the screws. Replace the drain cover and screw it back on as well. The tub drain should now be back to normal.
Replace the drain cover.