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My Bathtub is Draining Slowly


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While you can get by with a bathtub that drains slowly for a short period of time, it will only get worse over time. To avoid the mess from bath or shower water that never completely empties or the frustration that comes from waiting for hours for your tub to drain, you need to re-open the drain to allow the water to move freely.

When a bathtub drains slowly, the most common cause is hair that has built up and is stuck in the drain or the drain pipe. Sometimes you can see this hair and effectively remove it with little effort, but some clogs are too large or deeply embedded. In that case, you may need to use drain removers or a different technique to break through the clog. The following measures will help you clear most tub clogs and send your bath water quickly swirling on its way.

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If the clog is too deep to reach with a coat hanger, you can try using a drain snake designed for this purpose.

  1. Try pushing a straightened coat hanger down the tub’s drain. After several attempts, you may be able to push the clog through or hook the clog and hair and bring it up with the hanger.
  2. If the clog is too deep to reach with a coat hanger, you can try using a drain snake designed for this purpose. Caution should be used to avoid doing damage to the pipes, so if you’re not experienced in using drain snakes, consider calling a plumber to do the work.
  3. Try clearing the clogged drain by dissolving it with a homemade solution composed of equal parts of vinegar and baking soda. This is most effective on smaller clogs. First, pour one-half cup of baking soda down the drain, and follow it with one-half cup of vinegar. Close the drain and let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, pour a gallon or so of boiling water down the drain to rinse and flush it.
  4. Use a commercial drain cleaner to dissolve the hair and buildup, carefully following the directions on the label. Always use gloves and protect your eyes from splatters when using drain cleaners, and avoid using a drain snake or plunger after you introduce drain cleaners to the pipes to prevent being splashed with these chemicals.

These measures are adequate to clear most bathtub clogs; however, larger, more resistant, and deeper clogs will require more powerful tools and the services of a qualified plumber.