9 tips for How to Unclog Your Bathroom’s tub and Shower Drain

A nice, long bath or shower is the solution to almost any stressful day. But bathrooms need maintenance, and nothing ruins your day better than a clogged drain. Finding the ultimate way to unclog your drain fast can be a challenge, whether it’s a shower drain or a bathtub drain. That’s why we’ve got you covered. Learn all the nine tips for how to unclog your bathroom’s tub and shower drain right here.

colorful nail polish

Reasons your tub is draining slowly but not entirely clogged.

Sometimes a tub won’t be fully clogged but will take ages to get the water out. It means it is partially clogged with something. What can that ‘something’ be? Read on below.

Soap buildup

The obvious answer lies in its daily use. Every time someone takes a shower, they use soaps and whatnot. While this rinses away quickly, some debris does get leftover inside. Over time this buildup can cause the drain to clog.

water on top of concrete

Clumps of hair

Apart from this, the bigger culprit is the hair that accumulates in clumps. Not all of them get stuck in the strainer that you can empty. Some manage to get through and stick to the opening inside. Homes with plenty of long-haired women will often result in drains full of hair.

Kids’ toys

If you have kids, there’s a higher chance of a clog. Bathtime toys can get stuck easily and without anyone noticing. These are tougher to extract, so keep an eye on your little ones when they’re splashing away.

Old pipelines

These are not so obvious at first. But if you’ve been living in an old house or bought one that hasn’t been renovated in long, this could be the cause. Old rusting pipelines can cause more clogging than usual. It is because rusting pipes become flaky and hold onto more hair and buildup than usual.

Slow draining tub? Dealing with a shower that won’t drain!

Bathroom tub

Here are some tips to help you out so you can enjoy your bath stress-free.

Boil it out!

One thing that is a quick fix is boiling water. Boil some water and pour it down the clogged opening. The high temperature will cause the buildup of soap and other germs to be done away with quickly.

You may need to do this more than once if the clog is big.

Call in the snake

A plumbing snake is used to unclog drains with its long, slim line that catches all the goop. There are many types ranging from $15 to $100 or machine-powered ones that cost as much as $1000.

But the purpose of all the types remains the same: to reach into the darkest corners of the pipeline and bring out the root cause of clogs. Snakes come with long cables. They’re sometimes as long as 25ft to adequately cover all the pipelines.

A drain-specialist chemical

If you don’t think you’re prepared to handle all the nastiness manually with a snake, you can also go for a drain-cleaning liquid.

All you need to do is to use a plunger a couple of times. Now grab some drain-cleaning liquid and pour the instructed amount down the opening. It will take time to go through the mass of accumulated grime so let it be and warn other family members not to use the tub just yet.

You can also leave this liquid overnight for the best results. In the morning, pour plenty of hot water through the drain.

Water in a faucet

Go hands-on

You can go manual with small clogs if you’ve got a strong stomach and the courage to go hands-on. Sometimes a small accumulation can also be the reason for this. If you can see the clump of hair and the grime, that’s probably it.

Go ahead and wear a pair of gloves. Make sure all water has been drained out as much as possible. Now remove the strainer and reach inside. Scoop out the remains. If it’s difficult to grab, get a thin wire or an old wire hanger to get a better grip.

Keep a plastic bag handy to through it in once you grab it. Voila! Sometimes all it takes is a little courage.

Use a cup plunger

Sometimes for small clogs, all you need is a push! Use a plunger for this purpose. Remember 6. plungers are more useful on flat surfaces. They may not work as well on tubs as on sinks and shower drains.

Bathroom faucet drain

Just put that bad boy on the opening. Make sure all sides are covered and not obstructed. Now push at least five times to create air pressure.

For small clogs, this should do the trick. You should be able to pass water through the drain easily.

No nasty chemicals

Kitchen ingredients can also work well, so you don’t have to use expensive store chemicals. Get some cream of tartar and baking soda from the kitchen. Mix 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar and 2 cups of baking soda.

Get your boiling water ready. Pour two cups down. Now bring out your mixture and pour it down too. Let it stay for an hour and rinse it out again with hot water.

Use drain-cleaning powder

These are cost-effective and also give great results. All you need to do is mix up the directed amount with water and pour it down the drain.

The added advantage is the bad odor it takes away and the fresh odor it leaves behind after its work is done.

Use borax

Using borax with vinegar will also give you some impressive results without the nasty chemicals that can damage pipelines. When boiling water, you must combine 1/4 cup salt with 1/4 cup borax and 1/4 cup vinegar.

Now let it cool for an hour. After an hour, you’ll see the mixture is clear. You can now pour it down the drain and run hot water over it to enhance its effect even more. Let it sit for a while. It will also help clear odor along with grime.

Call in a professional

If none of this helps, it might be time to take a serious look at your pipelines. Call a good plumber to inspect your shower, tub, and kitchen fittings.

How to snake a bathtub drain?

One of the pocket-friendly ways to unclog a tub is to do it yourself. It involves the use of a snake. Learn how you can use this tool to your benefit and save some dollars!

Lay down covering.

Your bathtub may or may not be new, but drain-cleaning can leave a few marks, So find something to protect the tub and spread it at the bottom. It means any plastic sheet you have lying around or old clothes.

Remove the overflow plug.

This is that knob that sits a couple of inches above the drain in the tub’s wall. When you open this, you might need pliers to remove the stopper connected to a lever.

Wear your gloves.

Get some rubber gloves and wear them to protect your hands. You will be using a snake, but your hands are still prone to other chemicals you are about to remove from the sewage.

