Bath Advisors

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain with Standing Water Naturally

Bath Advisors is supported by readers. If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

If every bath results in ankle-deep murky, and lukewarm soapy water standing inside the bathtub, there’s something wrong with the drain! Standing water is something more than just gross, and it can lead to an unbearable smell if not dealt with on time.

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain with Standing Water

Fortunately, unclogging the bathtub drain is not a task, and you can do it at home using some simple things. Here’s how to unclog a bathtub drain with standing water and make the water flow smoothly after every bath.

Moreover, in the article, I’ll talk about the common causes and symptoms of blockage that you should never ignore.

Symptoms of a Slow-Draining Tub

The most evident symptom will be the standing water that’s draining slowly, but there are some other things that you should pay attention to. In addition, the bubbling and gurgling sounds from the drain show that it is going to be blocked anytime.

Apart from these visible and audible symptoms, there’s one symptom that you’ll smell, and that’s the foul odor coming from the drain. The water standing inside the drain results in a bad smell, which spreads inside the entire bathroom.

Common Causes of a Clogged Bathtub Drain

Causes of Clogged Bathtub Drain

There are plenty of culprits behind a clogged bathtub drain, and most of them include the products you use in your daily routine. Here I’ve highlighted the major causes that cause water to stand and drain slowly.

1. Hair

The most common cause behind a slow-draining bathtub is hair. Every time you take a bath, you lose several strands that get stuck inside the drain causing difficulties for the water to seep in. Fortunately, fixing this issue is the easiest, and you can do the job with a pair of tweezers.

2. Soap Scum

Soap scum is another common cause of a clogged bathtub drain. Also, soap is the primary culprit behind a clogged bathroom sink. Those tiny chunks of soap get settled down inside the drain forming a big lump over time and that causes blockage. In some cases, even bath bombs, body wash, and shampoo resulted in clogging the drain, as the scum mixes with the hair to form a lump.

3. Dirt, Sand, and Debris

The plumbing appliances of our homes have built-in filtration systems that clean the dirt and dust. But sometimes, the fine dust trespasses these filters. This dust, when combined with soap and debris, can cause blockage of the bathtub drain.

Dirt and sand are also a cause of clogged toilets, so if you see your toilet and bathtub clogging simultaneously, dust could be the reason.

4. Hard Water

Well, it may not seem like a problem, but hard water can cause severe blockage. In addition, the higher mineral content present in the water when interacting with soap and debris can lead to clogging the bathtub drain.

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain

You don’t need a plumber to unclog a bathtub drain, and you can quickly do it by following the below-mentioned methods. I’ve covered several ways, so if one does not work, you can try another method and see the water getting flushed out of the drain.

Things Required to Unclog a Bathtub Drain

You need to have the following items at hand when unclogging a bathtub drain. Almost all methods will require you to pour hot water, so a kettle and a bucket of water should always be there.

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain with Standing Water

I’ve started this list of methods with the basic ones so that you can try the simplest hack before going for some serious methods. Read on to know how to unclog a bathtub drain naturally.

Method 1: Pour Hot Water over the Drain

Take a kettle full of water, and start boiling it. Now pour the water over the drain slowly, and wait for some time. You can also use a pair of tweezers to pull out the hair, and soap scum settled over the drain, as it is causing the blockage.

After a few minutes, you’ll see the water getting flushed out of the drain. Hot water melts the scum and helps release the clog. If possible, add a handful of salt to the water to make it more effective.

Method 2: Use a Plunger

A plunger is every plumber’s favorite tool for a reason! You can also use a plunger to get rid of the bathtub drain blockages. Sometimes the problem is not over the drain but inside it, and for that, you need to plunge a little to make the water flow smoothly.

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain Full of Hair

Step 1: Clean the Drain

Start with cleaning the drain, use tweezers to remove hair, and soap scum settled over the drain cover. You can also remove the debris using your hands.

Step 2: Pour Hot Water over the Drain and Plunge

Heat some water in a kettle again, and pour it over the drain. Now place the plunger over the drain, cover the entire drain cover, and start plunging.

Using a plunger creates pressure inside the pipeline, which helps open the blockage. Keep plunging for a minute or two, and check if the drain is swallowing the standing water.

Make sure to use the right type of drain plunger that’s designed for a bathtub.

Step 3: Clean the Bathtub

Once you are done releasing the clog, clean the bathtub walls using water, and spray some water over the drain cover as well.

Method 3: Push a Drain Snake to Remove the Blockage

A plunger can easily clear the blockage, but it may fail to resolve the stubborn blockages caused by debris, dust, and soap scum. For such blockages, you need a drain snake, as it reaches the root cause and eliminates it.

