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.

Clogged toilet? How to use a plunger and other things to try

Use a plunger


Most clogs can be removed with a plunger. Just make sure you’re using a toilet plunger, not a sink plunger, so that you can get a tight seal.

Sink vs Toilet Plungers
You’ll need a toilet plunger to unclog a toilet. A sink plunger usually won’t form a tight enough seal with the bowl. Image by Caitlin McCormick- Dribbble.


The below video shows how to plunger a toilet. Also make sure to keep an appropriate water level in the toilet. A plunger can only create a strong vacuum when it’s filled with water. If necessary, use a bucket to add water until the plunger is submerged. Of course, before you try flushing the toilet, remove water with the bucket if there is not enough space in the bowl.





Soap and water


If you don’t have a plunger, or if it didn’t work, you might try adding warm water and dish soap. First add a fair amount of dish soap, then fill the bowl with hot water (be careful not to burn yourself!). If the water level doesn’t fall after waiting a while, then use a bucket to remove some of the water before you try flushing again (so that it doesn’t overflow).





Coat hanger


If the above methods don’t work, one last ditch effort is to unwind a coat hanger and fish it down the toilet. This should be able to break up any soft blockages within the toilet.




Drain cleaning chemicals are dangerous and can even damage your toilet in some cases. That is why we usually don’t recommend them. If you do use them, make sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If it is ultimately necessary to call a plumber, additional charges might apply if you have tried using drain cleaning chemicals, as extra care will have to be taken when cleaning the drains and washing the equipment afterwards.  This is especially the case when there is a complete blockage, as opposed to a slow drain.


If none of these tips worked, you probably need a professional plumber. Call 604 GOOD GUY (604 466 3489) to schedule a service call, or use our online form.