Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017


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How to unclog a bathtub drain

Use a plunger

A plunger can only create strong suction when it is filled with water, not air. Add a couple inches of water to the bathtub so that the drain is filled with water and also make sure the plunger is filled as well.

Cover the overflow with a wet rag. This is necessary to prevent pressure from escaping. In some cases, it will be necessary to remove the cover to the overflow (this is the opening above the drain that normally drains excess water before the tub can fill over). There are usually one or two screws holding it in place. After the cover has been removed, you should be able to block the pipe with a wet rag.

It’s best to use a sink or cup type plunger as opposed to a toilet plunger. If you are using a toilet plunger, you must push the flange back in, and also be advised that this can be unsanitary.

Remove the stopper & debris below

Next you can try to remove the stopper. In some cases, you will only need a screwdriver, but in others you will also need some water pump pliers (also known as Channel Locks). Remember to be careful not to drop the screw into the drain.

If the blockage is just beyond your reach, you can try unwinding a coat hanger and bending the end in to a hook in order to remove the blockage.


We don’t recommend you use strong corrosive drain cleaning chemicals. In some cases they can damage your tub or drain pipes. They are bad for the environment and also potentially dangerous to your health, so be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations before using them. If you use drain cleaning chemicals, extra charges might apply if you do have to call a plumber. This is because extra care will have to be taken not to damage your bathroom and the drain cleaning equipment will have to be cleaned especially thoroughly.

You can also try filling the tub with hot water, as the heat will break up some types of softer blockages.

If none of these tips work, you probably need a professional plumber. To schedule your drain cleaning appointment, call 604 GOOD GUY (604 466 3489) or use our online form.

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