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How to Clean and Unclog Your Bathroom Drain

how to clean bathtub drain

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It’s surprising how quickly a dirty bathroom drain can sneak up on you. Even if you’re diligent about keeping the tile, vanity, and faucets sparkling, a common bathroom neglect is the one thing that needs the most thorough care: your bathtub. So if you’re noticing that it’s taking longer and longer for water to drain from tub, it’s definitely time to clean the bathtub drain. In fact, it might not only be clogged, but it could even be suffering from soap scum buildup, too. 

A slow-draining or clogged bathtub is a signal that there could be an issue with your pipes. And of course, it also makes your cleaning routine harder. As dirty water sits too long waiting to go down the drain, buildup accumulates in the bathtub. And since a dirtier tub means you’ll have to spend more time scrubbing and more money on products, taking good care of your bathroom pipes is a must. That’s why learning how to properly keep your bathroom drain clean and clog-free is so important. 

Below, we’re giving you three ways to keep your tub working its best: how to clean a bathroom drain, how to unclog a drain, and how to prevent buildup from accumulating in the first place. And if you find that none of these approaches work, then you likely have a bigger problem on your hands. At that point, we recommend calling in a professional plumber.

How to Clean a Bathtub Drain

The products you need to clean your bathroom drain are probably already in your home: baking soda and white vinegar. This dynamic duo of cleaning solutions works to break up buildup without the need to use abrasive chemicals that can harm your pipes and the planet. Not to mention, some of these products marketed toward drain-cleaning are actually harming your pipes! So instead of using those harsh products, simply pour one-half cup of baking soda into the drain, then top it off by slowly pouring in a cup of white vinegar. Set a 30-minute timer while you tackle another project on your cleaning checklist. Afterward, flush the tub drain with hot water to keep the pipes clean and clear.

How to Clean a Clogged Drain

How do you rectify stubborn clogs? In a word, snakes. (No need to go all Indiana Jones on your bathtub…We’re talking about the snake tool designed to remove clogs in your drain.) These handy pieces of hardware range in sturdiness, sophistication, and price, so it’s just about choosing the right one to handle your needs. The simplest version features plastic barbs that catch hair and debris. Or, you can try an option with a manuallypowered crank that spins to capture even more ickiness. And if your drain is more prone to clogging, consider investing in an electric snake—the most powerful of the bunch. No matter which choice you go with, you’ll get to experience that disgustingly satisfying moment of pulling out the gross wad of hair and soap scum that’s been hiding in the drain and giving you problems. 

How to Prevent Buildup and Blockages

It’s perfectly normal to lose some hair when you’re working in your shampoo and conditioner. And while you can’t stop yourself from shedding, you can purchase a handy hair catcher to prevent your strands from ending up clogging the drain in the first place. This genius device acts as a sieve specifically for your shower drain, preventing clogs before they even start.

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