How to unclog a bathtub drain – use chemical drain cleaners

Purchase a chemical drain cleaner at a store. These products uncover drains with chemicals such as potassium hydroxide or sulfuric acid.  When used properly, they clean most of the stuck drains. Choose a type of drain cleaner at your local hardware store or department store.

  • Make sure the product is made for the system you have at home. On the back of the cleaner, you will find the types of pipes for which you can use them.
  • Buy a product specially made for bathtubs.
  • If you do not know where the cleaners are or what you should buy, ask a store worker to help you.

Read the instructions on the back of the cleaner. These are the ones proposed by the manufacturer and each product will have a few different ones. Some instructions might ask you to put on protective goggles, to pour only a certain amount of liquid, among others. Reading them is crucial to using chemical drain cleaner safely.

Remove the remaining water in the bath. You may need to use a large bucket or cup to remove any remaining water.

Pour the indicated amount of cleaner into the drain of your bathtub. For example, if you use Drano you will have to pour half a bottle (32 oz or 950 g) into a stuck drain. On the other hand, Crystal Lye Drain Opener tells you to use only 1 tablespoon. Be careful not to splash the chemical cleaner when you open the bottle and pour it into the drain.

  • Clean any splash immediately.
  • Have gloves on always when handling any chemicals.

Wait to see the results. Many cleaners indicate that between 15 and 30 minutes are sufficient, so let them rest in the drain by this time. Program a timer to control time accurately.

Run cold water through the drain. This should work fine after the 15 to 30 minutes you waited for. Open the cold-water pipe of the bathtub and the water should disappear immediately through the drain.

Contact a professional plumber if the drain has not been uncovered. Mixing different chemicals can be dangerous, so you should not try another if the first one did not. In this situation, you should call a professional plumber to help you.

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