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How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain Without Harmful Chemicals

Typically, bathtub clogs result from hair, soap scum, and dead skin that has collected in the drain over time. Below, we’ll explain how to unclog your bathtub drain with a plunger, why you should avoid using a harsh chemical drain cleaner, and when you should consider involving a plumber.

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain With a Plunger

Using a plunger is the simplest way to fix a clogged drain. A plunger increases and decreases pressure in the pipe, pushing the water downward and upward until it eventually dislodges the clog – no harsh chemicals required.


  1. Buy a sturdy sink plunger (aka. cup plunger).
  2. Try to clean the drain beforehand by removing as much hair and debris as possible with pliers or tweezers.
  3. Plug up the tub’s overflow opening with a wet rag. Otherwise, you may not be able to build up enough suction with the plunger.
  4. Position the plunger’s “cup” over the drain opening. Make sure it covers the opening completely and that the cup edges are in contact with the tub.
  5. Turn on the bathtub faucet and fill the tub with enough water to cover the plunger’s cup. Without this step, plunging won’t work!
  6. Keeping the plunger’s cup in contact with the tub, start pushing on the handle in an up-and-down motion. This even, repetitive motion will build up pressure inside the drain.
  7. Pump the plunger about six or seven times, and then lift it to see if water is draining correctly.
  8. If proper drainage isn’t occurring, try again. You may need to plunge several times before the clog finally loosens.

When to Involve a Plumber

If your bathtub clog is still a problem after multiple attempts at plunging, it’s time to involve a plumber. Avoid using chemical drain cleaning products as a cheap and easy solution. Aside from releasing harmful chemicals into the air, some store-bought drain cleaners can get hot enough on the skin to cause heat burns. Using these products can endanger you, your family, and the plumber who comes to clean your drain.

Depending on how severe the clog is and where it’s located, a plumber might need to clear it with a drain auger or water jetting equipment:

  • Drain Augering: A plumber removes clogs from the drain with a long, flexible, metal cable with a sharp hook on the end. Drain augers can be powered manually or electronically.
  • Water Jetting: A plumber feeds a hose with powerful, multi-directional water jets through your home’s main drain to blast away particularly stubborn blockages.

Knoxville Drain Cleaning With No Harsh Chemicals

The Plumbing Authority is ready to take on the clogs in your home! Schedule a first-rate drain cleaning service with us today by calling (865) 238-2280.

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