If your bathtub is draining slowly, you’re not alone. Most bathtubs clog for the same reason. And the process doesn’t happen overnight. If you don’t clean your drains regularly, you risk having a serious clog in the future. But the good news is that most drain problems are simple to fix. We’ll see how you can do that. But first, let’s look at some of the common reasons bathtubs clog.
What Causes Slow Draining in Bathtubs?
Understanding what clogs bathtub drains can help you minimize future problems. The main culprits in bathtub clogs include:
- Hair: It’s the most common reason for bathtub clogs. When taking a bath, small pieces of hair usually come off. Not all of them make it through the drain. Soap scum and small debris trap them inside the pipes. As the hair accumulates, your drain becomes slow and clogs with time.
- Soap scum: Soap scum is a white stain that results when soap reacts with the calcium in the water. It tends to be more in hard water. You may notice these stains on your bathroom walls. The same stains can form inside the drain pipes, clogging them.
- Hard water: Hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium. When the water gets hot, these minerals deposit inside the drain pipes, creating a scale. With time, scaling builds up and starts to trap hair and other debris. If you don’t clean the pipes, they get thinner and slow down your drain water.
- Solid materials: Any solid materials like sand, small pieces of soap, and debris that go down your drain can lead to clogging.
How to Fix a Slow Draining Tub
Not all bathtubs work the same, but the majority do. When you realize your drain is slow, inspect it before calling a plumber. It could be a small problem you can easily fix. So try to follow these steps and see if you can fix the slow drain in your bathtub.
Step 1. Remove The Drain Knob
Inside your bathtub, there is a small knob that pops up to drain water from the tub. Use pliers to unscrew the top part. Then use a screwdriver to remove the inside screw. Remove the entire drain cover to reveal the cross-section inside the drain pipe.
Step 2. Remove Large Debris by Hand
The cross-section just below the drain knob is easy to reach by fingers. So, remove any large debris stuck in this section by hand.
Step 3: Use a Fishing Device to Remove Deeper Substances
You can’t get your hands under the cross-section. So, get a drain snake. If you don’t have it, take a wire hanger and make a sharp hook on one end. Dip the wire inside the drain pipe. Scratch the pipe walls while you rotate the wire to see if you’ll catch something. Pull out all the substances you can using the wire.
Step 4: Use Water to Test the Drain
Pour a few gallons of water into the drain and see if there’s any improvement. If there’s no improvement, it means the clog is far from the reach of your tool. You might need a longer tool or use a different approach. Most drain snakes are long enough to reach the P-trap, which could be causing the problem.
Step 5: Use Hot Water to Soften Soap Scum
Removing everything from the P-trap using a fishing tool can be challenging. So fill the bathtub with hot water. Then release it to flow down the drain. After the water loosens the soap scum, use a plunger to pressurize the drain.
Alternatively, you can use baking soda and white vinegar in addition to the hot water. Measure half a cup of baking soda and pour it into the drain. Add a cup of white vinegar and leave the mixture for five minutes, then pass hot water for about a minute.
If you can’t see any improvement in your bathtub drain, calling a plumber might be a good idea. Avoid any delay since this can worsen the problem. It can also cost you more in the future if there’s damage to the plumbing system.
Let Us Help
If you see your bathtub draining slowly, don’t wait for the problem to escalate. Follow the steps highlighted above to unclog the drain pipe. It could be a small problem you can solve in a few minutes, but if you haven’t cleaned your pipes in a long time, you may need some professional attention.
Do you need a professional plumber in Charlottesville to help unclog your drains? Call The Otter Guys, your one-stop company, for all your plumbing needs. We can help inspect your drain pipes and clean them professionally, leaving them as efficient as they should be.