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I have a trip lever drain in my bathtub. Thought it was the problem, but it's completely out and the tub still won't drain. Any ideas?

  • Are there any other symptoms? Water gurgling, nearby faucets misbehaving, etc.? What else have you tried? – alt Jul 18 '14 at 18:09
  • Take the drain plug out and use a Turbo Snake (amazon.com/Turbo-Snake-Original-Pieces-Included/dp/B002JA5R7U). I used this in the past to clean out a punch of hair from a drain in a shower. – Brian Jul 21 '14 at 19:40
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I would start with a basic hand operated drain snake. In a tub drain you likely have a hair clog, the snake will grab onto this clog and pull it right out. A very basic snake should be all you need.

  • This is definitely a great first step. – Handy Man Jul 15 '14 at 18:06
  • In my tub, I get clogs farther down the line. In these cases, I run the snake from the roof through the vent pipe. Just an FYI - I had never thought about running the snake through the vent stack before. – Paul Kearney - pk Jul 16 '14 at 21:01
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Great answers so far.

To unclog the drain in my bathtub, I've occasionally used a toilet plunger by placing it directly over the drain then filling up the tub until there is enough water to create suction.

A few good "shots" / "pumps" should unclog anything that is stuck in there and definitely worth trying before purchasing any liquid drain products.

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    I've done this as well. I also find it helpful to hold a washcloth over the overflow opening in the tub. This helps prevent the force from the plunger from simply going out through the overflow. – Paul Kearney - pk Jul 16 '14 at 21:00
  • Great tip - I'll give that a try next time I do this :) – Handy Man Jul 17 '14 at 15:01
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If it's a hair clog, I've had great luck with a "Zip-It" plastic snake. It's only good for close clogs (20 inches long) and has barbs that catch/pull the gunk out when removed. Should be a few dollars at most hardware stores.

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You can buy proprietary drain unblocker products. They are often a sodium hydroxide based product (so take appropriate care) that is combined in a dense gel that is designed to sink through the standing water to be able to work to break up the blockage.

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    I used to try chemicals first to clear the plumbing but no longer do so. It usually is the case that when they don't work, then you have to deal with the caustic solution when mechanically trying to clear it. It is a more "sure kill" to use a snake or vacuum to try to clear it. If evidence appears that Liquid Plumber might work, then try that after everything else fails. – wallyk Jul 15 '14 at 21:57

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