How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain with Standing Water: Ultimate Guide

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain with Standing Water: Ultimate Guide

If your bathtub is filled with standing water and you can’t seem to get the drain unclogged, don’t worry – you’re not alone. This is a common problem that many people experience. In this article, we will walk you through how to unclog a bathtub drain with standing water. Follow these simple methods and you’ll have the water draining in no time!

What Causes Clogs in Your Bathtub Drain?  

There are a lot of reasons why clogs can happen, but bathtub clogs can ruin your day. That’s why it’s important to know what causes bathtub clogs so you don’t have to deal with them.


Hair is the most common reason for blockages in the bathtub. Hair goes down the drain more frequently these days, yet it’s still not ideal. Hairballs are particularly prone to clogging old plumbing systems. In any case, it’s a good idea to have special hair catchers in your bathtub drain so you don’t have to worry about hair obstructions getting caught inside them.

Soap Scum

What most people don’t know is that their soap can also be a common reason for clogs. Soap scum is the waste product of soapy suds and bubbles left over after showering. When enough of it builds up in your drains, it will create a blockage.

Foreign Objects

Bathtubs are less likely to get clogged with foreign objects like toys and feminine hygiene products than toilets. This is because most bathtub drains have a cover that prevents large items from falling into the drain. However, smaller items can still slip through on older tubs and showers without a drain cover.

Mineral Deposits

If your home has hard water and no water softener, you’re going to start experiencing clogged drains. Hard water contains minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium that can build up over time if there’s enough of them present in your water. Depending on where you live, you may be more at risk for mineral deposits clogging your drain pipes than others. You may need to have your water tested so you know whether or not a water softener is necessary.

Old Pipes

Finally, it’s possible that you have an outdated plumbing system with age pipes. For the drain lines, residential plumbing systems formerly used cast iron pipes. Unfortunately, these metal tubes corrode from the inside and snag hair and other objects that fall into the drain.

However, there is also a possibility that the pipes could break down and cause a clog in the drain line. Either way, you can choose to temporarily unclog the drain using one of the following methods or install an entirely new plumbing system if the problem persists.

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain with Standing Water?

Try the Natural Method

Try the Natural Method

Before you use harsh chemicals on your bathtub drain, try natural drain cleaners first. When it comes to working, a natural cure is always the ideal alternative. Here are some naturals to look into.

  1. If there’s any standing water in your bathtub, use a wet vac or sponge and bucket to remove it.
  2. Now that the water is removed, you can start.
  3. Take one cup of baking soda and put it in the drain. If required, use a funnel to make sure it all goes in.
  4. After that, place half a cup of vinegar on top of the baking soda.
  5. You should hear some buzzing as the solution works its way through.
  6. If you hear the drain fizzing or buzzing, take a plunger or a bucket and form an airtight cover over the drain. Leave the cover on until the fizzing stops.
  7. Wait a half hour after the fizzing has stopped, then pour a gallon of hot water or boiling water down the sink.
  8. If the water is draining properly down the drain, you have fixed your clog!

If the vinegar technique doesn’t work, don’t worry, there’s another natural remedy you can try. This one is using salt instead of vinegar. So, in the step where it says to pour half a cup of vinegar down the drain, mix half a cup of baking soda with half a cup salt and warm water before pouring it down. Finish by following up with a gallon of hot water like last time.

Keep in mind that natural solutions like the ones we just discussed are usually both the best and easiest way to get rid of clogs. Always remember to wear rubber gloves when handling chemicals or standing water, as sanitation is key.

Use a Chemical Drain Cleaner


Although it’s not ideal, sometimes you will need to use a chemical cleaner for your drain. When that time comes, make sure you know how to do so safely and effectively.

  1. First, check the drain for any visible blockages or debris.
  2. If there doesn’t seem to be anything blocking the drain, you can try using a natural solution like vinegar and baking soda, or use a plunger.
  3. However, if none of those options work, your best bet is to purchase some Drano from your local hardware store.
  4. Drano is an effective way to unclog drains without damaging the pipes inside them.
  5. “Follow the instructions on your container of Drano exactly,” and it should take care of your problem quickly and easily.

