How to Unclog a Bathtub

One thing every homeowner will experience is a clog. One minute everything drains smoothly, and the next, a pool of water rises in your tub and your bathtub won’t drain!

When our bathtub does this, it can feel pretty gross. All the dirt, germs, and soap scum you cleaned off your body are now floating around your feet and ankles. It can feel unsanitary. Additionally, the standing water can also make your tub dirty! 

If you’re struggling with a clog, whether it’s in your shower or your sink, it causes a lot of pressure on your pipes and leads to severe damage and flooding if it’s not fixed right away. 

Thankfully, there are ways to remove the clog yourself, especially if you catch the clog early. Below, we’ll expand on how to diagnose a clogged bathtub and five ways to fix it yourself! 

Bathtub Drain Stuck in Santa Cruz

Diagnose a Clogged Sewer Line 

There are a few different ways to diagnose a clogged sewage line, starting with the most obvious: your bathtub won’t drain. If you notice that your bath or sink water isn’t draining as smoothly as before, this could indicate a clog. A clogged sewer line can lead to contaminated water and should be diagnosed quickly. 

Some common symptoms of a clogged drain are: 

  • Sulfur (egg) smell
  • Prolonged water drainage in your sink, bathtub, and other water fixtures
  • Toilet sinks or showers are gurgling and bubbling when water drains
  • Water in toilets and sinks is rising very quickly

If you notice any of this, there may be a blockage in your sewer line. Dealing with a clogged sewer line is unpleasant, but there are preventative measures homeowners can take to avoid serious sewage clogs, DIY or at-home fixes for minor clogs, and plumbing companies to help remove even the nastiest of clogs.

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain with Standing Water 

Now that you’ve diagnosed a clog, how do you fix it? 

The answer: It depends. 

While there are at-home fixes for when a bathtub drain is stuck, it’s not always possible and depends on the severity and location of the clog in question. 

If it’s a minor clog, you can absolutely fix these at home, and we’ll outline a few of those ways in the next section. 

If you need help with your water pressure, be sure to let us know and we can help!

5 Ways to Unclog your Bathtub Drain 

Boiling Water 

Our showers experience so much product build-up. From shampoo and conditioner to shaving cream – it can cause a very gunky residue to build up that can cause a clog. By pouring boiling water slowly down your drain, you can soften a lot of that build-up, and eventually, it’ll dissolve and drain down, removing that clog.  

This method won’t work for all clogs. For example, if there’s something solid blocking your drain, like matted hair, boiling water will not push that down. 

Boiling water is a good first step in remedying a clogs drain. It dissolves soap, and residue build-up quickly; if it doesn’t work, you can assume something more solid is causing the backup.


Plungers are popular tools. We’ve been using them for ages to unclog toilets, and many people have them available in their homes. If you opt to use a plunger to help unclog your drain, remember that its success rate depends on the type of clog and the size of your drain, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work. 

Baking Soda & Vinegar 

This is a natural solution and two things we typically have around the house. People have used baking soda and vinegar as a natural cleaning substitute, but it’s also an effective drain cleaner. 

This mixture works really well on mild clogs, it activates quickly, and dissolves that gross drain build-up. 

Start by pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain and letting it settle of a few minutes. Then, pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain. You’ll notice a bubbling or fizzing noise, but it’s ok; that means it’s working.

Afterward, you can pour boiling water down the drain to help clear out any additional residue.

Plumbers Snake 

Plumber snakes are inexpensive clog-removing tools that you can find at almost any hardware store. 

To use a plumbing snake, you slowly push it down your drain until you feel the blockage and then twist the snake to bring it out of the drain. Once done, you can run some water to test the removal. 

Unclog Tub in Santa Cruz

Manual Removal

This last removal process is more hands-on, and it’s to remove it manually. 

To manually remove a clog, remove your drain cover and look inside to see if you can identify the clog. If it’s within reach, put your fingers down and pull out as much as possible. We highly recommend wearing latex gloves because it can get pretty gross!

Final Thoughts 

It’s important to keep in mind that untreated clogs can damage your pipes and require more costly fixes. The best thing you can do for your home is to ensure that you have preventative habits built into your cleaning routine. 

This can be: 

  • Using drain covers to capture large items 
  • Cleaning your tub regularly to prevent the build-up 
  • Having a shower head with a built-in filter to soften the water 

Even with this preventative maintenance, you’ll still experience clogging, so we hope these options help you remove clogs quickly and efficiently. If you still can’t remove the clog – that’s ok. We recommend calling a professional plumbing service like Expert Plumbing & Drain. We offer drain cleaning services and plumbing assistance. We’re here to repair even the worst of drain clogs quickly and safely! Contact us today

Our professional plumbers are highly experienced in a wide range of specific plumbing-related tasks, including specialty projects!

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