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  • Writer's pictureDean's Plumbing

Homeowner’s Guide to Unclogging a Bathtub

Updated: Apr 26

There’s nothing quite as relaxing as a long, hot bath after a stressful day. But that blissful state of relaxation soon turns to frustration when the bathtub won’t drain. 

guide to unclogging bathtub

A clogged bathtub doesn’t have to ruin your day. Plumbing professionals are the experts in knowing how to unclog a bathtub, and regardless of the clog, they will have your bathtub draining properly in no time. 

The Top 4 Reasons Bathtubs Clog

A clog is anything that restricts the water flow in your pipes. It can be caused by a gradual buildup of debris or by a large object suddenly blocking the water flow. 

When something other than water goes down the drain, it can get stuck to the sides of the pipework. Over time, other materials will attach themselves to it, causing a buildup that leads to a blockage. You need to call a professional who knows how to unclog a bathtub when you have a blockage. 

Following are some of the main culprits that cause your bathtub clogs:


Hair is the most common cause of a blocked bathtub. The hair slides down the pipe, gets caught in the drain, and clumps up. This forms the perfect nest for other materials to cling to, and before long, your drain is blocked. Regardless of whether your hair is long or short, hair still causes blockages.

Soap and Shampoo Scum

Soap scum causes a film that you have to scrub from your bathtub. The same thing happens to your drain — the soap scum builds up and causes a blockage. Hair likes to adhere to the soapy film, creating a clump that is tough to remove. This is even harder to avoid if you have hard water, which has higher mineral content.

Sand and Dirt

The whole point of a bath or shower is to get clean. So where does all of the sand and dirt that are washed off your body go? Straight down the drain with the soap, the shampoo, and the hair. Kids, especially, get dirty with their outdoor play, and the sand and dirt build-up in the drains.

Foreign Objects

It’s no secret that kids will try to shove just about anything down a drain hole. Small toys, food, straws, pencils — literally anything they can push down there. Larger items build up, quickly causing a blockage, and others will attach to other debris stuck in the drain and cause a more gradual blockage. 

But kids aren’t the only culprits; bath and body products such as bath salts, bath oils, body scrubs, flower petals, and herbal sprigs also cause clogging.

How Bad Is It?

The best way to determine the seriousness of the clog is to track the speed and spread of the water. Is the bathtub draining slowly or is it backing up? 

If the water is rising, you need to call a plumber who knows how to unclog a bathtub. If the water is backing up quickly, it indicates a serious issue with the plumbing, and only a plumbing professional will be able to quickly diagnose and repair the problem. Leaving the problem will lead to water damage to your property.

If the water is either not draining, or draining slowly, it indicates that the clog is not a major plumbing problem, but it will need to be cleared before the bath or shower can be used again.

Why Do I Need a Plumbing Professional?

Pulling some hair or soap scum from your drain using a DIY method may help alleviate a blockage for a short time, but drain clogs are often not isolated to just one drain. A clogged bathtub can indicate more significant plumbing issues, such as a clogged sewer line. 

A sewer line that is clogged will back up water in the bathtub, shower, and toilets. This type of blockage is generally caused by tree roots that have grown into the sewer line, wrong items being flushed or old pipes that need repair or replacing. A sewer line blockage is serious and needs immediate attention from an experienced plumber.

A qualified plumber will determine the cause of the bathtub clog and may remedy it on the spot. Plumbing professionals have specialized, state-of-the-art equipment that enables them to quickly diagnose blockages and breaks in drains and clear them out. Repairs are performed efficiently, ensuring that your drains are in good working order.

Plumbing Professional Near Beavercreek

No one knows the plumbing needs of Xenia, OH, like Dean’s Plumbing. We are a family-owned and operated business that believes in honesty, integrity, and good old hard work. 

Our reputation speaks for itself, and we will provide you with exceptional service and excellence. Call us today for drain cleanings and all of your plumbing repairs.


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