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How to Fix a Slow-Draining Bathtub

Is your bathtub draining slowly? This can be a frustrating problem to deal with, as it can lead to standing water and a less-than-pleasant bathing experience. However, there are several steps you can take to fix a slow-draining bathtub and restore proper drainage. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of identifying the cause of the slow drain and provide you with effective solutions to resolve the issue. By following these steps, you can enjoy a fully functional and efficient bathtub drain once again.

1. Identify the Cause of the Slow Drain

The first step in fixing a slow-draining bathtub is to identify the underlying cause. There are several potential reasons why your bathtub may be draining slowly, including:

  • Hair and debris buildup
  • Clogged drain pipe
  • Issues with the bathtub stopper
  • Problems with the plumbing system

To determine the cause, start by removing any visible hair or debris from the drain. If this doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to investigate further or seek professional help.

2. Remove Hair and Debris from the Drain

Hair and debris are common culprits for slow-draining bathtubs. Over time, these substances can accumulate in the drain and create a blockage. To remove hair and debris from the drain, follow these steps:

  1. Put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands.
  2. Remove the drain cover or stopper, if applicable.
  3. Use a flashlight to inspect the drain for any visible hair or debris.
  4. If you can see the blockage, use a pair of needle-nose pliers or tweezers to carefully pull it out.
  5. Dispose of the hair and debris in a trash bag.
  6. Run hot water down the drain to flush out any remaining residue.
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Removing hair and debris from the drain is a simple and effective solution for many slow-draining bathtubs. However, if the problem persists, you may need to try other methods or consult a professional plumber.

3. Use a Plunger

If removing hair and debris doesn’t solve the slow drain issue, you can try using a plunger to dislodge any stubborn clogs. Here’s how:

  1. Fill the bathtub with enough water to cover the bottom of the plunger.
  2. Place the plunger over the drain, ensuring a tight seal.
  3. Push down firmly on the plunger, then pull up quickly to create suction.
  4. Repeat this plunging motion several times, exerting a moderate amount of force.
  5. Remove the plunger and check if the water drains more quickly.
  6. If the drain is still slow, repeat the process or try a different method.

A plunger can be an effective tool for dislodging clogs and improving drainage in a bathtub. However, if the slow drain persists, you may need to explore other options.

4. Try a Homemade Drain Cleaner

If the slow drain is caused by a clog that is not easily removed with a plunger, you can try using a homemade drain cleaner. Here’s a simple recipe you can make using ingredients you likely already have at home:

  • Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar in a measuring cup.
  • Quickly pour the mixture down the drain.
  • Immediately cover the drain with a drain plug or a cloth to prevent the mixture from bubbling out.
  • Let the mixture sit in the drain for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove the cover and flush the drain with hot water.
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The combination of baking soda and vinegar creates a chemical reaction that can help break down clogs and clear the drain. However, if this method doesn’t work, you may need to consider using a commercial drain cleaner or seeking professional assistance.

5. Call a Professional Plumber

If you have tried all the previous methods and your bathtub is still draining slowly, it may be time to call a professional plumber. A plumber has the expertise and specialized tools to diagnose and fix more complex plumbing issues. They can also provide advice on how to prevent future drain problems and ensure the long-term functionality of your bathtub drain.


A slow-draining bathtub can be a frustrating problem, but with the right approach, it can be resolved. By identifying the cause of the slow drain, removing hair and debris, using a plunger, trying a homemade drain cleaner, and seeking professional help if needed, you can restore proper drainage to your bathtub. Remember to take preventive measures, such as using drain covers and regularly cleaning the drain, to avoid future issues. With these steps, you can enjoy a fully functional and efficient bathtub drain for years to come.

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