How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain with Standing Water

A clogged bathtub drain means standing in ankle-deep water that does not go away. Apart from experiencing one of the worst baths of your life, standing water can lead to unwanted health and sanitation problems.

But do not worry.  Here are a few steps that can help you learn how to unclog a bathtub drain with standing water like a pro.

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1) Assemble Materials

Gather the following materials before you work:

  • Bucket
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sponge
  • Dipper (optional)
  • Rags or old towels
  • Screwdriver
  • Stiff wire or bent coat hanger
  • Plunger
  • Kettle
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Plumber’s Snake

2) Prepare the Area

Wear rubber gloves. Remove as much water as you can from the bathtub by using a sponge or by using a dipper. Check out the design elements of the drain and bathtub plug and then remove the mechanism.

3) Remove All Blockages That Are Visible

Once the tub is prepared, pour in hot water. Hot water can work at dissolving solidified soap scum and grease that can prohibit water from draining off.  Then, with either a stiff wire or bent coat hanger, remove all visible blockages.

This is usually gunk made up of hair, soap scum and other debris that have accumulated in the trap.  You might need a pair of scissors to cut through a thick wad of hair ball or a pair of tweezers to wriggle out the stubborn gunk.

4) Use a Plunger

If water remains clogged in the bathtub, try using a plunger. There are different kinds of plungers available for various plumbing tasks.  The cup plunger is the best type to use for unclogging bathtub drains. To use, position the cup plunger over the drain and motion into a press and pull action.

You know that you have positioned the plunger correctly when you feel a certain degree of tension from the pull. Do this 4-5 times, or as often as necessary.  When water gurgles up, chances, are clogs have been disengaged and water will flow through.

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5) Use a Liquid Drain Solution from Earth-friendly Kitchen Ingredients

If water persists despite efforts with the plunger, try dissolving the gunk with a fluid drain solution made from ingredients in the kitchen.

Remove as much water as you can from the bathtub. Pour baking soda into the drain, half a cup at a time and then pour in the same amount of vinegar. After thirty minutes when all the fizz has sizzled out, pour hot water into the drain.

6) Use a Plumber’s Snake

To remove stubborn tub debris that still clogs the bathtub drain, you can resort to using a plumber’s snake. A plumber’s snake is usually a flexible coiled wire device that plumbers use to drill into pipes to flush out stubborn clogs.

There are different kinds of plumber’s snakes. For the home handyman, you can opt to use a plastic drain snake, a straight plastic stick with barbed sides.  Plastic drain snakes usually do the job of clearing out clogs within short pipe distances.

If you are more adventurous and the clog is still stubborn, you can opt to use a manual cable drain snake. Here, you crank into the pipe the flexible helix-shaped wire end. Afterwards, you crank back the manual drain snake out until you fish out the gunk.

Because the plumber’s snake is flexible, it can be drilled deeply into the pipe and is usually able to get all the stubborn debris clogging the drain.

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Call a Plumber

If you still have standing water in your bathtub despite all previous methods, don’t hesitate to call in a professional plumber. Aside from unclogging the standing water in your bathtub, a professional plumber can give you advice on how to avoid running into similar problems in the future.

What’s more, the plumber can help identify other plumbing issues that this first bathtub clog could be indicative of.

Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Unclogging your bathtub drain from standing water is easy to do.  This is usually done by just clearing out the drain with all visible debris.  Hairballs and soap scum are the usual culprits.  Remember to try the natural liquid drain solution of baking soda and vinegar before using chemicals.

Chemicals often cause more damage to your pipes in the long run despite the quick fix they promise.  Remember, cup plungers often do the trick while manual plumber snakes do the trick for very stubborn clogs.

Make a habit of doing these easy maintenance tips so that you keep your bathtub drain clog-free:

  1.  Regularly clean out drain of any visible debris.
  2. Use a mesh or strainer over the drain to prevent hair and remnants of soap to fall into the trap.  Make sure to clean the filter regularly.
  3. Run hot water through the pipes monthly to dissolve any grease buildup.

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