How to Unclog a Bathtub

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Unclogging sinks is often as easy as removing the u-trap and cleaning it out, but though a bathtub has a trap, it is likely inaccessible, so unclogging a backed up bath can be a hassle. While you may opt to call in a plumber in Tacoma, like those at, you can unclog the bath yourself with a few tools and a little effort.  

How to Unclog the Bath
The first thing to do is to remove the drain stopper. If you have a popup stopper, you simply need to pop it up and then slip a screwdriver beneath it to undo the screw that holds it in place; doing this will give you access to the drain. Once the drain is available, you can either purchase a tool designed to fish down the drain and grab hair (or other materials) or you can make your own tool with a wire coat hanger. Bend a small hook into the end of the coat hanger and use it to carefully remove any hair you can see. Using a flashlight can help with this process. Once you have removed all of the visible hair, blast the drain with hot water.

If the coat hanger didn’t work, the next best option is to use a plunger. There are plungers specifically designed for a bathtub, and you can purchase one of these at your local hardware store. Once you have the plunger, you will need to block the overflow to create a good seal. Blocking the overflow requires the removal of the metal disk that covers it. This disk sits on the faucet end of the bathtub and can be removed with a screwdriver. If your cover also has a lever mechanism on it, you can carefully remove the entire mechanism. Oftentimes, this mechanism will also be coated with hair.

Once the mechanism is removed, stuff a rag into the opening to block off the area and then let a little water into the tub to create a seat around your plunger. Give several firm thrusts with the plunger to dislodge the blockage. If this fails to dislodge the blockage, you will need to more onto the next option: the auger.

An auger (sometimes called a plumber’s snake) is a long coil of wire that is inserted into the drainpipe to “snake” through the pipe until it reaches the blockage. The end of the auger consists of a corkscrew-like wire that will burrow into the blockage when the user rotates the handle on the auger. This tool can be purchased at minimal cost, or a more robust version may be rented at your local hardware store.

If you have tried all of these methods and your bathtub is still clogged, call the experts like those found at to come and take care of the problem. Your efforts and purchases will not be wasted, as the knowledge and tools you have gathered through the task will undoubtedly be used again.

“This is a guest post provided to Up Now and What's Next for its readers.”

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