Bathtub Won’t Drain? Reasons & Fixes

by Jay | Posted on July 7th, 2022

Nothing is more unhygienic than a shower that overflows with water from a bathtub that won’t drain. As a result, all the grime, bacteria, and soap scum you have worked so hard to remove are left to rot. Likewise, a bathtub drain that isn’t working properly can leave standing water, quickly making your tub filthy and unpleasant.

How to deal with a blocked bathtub

A fix can clear your blockage, no matter what the cause. Here are some easy solutions you may attempt before hiring a plumber if your bathtub won’t drain.

Clear visible blockages

Use a container and protective gloves to remove your tub’s standing water. Next, remove the drain stopper, then use your fingers to remove any visible hair, soap scum, or other debris from the drain. Additionally, clear the drain cover of any hair or debris.

Flush the drain with boiling water

Hot water is typically used to melt grease, remove soap residue, and clean other obstructions. Boil around two liters of water, then pour it down the drain after clearing any obvious blockages. Don’t do this if you have PVC (plastic) pipes since the hot water can damage them.

Baking soda and vinegar

This potent home remedy combination can remove stains in addition to clearing drains. After adding half a cup of white vinegar, add half a cup of baking soda to the drain. 2 liters of boiling water should be poured down the drain after waiting about 15 minutes for the fizzing to stop.

Plunge it

Teenager girl plunging the clogged bathtub with the plunger

Try plunging your drain if hot water, baking soda, and vinegar don’t clear the blockage. First, place the plunger over the drain after adding roughly half a bucket of water to the tub. Then, push it down and pull it up several times in quick succession. If the method is effective, hair and other debris will be pulled up from the drain. Plunge a couple more times if the water doesn’t drain.

Grab a plumbing snake

A plumbing snake or auger aims to reach down far into your drain and remove any clogs. In a nearby hardware store, you can purchase or lease an auger.

Using pliers or a screwdriver, remove the drain stopper, then carefully lower the cable into the drain. As far as you can, insert the drain snake before encountering resistance.

Twist it to grip the obstruction, then remove it. Till all the muck has been removed, carry out the process repeatedly. Then, run the tub’s water again to see if the problem has been fixed.

Make use of commercial (chemical) clog remover.

Strong chemical cleansers are widely accessible at hardware stores and supermarkets and are made to unclog drains. Pay close attention to the directions on the label or package.

How to use chemicals to unclog a shower drain

  • The instructions on the box, including how much of the product to use, should be read and followed. The quantity you use will differ.
  • To protect your hands and eyes, wear gloves and goggles.
  • Avoid combining different chemicals as this might produce harmful gas.
  • Pour chemicals down the drain.

Note: You should not handle chemicals carelessly. They can damage your drainage pipes, particularly if you use them often.

Typical causes for your bathtub not draining

The dirty messy clogged ping bathtub filled with a water with soap's foam

Clogged hair

The major cause of shower and tub drainage issues is probably this. Your hair occasionally finds its way down the drain.

If a hair blockage is the cause of your problem, you’ll probably notice a slower outflow. The drain will eventually get progressively slower until it becomes clear that something is obstructing it.

The buildup of dirt and grease

This one doesn’t happen as frequently, but it still may.

Getting rid of the oil and dirt collected during the day is one reason to take a bath. However, some of the dirt you must wash off your body after a long day of labor can remain in the drain line.

Septic backup

We don’t want to spend too much time on this. But in actuality, you can find that a septic system backlog is an issue if your tub isn’t draining properly or if water is backing up into your tub.

Towel scum

Water flow might be obstructed by soap buildup in your drain line, which can cause the drain to run more slowly.

How to prevent a clogged bathtub in the future

long-fur brown cat

As a general rule, prevention is always preferable to treatment, so after your drainage issues have been fixed, remember to take steps to reduce the likelihood of your bathtub drain clogged once more. In addition, what follows should be noted.

  • Take off your makeup before you shower. Use a facial pad or wipe to take off any makeup from your face before jumping into the tub. The cosmetics won’t end up in the sewer this way.
  • Use bath products that dissolve easily: Steer clear of bath products that include ingredients that are difficult to dissolve in water. Use sugar or salt scrubs with ingredients that dissolve more easily to prevent blockages.
  • Cosmetics shouldn’t be flushed down the drain: If you wish to reuse old cosmetic product bottles, avoid flushing the liquid down the bathtub drain. Instead, fill a container with the contents and dispose of it in the trash.
  • Check your pipes; it’s impossible to prevent pipe damage completely. Pipes will inevitably become old, malfunction, or corrode. However, by doing inspections every two years, you can maintain tabs on the state of your pipes.
  • Install a hair catcher: Installing a drain guard is the best technique to stop hair from traveling down the drain. A hair catcher placed above or within the drain will capture not just hair but debris, items, or soap scum flushed down the drain. These products are available in various shapes, sizes, and materials.


Gurgling sounds, sluggish drains, unpleasant odors, and water backing up indicate a clogged drain. Hair, cosmetics, bath bombs, soap scum, and broken pipes are a few common causes of bathtub blockages. Such plumbing issues can be resolved with boiling water, vinegar, baking soda, a plunger, or a plumbing snake.

Use dissolvable bath products, take off your makeup before taking a bath, clean your pipes, and install a hair catcher to prevent blockages in the future.


Self assessed Germaphobe, specializing in everything water, water filters, health and nutrition. Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I've acquired immense amount of knowledge when it comes to natural, biology, and everything about human anatomy.