How to unclog a tub or bathtub drain with hair: Plunger, Snake and Water Pressure

A slow-draining tub can be really annoying as cold water can build up. Let’s take a look at what we can do to fix this. Bathtubs are often clogged with hair. In this post, we will discuss how you can get the hair out of the drains. This should make it more fun to take a bath!

This repair generally takes less than 15 minutes. In some instances, a plumber might have to come with specialized machines to get it fixed.


Bathtub drain clogged with hair: how to dissolve

Hair can often block the drain stopper. Try to open and close the drain stopper a few time. You might need to use a prying tool to get it out. There are also specialized drain remover wrenches for this.

If the drain stopper is made out of rubber, you can push it around and warm it up to get it flexible. You can also cut it into pieces. A new drain stopper is not that expensive. 

If the drain stopper is made out of metal, you can try to twist it or push on it. Removing a screw can help as well. You might need to pry it out though. 

You can try to use the overflow and use an unclogging tool to remove hair from it. 

Once you have the drain stopper out, you can get started. Often you can remove the hairs by hand. Plastic hair catchers can be used as well. You can use a new toilet brush to clean the hole as well. Wear gloves though as this can splash a lot!

Using a plunger to unclog the drain of the bath

If that didn’t work, we can take out a plunger. Make sure that you get the right model as toilet plungers are different than sink plungers. You place the rubber part over the hole and fill the tub with water. This water can add some pressure to the clog once you remove the plunger. You might have to use the plunger a few times before you see results. 

Plungers will often solve the issue as they push air into the drains and this can remove the clog. If that didn’t work, we have to move to bigger tools. It can be a great idea to use a camera before we do this though. This allows us to determine where the clog is and find out how we can remove it. Sometimes a plumber needs to do it, for example, if there are tree roots in the drain. A camera can also help you to see problems with the drain and see where you have to repair them.

Plumbers have cameras that send out a signal. This allows them to locate them. This is handy if you need to open up the drain and need to know the exact location. Digging up a drain is a lot of work and if you can avoid this with the right equipment, you should go for it. 

You can use a piece of metal in the overflow hole to see if that allows you to get the clog out. Sometimes hair gets stuck in this part and you can get it out. This only works for smaller clogs though. Make sure to wear gloves and have a plastic bag nearby to throw the hair away.

Using a Drain snake to unclog the drain of the bathtub

A drain snake is a type of auger that goes down in the drain and catches or disintegrates the clog. You have manual drain snakes that don’t have a lot of power. These can remove small or soft clogs. More powerful drain snakes work with a drill machine to power them. This can already remove bigger clogs but is more dangerous to use as you can damage your drains. You have to wear safety equipment when you use this (goggles, gloves, and so on). It is possible that your snake gets stuck in a corner, you have to be patient and can give it a nudge or rotate it in the other direction. Don’t force things as it is possible to get it stuck and you might have to open the drain to get it out.

If it is a big clog, you can go to the local home department store and rent a professional drain snake. This is the same equipment that plumbers use. These are very powerful and can remove a lot of clogs. Plumbers might have special attachments though that allow them to remove more types of clogs.

Using water pressure to remove the hair clog from the drain of the tub

Water jetters are using water pressure to unclog a tub. These are easier to use as they push themselves forward. This is why a lot of plumbers enjoy using them. You can get an attachment for your pressure washer but plumbers have more advanced equipment that can use more force for bigger clogs. The disadvantage of this system is that it can flood your bathroom if the clog doesn’t go away easily. This is less of an issue in the bathtub.

These water jetters can also be used to remove tree roots. These are common in drains and can clog up your whole system. Using the right attachment for your problem is essential as there are different ways to spray the water. Some attachments focus the spray whereas others open this more up. 

If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can use a garden hose and a water bladder. This bladder expands in your sink and builds up water pressure to get the clog away. You can get an attachment to connect your faucet with a garden hose. This is often quite easy to do. Just wear the proper safety equipment.

If the above options didn’t work, it is time to call a plumber. Most plumbers pick a water jet or drain snake. Having both systems can be quite expensive. Some plumbers don’t own this equipment and refer to a specialized company as they have invested in this equipment. 

How to avoid hair clogs in the tub

You might want to use another soap or get a hair catcher if you have a lot of clogs. Hair catchers are easy to install. Simply place it in the drain of your tub and they will do their work.

 It is also possible that your drains are not wide enough and that this causes problems. In this instance, replacing your drains is the answer. This is not always possible as bigger drains take up more space. Your plumber can determine the best solution if you run into the same problem over and over again.

Bathtubs are designed to flush water and soap. Don’t use it to remove other items such as dirt, or waste as this can clog up the drain quite easily. This can lead to expensive repairs and can be easily avoided. 

To conclude, we can state that unclogging a bathtub is often quite straightforward if you have a plunger. Don’t use chemical products or hot water as this can destroy your drains. These products heat up and this can deform your drains that are often made out of a type of plastic.

Clogged bathtubs can be messy. Wear gloves and have dirty towels nearby.

Get the right tools for the job and the problem should be quite easy to fix. Before you know it, you are back to enjoying that hot and relaxing bath. 

Unclogging a bathtub can be quite challenging as it can contain a lot of hair. You have to make sure that you don’t break the drains in the floor or wall as this can lead to water leaks. Detecting a leak behind a wall is quite challenging.

If you don’t have experience with this, you might have to call a plumber to get help. Avoid using harsh chemicals to unclog the drain as this can make them break down as well. A plunger is often the best option.