How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain
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Has your drain clogged again? Whether it’s your job to step up and be the house hero or you just can’t bring yourself to call your dad one more time, we’re here to help. Unclogging your bathtub drain isn’t that tough if you have the right tools, so read on to see what your next steps are. Physical Your hand or a coat hanger: Start by physically pulling out the hair and debris you can access easily. Use some rubber gloves if you need to. If your fingers are too big to fit into the drain, or you are concerned there are sharp objects in the drain, then you can use a metal coat hanger. First, bend the coat hanger into a straight wire. Next, bend one of the ends into a hook small enough to fit into the holes in your drain cover, and use it to pull out hair and debris. Flush the drain with hot or boiling water. Plunger: Close the overflow drain if you can twist it close. If the design does not allow you to do this, make sure you plug it with a rag, an old sock, or that t-shirt of your son’s you hate. Fill the tub with water about a quarter of the way so you can create a vacuum with the plunger by completely covering the drain opening with the plunger cup. Once you have created a vacuum with the plunger cup and the drain, pump the plunger in a straight up and down motion a few times to loosen the clog. Think about the last time your boss or you ex-spouse made you angry for some motivation, and pump as hard as you can – just remember to keep the cup of the plunger sealed against the tub. Do this for a few minutes on and off. Flush out the drain with hot water. Drain snake: There are two ends on a drain snake, one with a handle and one that looks like a screw. Push the end with the screw into the drain as far as you can until you hit the clog. Once you hit the clog, turn the crank on the handle. The coil of the drain snake will churn through the obstruction to loosen it. Keep turning until you have loosened as much of it as you can access. When you’re done, flush the drain with hot or boiling water. If you have a plunger, you can try plunging the drain again once you’ve snaked it; the plunger may work better now that the obstruction has now been loosened. Chemicals Natural/non-toxic The positive side to using natural or non-toxic methods is that they are environmentally friendly, can be done using items you may already have around the house, and are generally safer. If you have children or pets using these natural products is recommended, to reduce the risk of injury to them in case the water splashes, the chemicals don’t get cleaned up properly, or for some reason your children or pets accidentally come across the tub. It is important to note that since there is always a risk of drowning with bodies of water, you should still make every effort to keep your children and/or pets away from the tub regardless of which method you are using. Using non-toxic chemicals just lowers the risk of injury. Baking soda and Vinegar: Poura pot of boiling hot water down the drain. Sprinkle a half cup of baking soda into the drain, being careful to try and get as much of the baking soda into the actual drain (rather than around it) as possible. Pour a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let the mixture sit for about five or ten minutes, and keep the drain covered to make sure the chemical reaction happens in the drain, where it belongs. Pour more boiling hot water down the drain, 2-3 cups worth if you can. If needed, use the plunger a few times and that drain should be unclogged in no time. Cola: More than just a helpful cleaner for crime scene investigators to wash away blood, the acidity in cola also makes it a great tool for unclogging a drain without using harsh chemicals. Buy a 2 litre bottle of cola and dump it down the clogged drain. Let it sit for up to half an hour, or until you’re confident the cola ate through the clog. Fill the cola bottle with hot water and squeeze the bottle to shoot hot water into the drain. You can also use a plunger if the clog persists Commercial chemicals: Some chemical mixtures are designed specifically to unclog drains. You may find these are more effective than natural solutions. If manually unclogging the drain was not effective, or the pipe is curved in a way that makes it difficult for you to reach the clog manually, commercial chemicals may be your best bet. It is important to note that these chemicals are very dangerous. Read the labels carefully, and make sure you are finished plunging, snaking and making any other attempts to manually unclog your drain BEFORE using these chemicals. It is extremely dangerous to try plunging or snaking your drain after you have used them, because they will splash and can cause you harm by burning your eyes or skin. Their fumes are also dangerous, so take caution and make sure your bathroom is well ventilated when you use them. Determine the amount you need; the amount you use will depend on how bad the clog is, typically between half the bottle for slow drains and the whole bottle for fully clogged drains. Wait for about 15 minutes Carefully pour hot or boiling water down the drain. DO NOT use the plunger or snake drain on you drain after you have used poured commercial chemicals down the drain. Your drain you be good as new! If you tried all of these and still can’t seem to fix the problem, it may be time to call your dad, or that plumber!