Slither the snake

Now the snake gets to work. Feed the top into the overflow plug and put some pressure on it to feed the rest. The curves in the pipe will mean exerting pressure on the snake gently, so the snake manages to curve and bend.

Turn the motor on

Now switch on the motor and allow the snake to work its magic. Keep feeding the snake inside the drain. It’s best to keep the speed at a minimum. Keep the snake with only one foot remaining outside the overflow plug. You will meet some tension, so get on your knees to avoid breaking your back and exert pressure from your end.

Test the drain

Once you feel you have penetrated the clog, you can run some water in the tub to see if it’s draining properly. If water is passing through, it’s time to extract. If not, keep the snake running and increase the speed since it’s a bigger clog than you anticipated.

Remove the snake

Now run the snake’s motor in reverse. Extract the snake slowly out of the drain. When you’ve removed the whole snake, run hot water through the drain for a few minutes to remove any debris remains.

Home remedies

There are a couple of home remedies you can opt for when unclogging a drain. Most of them can be done with the ingredients in your kitchen!

feet in a shower

Baking soda and vinegar

Start with some boiling water to activate the debris in your drain. One pot is enough and should be poured inside after pulling the stopper.

Now pour half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar down the drain. Once you’ve done this, let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes.

Finish off with another pot of boiling water to drain the cleared buildup.

Hot water with dish cleaning liquid

Mix 2 liters of boiling water with 3 tablespoons of dish soap. Pour it down the drain carefully. Repeat several times for the best results. This will also remove any unpleasant odors. You can do this once a week to keep your garbage disposal and drains running smoothly.

Cream of tartar with baking soda

Mix two cups of soda with two tablespoons of cream of tartar. Now pour some boiling water down the drain. Once this is done, pour the mixture into the drain and let it sit for an hour or two. It should clean your drain slowly but steadily.

Best drain cleaner

fixing a bathroom drain

Several products out there are labeled as the ‘best,’ but we’ve tested more than a fair share. Based on that experience, we can tell you the drain cleaners that truly gave the best results. The Green Gobbler main line opener has some fabulous results even for the toughest drains. Some 28K ratings can testify to that on Amazon.

Drano Max Gel Drain Clog Remover and Cleaner is also a competing choice. It’s notably great for removing even the clumpiest of hair clogs.

If you’re looking for something natural and eco-friendly, the Glisten garbage disposer in foaming form is a good buy. It leaves a nice odor behind due to its natural ingredients. Even the packet is made from biodegradable material, so it doesn’t leave behind a trace for Mother Nature to clean up. It’s so nature-friendly that it can be used weekly to ensure all drains are running smoothly, instead of only pouring when there is a clog.

You’ve just taken a bath and removed the stopper, but now the water won’t drain. A nightmare! Worry not. Just try the following:

Water in a tub

How to unclog a bathtub drain with standing water

  1. Remove visible grime

    If there’s any visible goop-like hair and soap in there, you can wear rubber gloves and go for it. It is a bit ‘ew,’ but the situation calls for it.

  2. Plunge, plunge, plunge!

    Get a cup plunger and start plunging around the drain. This will create air suction and should clear out any clogs.

  3. Boiling water

    At this point, you should grab some hot water from the kettle and pour it down the drain. This is tough because of the standing water but keeps the pressure high, and it should make a difference. Otherwise, you can also try pouring the water into the overflow plug.

  4. Get the vinegar and soda.

    It’s time for the soda to come out. Get half a cup and pour it down the drain. Follow it up with half a cup of vinegar. Let it sit, and use the plunger after a couple of minutes to top it off. It should do the trick!

How to remove bathtub drain without tools

It is a tough one. Old drains in homes built several decades ago are the toughest to remove. Especially some odd material like caulk has been used to secure it instead of plumbers putty. But with the basic tools of a home, we teach you how to get the job done.

Remove the stopper

Remove the stopper that is used to hold the water when you’re taking a bath. What you find underneath is the drain.

Get the hammer

Get a needle nose hammer and common pliers. Jam the hammer in there and use the pliers to create resistance between the hammer and the inside of the drain.


Now rotate the hammer and pliers together in a counterclockwise direction. It will not rotate too much and not too smoothly. Rotate a bit, and return the hammer and plier to their prior position. Rotate again. Repeat until the drain starts coming off smoothly, and you can use your hands to remove it.

What can I use to unclog a bathroom drain?

A plunger and baking soda are needed. You can also use chemical cleaners. A snake is another tool available to you.

How do you dissolve hair in a drain?

You can dissolve it with chemical cleaners. Chemical cleaners can be used to fix water not draining. Find ones that specifically say they’ll dissolve hair.

What naturally unclogs a drain?

Baking soda and vinegar are great natural products. Boiling water may naturally unclog a drain as well. However, you will also want to take preventive measures to avoid flushing hair down the drain.

What is the easiest way to unclog a bathroom sink?

A plunger is the easiest way to do it. A plunger is an easy first step to see if it solves the problem. Most people have these lying around at home, and this method can save you a $100 visit from a plumber.

How do you fix a slow draining bathroom sink?

Use a baking soda & vinegar solution. There’s a blockage that you want to dissolve. This magical solution can cut through most issues with water not leaving the bathroom like it’s supposed to.bathroom sink

How do you unclog a bathroom sink with standing water?

Using a plunger is the most effective way. Many chemical solutions will just get dissolved if there’s standing water. For that reason, you will either want to use a plunger or a snake.