Implement a Drain Snake

Bathtub Drain Snake

The plumbing snake is a great solution when liquid solutions don’t seem to be working and you want to avoid harsh chemicals. Drain snakes work by physically reaching into the drain and Pulling out hair and other objects that are causing clogs. It has a crooked head or drain claw that can slip around an object, allowing you to pull it out with its attached line when necessary.

I recommend this particular drain snake from Amazon because it can be used with or without a drill.

  1. Remove the drain cover, which is preventing objects from entering your drain.
  2. Take your plumber’s snake and insert it into the drain.
  3. If desired, you may also push the snake through the overflow tube above the drain. If you’re unfamiliar with a plumber’s snake, attempting to push it through using the overflow tube might be riskier because you could break your drain pipe doing so.
  4. You’ll either move the snake manually or use an attached handle to push the auger ahead.
  5. When you feel the snake meet resistance and begin to bend or kink, gently pull it back a few inches before attempting to advance once again.
  6. Push the snake in until you’re sure you’ve gone far enough.
  7. The majority of blockages will be within the first 10 feet from the beginning of the drain, so don’t waste your time going any farther.
  8. Retrieve the snake gradually by tugging or reeling it out.
  9. If you followed the steps correctly, the snake’s claw should come out with the hair or other Mystery Object causing the clog attached to it.

Remove the Drain Stopper

Drain Stopper

Although not common, your bathtub or drain stopper may be stuck in the closed position permanently. A stuck Stopper can occur on older tubs or ones that aren’t well maintained. In other words, The mechanism that opens and closes the drain stoppers becomes disconnected from The actual stopper over time.

Although not common, your bathtub or drain stopper may be stuck in the closed position permanently. A stuck Stopper can occur on older tubs or ones that aren’t well maintained. In other words, The mechanism that opens and closes the drain stoppers becomes disconnected from The actual stopper over time.

Toilet Plunger

Toilet Plunger

Using a toilet plunger is one of the few times you won’t have to remove standing water from within the bathtub. Rather, you’ll use it much in the same way as with a toilet – by placing it over the drain and pushing it in and out rhythmically to create suction.

  1. You may either remove all of the standing water in your tub if you like, but a plunger is not necessary.
  2. In the next step, clog the overflow tube above your drain with a rag. If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to create suction with the plunger.
  3. Place your toilet plunger over the drain without pushing down on it yet.
  4. The plunger will seal an airtight seal on its own after being placed directly over the drain, but putting some pressure on it helps ensure that happens.
  5. Start by plunging slowly and gently, then check to see whether anything worked after removing the plunger.
  6. If water isn’t draining still, try plunging again with more force.
  7. Do this a few times, as sometimes clogs are deep and tough to remove.
  8. When the water starts clearing up, turn on the tap and let running water go down the drain for five to ten minutes to ensure that it’s completely unclogged.

Dump Hot Water Into the Drain

This final option probably isn’t effective, but if you don’t have cleaning supplies like vinegar, baking soda, and salt available, boiling water might do the trick. The chances aren’t great that this will work by itself, but it’s worth a shot before having to call for professional help or using harsh chemicals.

What to Do If Nothing Works? 

If you’ve exhausted all possibilities and nothing works, you’ll have to call a plumber and have them unclog your drain for you. A blocked bathtub drain with standing water is not only inconvenient but also dangerous. The longer the water remains, the greater the chance of mold, mildew, and other unpleasant problems developing.

Although it’s not the most budget-friendly solution, sometimes you just need to call a plumber. They can figure out if there is a bigger issue at hand, such as tree roots obstructing the main drain system that links your house to the sewers.

Final Thoughts 

Clogged drains are a tremendous annoyance, but there are several ways to fix the issue. To start, opt for natural solutions such as plunging or using a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. If those methods don’t work, try more invasive tactics like an auger or drain snake. And if none of those work to unclog your drain pipe, contact your local plumber for help.