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Dirty or blocked bathtub drains can cause horrible odours in your bathroom and the entire house altogether. With its frequent use, it is easy for the bathtub drain to get dirty. This is why you should ensure you clean your bathroom and its drain regularly. Understanding how to clean bathtub drains is paramount to keep them clean at all times and allow them to last for many years.

Contrary to what you might think, cleaning a bathtub drain is pretty easy. You can opt to clean it using natural products available in your house or buy the right drain cleaner from your local store. Whichever products you go for, all you need to do is follow the right drain cleaning steps. Continue reading the article to learn the best ways to clean your bathtub drain.

Signs Your Bathtub Requires Cleaning

Although it is proper practice to clean your bathtub drain regularly, some signs indicate you need to clean it immediately. Leaving the dirt to stay for long causes odour and also compromises the durability of the drains.

Your Bathtub Drain is Frequently Slow

A single slow drain may not be a problem. However, if you realise that the drain is slowing down more frequently, there is an issue. If your bathtub drain slows down frequently, it is a sign of build-up of waste inside the drain.

Clogged Bathtub Drain

The build-up of materials inside the bathtub drain can lead to clogging. The accumulation of material makes it impossible for water to effectively drain out of the tub. You need to keep in mind that if the main sewer line gets clogged, it can also backup all the drains on your property. Some of the signs of tub drain clogging include grime coming out of the tub, odour or the tub not draining after use.

Gurgling Sounds from the Bathtub Drain

Your tub’s drain should be quiet. The drain should only produce occasional sounds when the bathtub is emptying. If you hear strange noises from the bathtub, it is an indicator of the presence of a clog along the drain. As mentioned above, the clogs are caused by the build-up of waste along the bathtub drain. You can try to unclog your bathtub drain using a plunger.

Recurring Odours

One of the major signs of a dirty bathtub drain is a smelly bathroom. The odour from your bathtub drain can occur as a result of the accumulation of hair strands, oil, soap, or other materials that may have stuck in the bathtub.

Reduced Water Pressure

When water pressure reduces in your bathtub, you should clean the drain immediately. This reduced pressure is a result of residue stuck inside the bathtub’s drain.

Effective Methods To Use To Clean Your Bathtub Drain

Now that you understand and can comfortably identify the signs of a dirty bathtub drain, let’s focus on the different ways to clean it. Most of these methods are cheap and easy to apply. And guess what? You do not have to focus on just a single method. You can combine different bathtub cleaning methods for effective results. The most important thing is to make sure that you use cleaning products, methods and tools that do not cause any damage to your bathtub’s drain. Additionally, always use protective gear such as rubber gloves when cleaning your bathtub drain.

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

Using baking soda and vinegar is an effective method to clean drains with moderate blockages.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the bathtub drain opening then follow it up with a cup of vinegar.
  2. Allow the mixture to sit for approximately five minutes as it works its magic.
  3. Now run boiled water down the drain for about a minute.
  4. Check the tub drainage to find out if it is still slow.

It is advisable to use this method because it is ecologically friendly. The cleaning ingredients used do not damage the drain’s plastic pipes. However, if you have major drain clogs, this method might not work effectively.

Use a Plunger

Using a plunger is another less costly method for unclogging your bathtub drain. This method can be successful, although it depends on the type of blockage, clog location and your bathtub’s drain design. If the clog is deep and contains a lot of hair, this method may not be effective because the plunger cannot remove the hair build-up effectively.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Put petroleum jelly at the rim of your plunger for a better seal.
  2. Add water into the bathtub to ensure that the head of your plunger gets submerged.
  3. Now, plunge the tub drain opening by pumping vigorously.

Use a Plumber Snake

This is another less costly method that you can use to clean your bathtub drain. All you need is to have a plumber snake near you.

The steps to follow are as follows:

  1. You can access the bathtub drain through the overflow once you remove the drain stoppers. Another way to access the drain is through a drain opening after removing the strainer and stopper.
  2. Once you access the drain, put the snake down until you reach the clog.
  3. Start by turning the handle to bring the snake back up.
  4. Run the water to assess the tub drain and ensure that the clog is completely removed.
  5. Repeat the process severally until you are certain that the clog is completely gone.

Cleaning the Drain with Boiling Water

The steps to follow are:

  1. Open the drain stopper. Do this by unscrewing the stopper to open it to allow water to go down the drain. If your bathtub fills up and fails to drain, this shows there is a clog. You should unclog your bathtub drain before you can start the cleaning work.
  2. Boil water. You should have at least two litres of boiled water in a kettle.
  3. Now pour the boiled water down the bathtub drain. This helps clean out the build-up soap scum and all the gunk left after the bathing.

