How to Clean Bathtub Drain [Tested Methods]

By Floor Advisor Team

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Bathtubs are a luxury until they start to clog! Then, it is definitely a nightmare to unclog them. All the beauty oils that we wash off of our body choke up the drains and talk about hair getting stuck down there, a no-brainer for sure!

Getting those gross junk out is one thing but identifying what kind of a bathroom drain-stopper you should use can be a tiring task too. Stoppers come in different shapes, sizes, and functions. Don’t worry! We have got your back! In this article, we are going to tell you about different ways to unclog different types of drain-stoppers.

Types of Drain-Stoppers

  1. Lift and Turn Stopper
  2. Trip-Lever Stopper
  3. Pop up Stopper
  4. Plugin Stopper

Solutions to each Type of Drain-Stopper

Lift and Turn Stopper

clean bathtub drain

These are pretty easy to use, but you better not mess with its parts when it comes to unclogging. If you want the water to flow right into the drain, you lift the knob and turn it counterclockwise. If you don’t want the water to flow out, lift the knob and turn it clockwise. When you simply lift the knob a little, you will be able to see a tiny screw right in the middle of the cylindrical face of the knob. You don’t have to remove the screw, just loosen it slightly to detach the knob from the drain. Clean up all the hair you see, then run hot water through the drain.

Trip-Lever Stopper

cleaning bathtub drain

The way to identify this kind of stopper is to search for a lever that sticks out of the drain. When pushed up, this lever lets in water and does not allow water to pass through when released. Besides the lever, you will find two screws that connect the lever to the drain. Use a screwdriver and detach the lever from the drain and get on with the cleaning. You will be able to pull out a light cylindrical container hanging by a rod. Take off all the junk and put the lever in soap water. After unclogging the drain, make sure to run boiling water through it for rinsing off any residue in there.

Pop up Stopper

unclog a bathtub drain

This is one of the most common types of drain-stoppers. You push it to block water and pull it to let water pass. This mechanism makes it a believable fact that you need a plumber to get the job done. Here’s the truth, you can do it all by yourself and it is easy to use! Pull out the top part and turn it counterclockwise. You can either clean it by hand or soak it in a detergent solution for a few minutes. Hold on to the upper top part of the stopper and rotate clockwise to go deeper.

Unclog Using Home Ingredients

Below are some of the effective ways to unclog those not-so-stubborn junk lying in your drains. These methods are easy and if done from time to time, you won’t have any clogs at all!

Baking Soda and Vinegar:

how to clean and unclog bathtub drain

It is the easiest and cheapest way to get rid of junk. Remember, this technique does not remove stubborn junk and if you have easy junk to remove, then read along.

  1. Make sure the stopper blocks the water.
  2. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain.
  3. Pour a cup of vinegar.
  4. Rest the solution until it foams up.
  5. Boil some water and open the stopper.
  6. Run the boiling water along with the solution through the drain.

Detergent and Boiling water:

bathtub drain cleaning

Another quick way to clean your bathtub drain is to mix detergent with hot water. Hot water melts away all beauty oils used while bathing.

  1. Pour about 5 tablespoons of detergent into a pot.
  2. Add enough water and boil it.
  3. Slowly pour the solution into the drain.

Borax Mixture:

The borax mixture is more effective than the ones mentioned above. It is a mixture of vinegar, salt, and borax in water. In a pot of boiling water:

  1. Add a quarter cup of salt.
  2. Add a quarter cup of borax.
  3. Add half a cup of vinegar.
  4. Mix thoroughly until there are no lumps visible.
  5. Rinse it down through the drain.
  6. Pour some more hot water to completely get rid of the junk.

Unclog Using Chemicals

Below are some of the chemical cleaners you can use to get rid of those stubborn gross stuff in the drain.

Drano Max Gel Clog

It is a thick gel that seeps through the water to the source of the clog. It dissolves hair, soap scum, and other tough stuff. It is available on Amazon and in almost any supermarket.

Liquid Plumr

It is the best drain cleaner for hair clogs. This too is a gel that melts off all the hair clogs. It keeps the pipe safe from disintegrating while getting their job done! It takes about 15 minutes to remove all sorts of residue. Flush thoroughly and rinse off with some hot water.


It is the best enzymatic drain cleaner. It works specifically on bacteria growing in the drains due to clogging. It disintegrates organic wastes including hair. It also dissolves oils and grease. This product is safe enough to be used as a preventive maintenance chemical.  You can buy this from your local departmental store or online, on amazon.


It is the best monthly build-up cleaner. We all know that prevention is better than cure. This product keeps your drainage pipes clean and prevents clogs if used monthly. Just pour four tablespoons down the drain and the liquid will get the job done. Remember to flush down after an hour or two.

Symptoms of a Clogged Drain

When you see the symptoms, it is probably too late for you to take up action. If the water runs down the drain too slow, then you need to unclog it. If the water stays for a long time after you have unplugged the stopper, there is no turning back. There is a full possibility that the drain is going to accumulate more debris over time becoming bigger and bigger.

The sooner you deal with the problem, the better and easier it is to save your drainage pipes. Isn’t it the same with life as well?

We hope that this article has helped you save your bathtub drain. Always remember, whenever there is any use of chemicals, wear rubber gloves and read the instructions on the container carefully. Happy cleaning!

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