5 Easy Ways to Keep Bathroom Clogs at Bay

Barbara Bellesi Zito
Updated March 9, 2022
Water running in bathtub with white paneling
Photo: Rob Melnychuk / DigitalVision / Getty Images

You can keep your bathroom drain clear with a few easy tips

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A slow or clogged bathtub drain can go from mere annoyance to potential disaster if left untreated. Being that your bathroom is arguably one of the most important rooms of your home, you’ll want to keep those clogs at bay. 

The good news is that with some preventative measures, you can keep a bathtub drain clear. Unless you enjoy showering with water pooling around your ankles, follow these tips to keep that bathtub draining properly

1. Use a Drain Cover

A quick and inexpensive way to avoid bathroom clogs is to buy a drain cover. Long hair is one of the usual suspects when it comes to a slow drain, and a hair catcher will stop those strands before they slide down and get caught in the pipes. 

Aside from clearing hair from your bathroom drain, this easy fix can also stop other objects from getting stuck, including a bar of soap, a bath toy, or jewelry. 

There are a variety of drain covers on the market, ranging from plastic to metal. Whichever option you choose, make sure it has a mesh screen that is fine enough to let water through but will stop other obstructions. 

The water from your bath or shower will be able to pass through easily, and all you’ll have to do is discard the clump of hair that gathers each time.

2. Try a Drain Opener

There are many drain openers on the market that can cut through drain clogs, but you must read all directions carefully before using them to keep both you and your pipes safe from those strong and even dangerous chemicals. 

Instead, you can opt for more natural clog solutions with ingredients you might already have at home. 

Try this at-home recipe for clearing a bathroom clog:

  • Slowly pour 1 cup of hot water down the drain. (If you have PVC pipes, boiling water can damage them, so make sure the water isn’t too hot.)

  • Next, pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain

  • Lastly, pour 1 cup of water mixed with 1 cup of vinegar. You might hear or see some bubbling or fizzing, but it’s all good for your clogged drain.

3. Avoid Non-Bathing Activities

Wet dog getting a bath inside modern bathtub
Photo: Tony Garcia / Image Source / Getty Images

Your bathtub is meant for bathing. It’s not meant to be a slop sink for emptying mop buckets containing food particles or discarding the wastewater from the carpet shampooer. 

Older homes have pipes that are prone to clogs, but even newer plumbing won’t take kindly to home maintenance residue and debris. It’s fine to bathe your fur babies in the tub, but don’t forget to use that mesh drain cover first. 

4. Learn How to Use a Plunger

Sometimes, all it takes is a few quick thrusts of a plunger to get the water flow moving again. You can purchase one at your supermarket or local hardware store. (In fact, you might want to purchase several so you can keep one handy for every drain in your home, including the kitchen sink.)

It’s not hard to use one. Simply fit the plunger head over the drain to secure a seal, then thrust the dowel up and down quickly

5. Use a DIY Drain Snake

To DIY snake a drain, head to the home improvement store and purchase an inexpensive drain snake or drain stick. These are typically made of plastic and extend about 18 inches, with a grip on one end. 

Carefully insert the snake into the drain, pushing gently as far as it will go. Then, gently pull the snake back up and out of the drain, and you’ll hopefully unclog the bathtub drain by pulling up hair or other obstructions.

These are especially useful for unclogging shower drains that get obstructed by hair and soap scum.

Know When to Call a Plumber

If the clog is too advanced, you can’t seem to keep your drains clear, or if you’re concerned about the integrity of the plumbing itself, it's time to call in a local drain cleaning company. A plumber's know-how might be the only way to battle the standing water of a nasty clog, and it’s the surefire way to avoid damage to your pipes. 

Ignoring minor issues can cause larger, more expensive problems down the road. If these preventative methods and DIY fixes don’t do the trick, call in a professional plumber to flush this problem down the drain.

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