Step 1: Push the Drain Snake Inside the Drain

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain Full of Water

Place the snake over the drain, and push it down. The retractable part of the snake will reach the cause of the blockage.

Step 2: Turn the Handle

Now turn the handle to bring the snake back to the surface. You need to repeat the push-and-turn process several times in order to clear the blockage.

Step 3: Flush Some Water

The standing water will start draining immediately after the blockage gets cleared. It would be great if you could pour more water in order to flush the blockage-causing elements out of the pipeline.

Method 4: Unclog a Bathtub Drain using Vinegar

There are plenty of drain cleaners available out there, but they aren’t healthy for the drain and environment because of the strong chemicals and compounds present in them.

However, you can prepare a natural solution at home and get rid of the standing water within minutes using this best drain cleaner for standing water.

Step 1: Pour Hot Water Down the Drain

Boil some water in a kettle, and pour it down the drain. If required, clean the hair and soap scum from the drain cover so that the water can reach inside and do its wonders.

Step 2: Add a Cup of Vinegar and Baking Soda

Take a bowl and add one cup of baking soda with one cup of vinegar. You can also pour one cup of water to make the solution’s consistency thin and make it flow inside the drain.

Apart from removing the blockage, the mixture of baking soda and vinegar also exterminates the foul smell, so you get multiple benefits by using this method.

Step 3: Pour the Solution and Wait for Some Time

Pour this solution inside the drain, and wait for 15-20 minutes. You’ll hear gurgling noises, and bubbles will be visible on the top of the drain. It is a sign that the solution is reacting with the blockage and breaking it down.

Step 4: Flush a Bucket of Water

After the timer bell rings, and you see the standing water getting clear, pour a bucket of water. This will help in flushing the blockage out of the drain’s pipe, and you won’t encounter a blockage again.

Tips to Prevent Clogged Drains

Following these drain unclogging methods will help you achieve a properly functioning drain that swallows the water quickly after every bath.

However, the blockage can occur again, and you might have to repeat these steps over and over every month.

Fortunately, there are some tried-and-tested tips listed below that’ll help you prevent clogged drains.

1. Use a Water Softener

A water softener will remove calcites and other impurities from the water to prevent the drain from getting blocked. You can either use the softener with the freestanding tub filler or get it installed with the main water supply line.

2. Clean the Drain Cover

As per a study, an average human loses around 50 to 100 hair strands every day. And these strands get stuck inside the drain, causing a blockage. Clean the drain cover after every bath, and throw away the strands in a bin.

3. Invest in Plumbing Maintenance

Hire a reliable plumber, and get the drains checked after a few months. Sometimes the blockage can be due to poor plumbing, and only a professional can help in such cases.


Q1: What Dissolves Hair in a Bathtub Drain, and How to Clean a Bathtub Drain Full of Hair?

A1: You can use a combination of white vinegar and baking soda to dissolve the clog caused by hair. Add a cup of baking soda over the clog, and then pour one cup of vinegar to remove the standing water.

Q2: Do Home Clogged Drain Remedies really work for Unclogging a Bathtub Drain?

A2: Yes, the home remedies for clogged bathtub drain, including the vinegar and baking soda method, really work for removing the clog. However, they are not as effective as chemical-containing decloggers, but they do not harm the drains as well, so you should only use natural cleaners.

Q3: Can I pour Liquid Plumr in Standing Water?

Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength Full Clog Destroyer

A3: Liquid Plumr works well for slow-flowing drains and might not be effective for standing water. You need to empty the bathtub manually to use Liquid Plumr for dissolving the blockage.

Q4: How long does Boiling Water take to Remove the Drain Blockage?

A4: Boiling water can resolve a blockage in under 10 minutes. However, you must keep pouring hot water over the drain after every few minutes. If the blockage does not clear after 10 minutes, try another method.

Q5: Will Coca-Cola Unclog a Drain?

A5: You might have seen several videos about clearing the drains with Coca Cola or Coke. However, it only works for minor blockages or slow-flowing water. The caustic properties of the beverage help clean the inside of the bathtub drain, so the water flows uninterruptedly.

Final Thoughts

Now you don’t have to call for any professional help to know how to unclog a bathtub drain with standing water since you know how to do it.

Furthermore, follow the essential tips listed in the article to ensure you don’t experience any problems with the bathtub drain.

In case if the water is still standing or draining slowly after trying every method listed here, you should contact a reliable plumber. Get the entire drain cleaned or get it inspected by professionals to know more about the issue.


About The Author

Scroll to Top