Clearing a Clogged Bathtub Drain with a Snake: How-To


What Causes Bathtub Drain Clogs

Clearing a clogged bathtub made easy with drain snakes. Learn effective tips and tricks to unclog your tub today!

Bathtub drains commonly get clogged with:

  • Hair, soap scum, and body oils accumulating over time
  • Loose hair washing down the drain
  • Toiletries and other debris going down the drain
  • Mineral deposits from hard water

A small amount of buildup is all it takes to slow water drainage and cause a clog.

Choosing the Right Drain Snake

There are a few types of drain snakes to consider:

  • Hand snakes – Simple, versatile snakes operated by hand. Good for clearing sink and tub drains.
  • Powered snakes – Electric drain augers with rotating cables. Better for long pipes.
  • Chemical snakes – Use caustic chemicals to dissolve clogs. Can damage pipes.

For a bathtub, a 25-50 foot hand snake is usually best. The flexible cable can twist around traps. Get one with a hand crank to control the cable.

Using a Drain Snake Step-by-Step

Snaking a tub drain is straightforward:

  1. Remove the drain stopper – Unscrew or pry it out to access the drain. Remove any overflow plate too.
  2. Insert the snake – Feed cable into drain opening slowly. Don’t force it.
  3. Advance and retrieve – When you hit the clog push cable through it, then reverse direction. Twist cable to capture debris.
  4. Extract snake – Once water flows freely, slowly extract cable with debris.
  5. Run hot water to flush remains down the drain.

It may take a few passes to fully clear the clog. Be patient and work the cable carefully.

Clearing a Clogged Bathtub

Unclogging Tips and Tricks

  • Try a plunger first for light clogs
  • Use baking soda and vinegar treatment monthly
  • Prevent tangles by slowly inserting and removing snake
  • Lubricate cable with cooking oil if it gets stuck
  • Rent or buy a powered snake for severe clogs

Snaking works best for recent clogs before major buildup.

Preventing Future Clogs

Stop clogs before they start:

  • Use a drain catcher and remove hair after bathing
  • Avoid pouring fats/oils down the drain
  • periodically flush with hot water and baking soda
  • Use a bio-enzymatic drain cleaner monthly

Routine maintenance keeps drains clear for smooth water flow.


Snaking a clogged bathtub drain removes gunk and gets things flowing freely. Follow these how-to steps and unclogging tips using a hand drain snake. Routinely maintain drains to avoid major backup. With some patience and the right tool, you can handle this plumbing job yourself.

FAQs about Drain Snakes and Clearing a Clogged Bathtub

What is the best way to clear a clogged bathtub drain?

One of the most effective methods is using a drain snake to clear the blockage.

How does a drain snake help in unclogging a bathtub drain?

A drain snake, also known as a plumber’s snake, is a long, flexible tool that can reach deep into the drain to dislodge and clear out obstructions such as hair and soap buildup.

What are the key moments in using a drain snake to clear a bathtub drain?

The key moments include carefully feeding the snake into the drain, turning the handle to navigate it through the pipe, and gradually pulling it back to remove the clog.

Can I use a drain snake to clear a shower drain as well?

Yes, a drain snake can also be used to clear a clogged shower drain, making it a versatile tool for various drainage issues in the bathroom.

How do I clean the drain snake after use?

It is important to clean the drain snake after use by wiping it down with a clean cloth and ensuring that it is free from any debris or residue that could affect its performance in the future.

What should I do if the drain is still clogged after using a drain snake?

If the drain remains clogged after using a drain snake, you may need to consider other methods such as pouring hot water down the drain, removing the overflow plate, or seeking professional help from a plumber.

Can a drain snake damage the plumbing mechanism in the bathtub drain?

When used properly, a drain snake should not damage the plumbing mechanism. However, it is important to follow the instructions carefully and avoid applying excessive force to prevent any potential damage.

How long does it typically take to clear a clogged bathtub drain using a drain snake?

The time to clear a clogged bathtub drain using a drain snake can vary depending on the severity of the clog, but it typically takes around half an hour for a successful clearing.

What should I do if the snake cable gets stuck in the drain?

If the snake cable becomes stuck in the drain, carefully extract the cable while turning the handle gently to dislodge it, ensuring not to force it or cause further complications.

Is using a drain snake the best choice for clearing a clogged bathtub drain?

Using a drain snake is often a preferred method for clearing clogged bathtub drains due to its effectiveness in dislodging and removing obstructions without the need for harsh chemicals or invasive procedures.

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