How to Fix a Slow Bathtub Drain

Slow bathtub drains are often caused by an accumulation of hair, soap scum, and little bits of debris that get caught up in the first part of the drain assembly.

Unless your home is really old and hasn’t been updated, your bathtub drain assembly will have a drain at the bottom of the tub with an overflow and both of those come together and flow into a p trap and after that flows into the rest of your home’s drainage system.

 
 

What happens a lot of times is that at the bottom of the drain, there’s a cross-section, and hair gets caught up on that and collects over time. This is one of the most common blockages especially if your tub has a shower attached to it.

I had a bathtub drain in my house that was draining slowly and was getting worse and worse over time. Here are the steps I did to fix a slow draining bathtub:

1.  TIME HOW LONG IT TAKES FOR TUB TO DRAIN

I wanted to measure how effective cleaning the drain out was, so I filled a 5-gallon bucket with water, poured it out, and timed how long it took to go down the drain.

fix bathtub drain - time tub draining
2.  REMOVE POP-UP ASSEMBLY

Unscrew the knob at the top. If it’s tight, you may need a pair of pliers to break it loose. Then unscrew the stopper post below by inserting a flat head screwdriver into the top of the piece below and remove it. This will reveal the top of the cross-section that I was talking about earlier.

fix bathtub drain - remove pop up assembly
3.  REMOVE ANY LARGE DEBRIS

Pick out any large items you can see on top of the cross-section by hand.

fix bathtub drain - remove any large debris
4.  MAKE OR PURCHASE A FISHING DEVICE

Take a wire hanger and use needle-nose pliers to bend the end into a hook or purchase one from a hardware store.

fix bathtub drain - make or purchase fishing device
5.  "FISH" FOR HAIR OR OTHER DEBRIS

Put the hooked device into the drain and see what you can pull out. You could be surprised by the amount of hair and gunk you pull out and it can be pretty gross and messy. I was not expecting there to be as much as I pulled out of mine.

fix bathtub drain - fish for gunk in drain
6.  TURN WATER ON AND TEST

Once again fill a 5-gallon bucket with water and pour it out in the bathtub to see how long it takes for it to drain compared to the first test you did.

fix bathtub drain - time tub draining

This fixed my issue and my bathtub drain started draining so much better than it did before. If you find that this doesn’t fix your issue, you may have more going on that is causing the drain issue.

If you need help, give us a call and we’ll have someone come take a look at what’s happening with your drain.

 


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Apr 22nd 2021

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