Use Commercial Drain Cleaners

You can also try the different commercial chemical drain cleaners. These cleaners act as an alternative to using natural methods or plungers. You can purchase these cleaners from your local store. The most important thing when using commercial cleaning agents is to follow the instructions on the package strictly. Moreover, you should never mix commercial cleaners with other cleaning solutions. Also, avoid using bleach to unclog your shower drain or bathtub drain. This can cause severe damage by corroding the pipes since bleach is a very harsh chemical.

Step-By-Step Guide On How To Deodorise Your Bathtub Drain

  1. Remove the stopper. Bathtubs come with different types of stoppers. Depending on the type of stopper your tub has, you can unscrew the stopper or remove all the screws from your tub drain. To clean the tub drain, you should remove the drain stopper completely.
  2. Now pour about 180g of baking soda down the drain and allow it to sit for approximately twenty minutes. As it sits, it absorbs the odour coming from your drain.
  3. Get rid of the gunk inside the tub drain using a bottle brush. Get a bottle brush measuring at least three centimetres in diameter. Stick its end into the pipe connecting to the drain. Now move it up and down as you rotate to get rid of the gunk from the bathtub drain. Remove all the hair and dirt from the tub drain using the brush.
  4. Finally, flush the bathtub drain with boiling water. This helps flush the baking soda. You can repeat this process severally to deodorise your drain completely.

Do’s And Don’ts Of Bathtub Drain Cleaning

Use Professional Sewer Jetting

Clogged bathtubs are not always caused by a blocked drain. It is also possible for sewer lines connecting your tub drains to clog. This is why it is important to call a professional plumber to perform sewer jetting. This is a process that uses high-pressure water to clear grime, waste and grease, and any other material that might be causing a blocked sewer.

Install Filters and Caps on Your Bathtub’s Drain

You can keep your tub drain clean by placing a stainless steel filter or cap on it. They help prevent all unwanted objects from going into your drain by trapping them thus preventing clogs. Replace when you start noticing rust.

Never Use Acidic Drain Cleaners

You should never use commercial cleaners containing acidic ingredients to clean your tub’s drain. Acidic drain cleaners can cause damage to the pipes and can also cause severe injury and burns to you or others in your household. Before you use any commercial cleaner, check that they do not have acidic ingredients, and if you are not sure, always ask your plumber.

Avoid DIY Drain Snaking

Tub drain snakes are made with flexible steel that goes deep into the drain to clean them. If handled in the wrong way, it can snap and throw shards of broken steel at you. Thus, hire a professional plumber when using this method to clean your bathtub drains.

Do You Still Have Issues Cleaning Your Bathtub Drain?

If you still have issues cleaning your tub drains, you can hire a professional plumber to help. The plumbers have vast experience and skills on how the drains should be cleaned. They use the right cleaning tools and products to ensure that they clean your bathtub drain effectively and safely.

Professional plumbers also give you advice on how you can detect when your bathtub drain needs cleaning. Moreover, they help you with tips on how to prevent bathroom drains from smelling, getting dirty and eventually clogging.


Our Customers

Christopher Chow

I called Hero Plumbing to unblock a shower drain and was unable to get a quote over the phone, but Sam the owner was here same day. After his first try, he made quick work of the blockage. I opted to also get the acid cleaner stuff poured down. Sam had run out, but made a trip to go pick some up to finish the job. If you opt for this treatment make sure you can easily air the bathroom as it’s extremely strong and produces a lot of fumes. Great Service and Honest Pricing.

Sarah Lincon

Hero Plumbing has been excellent since there first phone call.
I spoke to a gentlemen names Sam which he organised a technician to come and replace our hot water heater.
The technician was excellent called me 30mins before arrival explained the whole job to me and gave me an upfront price.
Excellent work Hero team.
We are a Hero member now and always look forward to working with them.

Jared Evans

We've used Hero Plumbing previously. Both times reliable and flexible with changing times (helpful during covid ISO periods!)
Hayden was on time and explained the issue clearly, fixed it,then also did some extra checks on water pressure and taps to ensure there were no underlying issues.
Would recommend their services.

Denzi K

Hero Plumbing has been our go to plumber for years.

They replaced our hot water system with excellent workmanship, professionalism and in a timely manner - as always!

Hayden Davidson

Brilliant service from the first phone call to Hero Plumbing as Sam the manager booked us in very efficiently. I received a confirmation  email, a phone call on approach and all went smoothly & work conducted was beautiful . The team did a great job even dig up on our sewer and cut concrete & repaired the issue and our sewer is running like a dream.
Thanks for your great efforts guys!


Victoria Barmina

I knew Sam when he was working alone. And from the first time I was pleasantly surprised by his work. A little later I found out that he has his own business. I am very happy about that. And I am very glad for myself that I have such a company that I can always rely on.

Thank you for your work. People need you very much.

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