You may be trying to finish your spring cleaning and just reaching the part about cleaning drains. Or if you have a daughter with long hair like I do, it is pretty much always time to clear a slow bathtub drain! When your bathtub drain gets dirty, it gets smelly and it can clog your tub. Depending on how the pipes are laid in your house, a clogged tub drain can also lead to a toilet backup or a backed-up tub in another bathroom. Cleaning your drain regularly and unclogging back ups can keep all the plumbing in your house running smoothly. It also keeps your tub from becoming smelly! Therefore, here is how to clean a bathtub drain.
3 Steps To Clean Bathtub Drain:
Use these tips to easily clean your bathtub drain. These instructions work well for a deep clean or to clean a bathtub drain that seems to be letting the water drain more slowly than it used to do.
However, if the drain is clogged, you’ll need to clear the clog before cleaning the drain. See the notes below for unclogging drains.
First, remove the drain stopper. Next, pour a cup of baking soda into the drain. Baking soda is a well known deodorizer as it helps absorb odor. Because baking soda is alkaline it can also help dissolve mineral deposits.
At this point you can also choose to add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to the drain. This is optional but it will create a bubbling reaction which helps clear the drain. Plus, vinegar has some natural disinfectant properties. Additionally, as Healthline points out, its “high acidity can break down stubborn buildup of soap, dirt, and scum.”
Let the sit baking soda (and vinegar, if you decided to use it) sit for about 10 minutes. After letting it sit, use a bottle brush (Amazon affiliate link below) to stick down into the drain. You can use an old toothbrush if you need a quick substitute for a bottle brush. Move it up and down, rotating it, to clean the drain and remove any loose hair.
2. Flush Your Drain
Follow up on deodorizing your drain by flushing your drain with boiling water (only for metal pipes).
SAFETY TIP: Be sure to use proper care and caution when carrying freshly boiled water. Be sure there are no pets or children present and that your pathway is clear before you carry the boiled water to the drain.
First, make sure the bathtub stopper is open so that water can be easily flushed down. Second, boil about 5 to 8 cups of water in a pot or kettle. Next, using safety tips above, pour the boiled water carefully down the drain (do not do this if you have plastic pipes or if you are unsure).
The hot water will flush away soap scum and loose hairs. Doing this once a week will keep your drains clear and remove any soap or hair buildup.
3. Clean Regularly
Use the tips above to deodorize and flush your drain on a regular basis. Doing this once a week or once a month (depending on light or heavy use) keeps your drains running smoothly and helps prevent future back ups.
How To Clear A Clogged Bathtub Drain
To remove bathtub clogs without chemical drain cleaners, try one of these two different methods suggested below or call a professional plumber. Always call a professional if you are in doubt.
1. Use a Plumber’s Tool
This is my favorite method and the option that I always use. Clogs at my house always have to do with hair stuck in the drain, so a plumber tool is most effective for us. It is the best way to get to the source of stubborn clogs. I have heard the tool referred to as a plumber’s snake, a flexisnake, a drain snake, a snake drain, a hair catcher, drain claw, and a drain auger. By any name, you use this clogged drain remover tool because it is designed especially to clear hair trapped in a drain.
The tool can be found at your local hardware store or through Amazon Link below and looks similar to a zip tie with little teeth on it that grab the hair. There is also a version called a Drain Weasel that looks more like a tiny bottle brush. Either way, the length helps poke through any clog and the plastic teeth or velcro brush hairs help catch on to the clog and pull it up.
Remove the drain cover and stick the tool into the drain as far down as it will reach. Move it around a little to grab any loose hairs, then pull it out. Remove the hair from the tool and repeat the steps a few times until no more hair remains in the drain. Now, you can go back to deodorizing and flushing the drain using the instructions above.
2. Plunge Your Drain
A second option is to try to plunge the drain. Remove the overflow drain faceplate (under the faucet) and place the overflow plate and screw safely on a countertop surface for later. Stuff a damp rag into the hole. This will create suction for clearing with a standard cup-style plunger. Make the hole as airtight as possible. Next, fill the tub with 2-3 inches of water, not more. Then, use a plunger to plunge the drain. Continue plunging until the clog is cleared. Remove the damp rag and screw the overflow plate back on. Now, you can deodorize and flush the drain using the instructions above.
Dirty bathtub drain? Clean it out using the drain cleaning tips above. A clean bathtub drain can keep all the plumbing in your house working at it’s best and it will keep your tub smelling fresh. It only takes a few minutes a week to keep your drain clean. This will help prevent a slow bathtub drain as well. I hope you found these tips useful and enjoy that they are eco-friendly choices. Let us know if you have questions or tips you’d like to share on social media @familyfocusblog!