3 Simple DIY Fixes for a Slow Draining Tub

When you want to relax in your tub, the experience can be ruined if the water drains away slowly or stops draining altogether. Nobody wants to stand in the tub, showering with dirty water lapping around their ankles. A slow draining tub can be an annoyance, but in many cases, it can be fixed without resorting to professional intervention. In this article, we will give you three simple DIY fixes to get your slow draining tub to drain properly.

Why is My Tub Draining Slowly?

Prevention is better than the cure, if you know why something occurs it’s usually possible to prevent it and save yourself some hassle. Let’s take a look at five common causes of a slow draining tub. They are:

1.   Loose Hair

When we shower and wash our hair, it’s inevitable that some will fall out and from there it’s washed into the drain. This is a natural process, but hair is very tough and durable and it can become tangled with other materials (especially soap scum). Gradually the clog will grow to slow and then block the entire drain.

2.   Soap Scum

One of the more annoying properties of hard water is that it inhibits the production of soap suds. The loose flecks of soap that enter our drains are sticky, they adhere to the drain walls and they are the perfect breeding ground for germs. Other materials will stick to the soap scum to form a more formidable clog that can be tricky to remove.

3.   Scale

Scale or limescale is caused by a buildup of minerals due to the elevated mineral content found in hard water. This is a tough material that’s hard to clean away without soaking in white vinegar or scrubbing with baking soda. But, when scale forms in the drain it’s impossible to clean it in this way and it will get thicker over time. Aside from the slowing drain issues, scale can cause corrosion in plumbing pipes.

4.   Sediment and Dirty

Let’s face it, when we need a shower, it’s because we are dirty and that dirt and sediment from our skin will go into the drain. Again, this can stick to other materials such as soap scum, scale, hair, and more to form tough drain clogs.

5.   A Faulty Drain Stopper

If the drain stopper is faulty or badly fitted it can prevent the steady draining of wastewater. The stopper can become stuck in a closed or partially closed position and it must be repaired or replaced to restore normal operations.

Many potential problems can be avoided if a drain cover is installed at every drain. It’s also important to make sure that everyone knows that they should not place items in the drain, But, if the tub drain is already clogged it’s time to seek a solution.

3 Simple DIY Fixes

Let’s take a look at three simple DIY fixes to get the slow draining tub working again. They are:

1.   A Cup Plunger

A simple cup plunger is an essential part of any home DIY plumbing tool kit. This inexpensive tool is extremely effective at forcing drain clogs out of a drain line. Simply place the cup over the drain and apply pressure in an up and down motion on the handle. This will change the pressure in the pipe and shake the drain clog loose to be flushed away with water. To increase the effectiveness, cover the overflow with some duct tape and use short sharp strokes. Don’t go too hard because it is possible to damage your pipes and work in 20 seconds bursts. Between each attempt, run the water to see if the drainage has improved and continue as needed. This process can be repeated up to six times before it becomes obvious that it’s not working. If the cup plunger is a bust it’s time to move on to the next drain clog removal method.

2.   A Plumbing Auger (Drain Snake)

A plumbing auger is a flexible rod with a drill bit at the business end and a crank to turn on the handle. There are a number of sizes, the smaller ones are inexpensive and they are a good addition to a home plumbing toolkit. The drain snake is easy to use, simply feed it into the drain slowly until it stops against an obstruction then the crank is turned and the clog is broken apart. To get access to the drain, remove the built-in strainer and work slowly to limit the potential for damage. Any debris that comes back up into the tub should be placed in a bucket to place in the trash later. Some debris will inevitably go further into the drain, but these smaller pieces can be flushed away with clean water. If you cannot reach the drain clog or this method doesn’t work, it’s time to attempt the next fix.

3.   A Garden Hose and Rubber Ball

This is an unusual, but effective clog removal method, but you need a long garden hose to make the attempt. Attach the hose to an exterior tap and run it through the window into the bathroom. If the hose won’t reach, you could use a threaded adapter and attach it to another tap in the bathroom. Close all the drains, feed the hose into the overflow tube, pack the entrance tightly and place a rubber ball in the drain. Press down on the ball and turn on the tap to increase the water pressure in the pipe to force the clog loose. Turn the tap on and off a few times and periodically check the drain to see if it’s draining easily. This can be a messy process, so it’s a good idea to have a few old towels on hand to mop up any water spills. If this method is not effective, it’s likely that you have a persistent clog that will be hard to remove without professional help. There may be an underlying problem that needs to be checked and fixed before the tub can drain properly.

If you have a problem with slow running drains, contact your local certified and licensed plumber today.