How to Snake a Bathtub Drain | A Step by Step Guide from Our Experts


A blocked drain in your bathtub can make your bathroom messy, introduce excessive moisture, and cause a lot in your shower. Some clogs are too large or deep to get rid of, making an auger or snake of good quality the ideal tool to employ to bring your bathtub back to its original condition. The hand-held snakes for DIY available for homeowners function similarly to the plumbing tools that a professional will use for the same task, except it’s powered by hand. How to unblock your bathtub drain utilizing the help of a snake Cleaning and unblocking your drain in the bathtub is simpler than you think. And after reading this guide, you are ready to snake a bathtub drain.

What do you need to know about how to snake a bathtub drain

However, a clog in the bathtub drain is usually composed of soap scum and hair. There could also be mineral deposits due to hard water or debris like dirt, sand or even skin. Before you purchase a portable drain cleaner, it may be worthwhile to look into a Chemical drain opener that could be put directly into the drain without removing any of the bathtub’s components. A basic plunger may also be able to remove the clog without the hassle of the drain snake.

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Access is through the overflow drain

A bathtub drain is typically linked to a preventer system. It will eventually lead to an overflow drain located directly beneath the faucet. Although this drain is designed to stop the tub from overflowing. It’s the most convenient way to access the chute that connects your tub and the sewer lines in your bathroom.

Safety considerations

After you’ve removed the overflow cover and taken off the stopping mechanism in place. Now’s the perfect moment to examine the pipe behind the mask. This pipe could be loosened during disassembly and can cause leaks if it is not dealt with. If you can move the line quickly in any direction, it’s best to consult an experienced plumber to seek professional guidance.

This could be the case. It can be quite a messy procedure as you’re frequently taking out months. Even years’ worth of soap scum and other obstructions, so wearing a pair of suitable rubber gloves will help keep your hands free of dirt while you work. The drain snake’s metal cable could also cause damage to specific tub finishes. However, you can stop this by putting a drop cloth or towel over the blocked drain.

Try a hair removing tool first

Hair removal tools can be employed to remove clogs from up to 2 feet in the drain. The rods made of plastic have teeth on either side that can be hooked and pull hair out of your tub’s drain. They need to be placed in and removed for operation. The most stubborn and deep-down clogs will require the use of a drain snake that is 1/4 inch, however.

How to snake a bathtub drain

Step 1

First, you must eliminate the drain cover that covers overflow from the bathtub. The surface is situated between your faucet and drains on the bottom of the tub. It’s usually a 3-inch silver disc with an opening on the top or the bottom that allows water to get in. It can be removed using either a Philips or Flathead screw located in the middle of the disc or by two small screws located on the lid’s front part.

Suppose the overflow drain is equipped with an electronic switch or some other mechanism in the front of the drain that permits the user to lift or lower the stopper within the gutter. In that case, it is necessary to remove the entire mechanism by lifting it up and then gently rotating or rocking the cover until it’s unlocked. Do not use too much force because some of the connections in this type of plug mechanism could be bent and cause difficulty to rebuild. Take the entire system out of the tub and put it aside.

Step 2

Start by dislodging the mechanism that locks the cable located on the front of your drain snake. Most likely, it’s the hand-turned wing nut that allows you to pull a second cable from the drum on the drill or return the line to the drum. Take 6 to 8 inches of the cable. Then tighten the wingnut once more. Slowly feed the cable through the drain overflow while turning it clockwise. Do not move too fast since it may make the wire twist and bend inside the pipe, making it difficult to get it out.

Step 3

Take off the wingnut. Remove an additional 6-8 inches of the cable. Tighten the wingnut, continue feeding the line into the drain, and turn the drum counterclockwise. When the drain snake cable begins does not allow it to enter the pipe, you’ve most likely hit the clog. Then, rotate the handle in a clockwise rotation twice and try to pull it back again. You’ve most likely hit the blockage if the cable doesn’t move.

Step 4

After identifying the obstruction, tighten the wingnut to the drain snake so that the drain snake stops moving into or out. Rotate the drum counterclockwise several times. Try to feel when the drain cable has cut through the blockage and is on the other side. As you move the drain snake, it’ll feel as though the tension is growing after you’ve successfully cleared the blockage.

The pressure will abruptly and dramatically let go. Slowly pull back the drain snake. Remove the cable as introduced by opening and closing the wingnut on the drill and inserting the wire back into the drum. The blockage should be pulled out of the drain by using the cable. Be cautious when removing the final few inches of drainage snake because it could be in tension and spin quickly when free of the drain. To lessen the stress, rotate the drum counterclockwise until it is about to come ultimately out of the drain.

Step 5

Once you’ve cleared the obstruction and removed the snake cable. Turn the hot water on to examine if the issue is resolved. If not, you can repeat the procedure to clear any extra debris from your tub’s drain. Allow the water to run hot for one to 2 minutes. This will make sure that the blockage is gone. But it can also help break up any blockage or residue that formed over the period that the clog was in the drain. When you are happy, reconnect your drain cover. Clean your tools to eliminate any rust or odor. The task is complete.

How to unclog a bathtub drain

Step 1

Soap and shampoo can create an oily buildup that blocks your bathtub drain. To get rid of the issue, make sure to boil a pot of water over the stove before slowly pouring it into the gutter. Although this method may not suit all kinds of blockages (such as matted hair), the hot water can dissolve many soaps quite quickly. Try this method for a test first to determine if it helps unblock the drain. You’re ready to look for a different approach if it doesn’t.

Step 2

A plunger is among the most commonly used methods to stop bathtubs from clogging. The success you get is contingent on the nature of the obstruction and the style and dimensions of the drain. Use a plunger and add some water into the tub before beginning to push the plunger hard. A tiny portion of petroleum jelly on the outside of the plunger could assist in creating a better seal.

Step 3

If you’re not a big fan of chemical products, the all-natural remedy may help unblock your bathtub drain. Start by pouring 1 teaspoon of baking soda into the gutter. Let it sit for five to ten minutes. Then add a cup of white vinegar down the drain, and let the mixture do its magic. You might need to finish by pouring boiling water into the gutter. However, this technique is suitable to clear mild blockages as baking soda and vinegar act to dissolve the accumulation.

Step 4

An alternative method to figure out how to unblock a clogged drain in the bathtub is to take it out by hand. You might want to put on an extra pair of rubber or latex gloves before beginning the process. Take off the drain cover (look for screws) and then look in the drain and see if you can identify the obstruction. If you find hair or other materials that block drains, you can use your fingertips to pull them out as much as you can.


Most tub drains are linked with the main sewer line in your bathroom, located within 5-7 feet of the gutter. If you’re placing more than 8 feet. of snake drain cable down your drain, but you have not able to clear your clog, it could be that the snake has gone in the wrong direction after being it was connected to the bathroom’s pipes or it has folded onto its own within the drain. Drain snakes are an essential tool that homeowners should keep in their arsenal. With the information you’ve gathered from this article, it’s easy to get rid of blockages that are difficult to remove. The bathtub drain could be “snaked” regularly to maintain a clear drain instead of waiting on a backup to develop before acting. We hopw now you understand how to snake a bathtub drain.

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