How To Unclog A Tub Drain

Unclogging a tub drain is one of those tasks requiring a little bit of ingenuity and a little bit of elbow grease.

The good news is that the ingenuity has already been taken care of; people have been unclogging tub drains for as long as there have been tub drains. The solutions are pretty tried-and-true. (You just need to supply the elbow grease.)

Better news: Anybody can learn how to unclog a tub drain — and they should. It’s one of the basic functions of modern living — like knowing how to change a tire.

Get in touch with Meticulous Plumbing in Portland if you have any questions about this or any other plumbing-related task. We’re happy to help and to offer solutions.

We can diagnose and solve any plumbing problem you may have, including those involving: 

  • Toilets
  • Water Heaters
  • Home Repiping
  • Main Water Lines
  • Kitchen Remodeling
  • Dripping Faucets
  • Leak Repairs

What Causes A Tub Drain To Clog?

A lot of material gets flushed down the tub drain every day. No wonder they’re so susceptible to getting backed up. If you find yourself calf-deep in dirty water, then the problem is apparent, although the solution may not be.

It’s usually some combination of hair, soap scum, and dirt that causes backups. Accumulated shampoo, sand, outdoor debris, and hard water deposits can also cause system stoppages.

If you have an old tub attached to an old plumbing system, it’s possible the system itself is no longer equipped to handle drainage. This is especially true for plumbing systems that haven’t been updated in many years — if ever.

System problems require deeper analysis and more extensive and intensive plumbing fixes. Therefore, some of the remedies outlined below may not solve your standing-water or slow-drainage problem.

If you’re still having trouble, remember to call a professional at Meticulous Plumbing!

Meticulous Plumbing is locally owned and operated, and we serve most of the Portland metro area. Give us a call for any problems that crop up with your plumbing. You can also email us at, or give us a call at 503-208-2812.

Some Tried-And-True Clog Remedies

  1. Plunger. This should be the first thing you try. Plunging a clogged drain can often loosen the material that’s mucking up the works. (This is where that elbow grease comes in handy!)
  2. Baking soda and vinegar. Yup — the same concoction that creates the illusion of smoke in a science project volcano. Try mixing white vinegar with a cup of baking soda and then pouring the fizzy mixture and some hot water down the drain. Some folks swear by the ol’ boiling water trick, too — without the vinegar and baking soda. We cover this method in a blog post here.
  3. Chemical drain cleaners. Most people are familiar with chemical drain cleaners. They work by generating heat and dissolving the organic material in the pipe. Some people are hesitant to use them, however. They can burn skin and eyes, so be sure to read all the precautions on the label.
  4. Plumber’s snake. Sometimes called a toilet jack, insert the snake into the clogged tub drain to help loosen the material trapped inside.

If you’d rather call a plumber in Portland to unclog your bathtub drain, then Meticulous is the way to go. We’re your hometown, painless, professional plumber!

Give us a call today to get that clogged bathtub draining like new!

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