Do you have a slow shower or bathtub drain that’s driving you crazy? Does the dirty water bother you while you’re taking a shower or draining the bathtub? If so, it’s time to clean the pesky drain out, but do yourself a favor and don’t run to the nearest home improvement store to buy a harsh drain cleaner. These chemicals are not only bad for your pipes, they’re bad to breathe and they’re bad for the environment.
So, why is your bathroom tub drain clogged? It’s more than likely because it’s clogged with hair and sludge from accumulated soap, shampoo and conditioner, scrubs, and body wash – various personal products. The best way to clean out the clog is to remove it manually. But don’t pour a harsh drain cleaner down the drain.
To remove the clog yourself:
- Remove the hair with a Drain Weasel or Zip-It tool. When it comes to removing hair and sludge from drains, it’s hard to beat these inexpensive tools.
- If you don’t have a Drain Weasel or Zip-It tool handy, you can clean it out the old-fashioned way with a wire hanger. Usually, we bring these hangers home from the dry cleaners. Go ahead and bend one end of the hanger until it forms a hook. Push it into the drain and start fishing for a mass of hair and gunk mixed together. When you pull it out and discard it, run hot water down the drain.
What if it’s Still Clogged?
Suppose you managed to pull out a big mass of hair and sludge out of the bathtub or shower drain. But, it’s still clogged. If you still have a slow drain, pour a kettle or sauce pan of boiling water down the drain in two to three stages.
The idea is to let the hot water do its job, and wait about 10 seconds in between each pour. Be sure to pour the boiling water directly down the drain. You want to avoid pouring it on the sides of the drain because it will be less effective. If you’ve cleaned the hair out of the drain and poured boiling water down and it still doesn’t work, it’s time to call a professional plumber.
It’s not unusual for pipes to get clogged down the line where homeowners can’t reach with a drain clog tool, especially when sludge and hair have collected over a period of years. Another issue is tree roots that have grown into water pipes. Be advised, these are not DIY projects – a professional should handle them for you.
Recommended reading: “How to Prevent Toilet Clogs.”
For maintenance purposes, we recommend cleaning out your bath and shower drains once a month of hair and sludge using the above methods. To have a stubborn clog cleared by a pro, contact us to schedule a service call with a Cedar Park plumber.