How to unclog a bathtub drain with bleach is a straightforward process. However, a better question might be if it is safe to unclog a bathtub with bleach.

While the properties in bleach to make it a disinfectant and a deodorant, if you have already tried to use other things to clear your drain, then you should avoid using bleach. This is because the chlorine in the bleach will have a chemical reaction with the ammonia commonly found in drain cleaners, vinegar, or even toilet bowl or window cleaners. This reaction will make a gas that is highly irritating to the lungs and is not safe to inhale.

There are, however, options for non-chlorine and eco-friendly bleach you can still use to clear a clogged drain. Even by itself, chlorinated bleach can be irritating to the lungs and harmful for your skin, so if you do choose to use it, always do so with care.

Using bleach to clear clogged drains

When unclogging a bathtub with bleach, first get all of the water out of the tub by either waiting until it has drained or by removing the water with a cup or bowl. Pour 1 cup of undiluted bleach down into the drain and wait for around 15 minutes. Then try to run some hot water down your drain to see if it worked.

Don’t let the bleach sit in your drain for too long if it does not seem to be doing anything because the bleach is corrosive and will eat away at the metal part of your drain. This is how the bleach clears the drain as well, especially from hair wads that might be clogging it up. It literally eats away at the hair and dissolves it, thereby making the drain clear and enabling you to use it again.

What other things can be used to unclog a drain

You can not only unclog a bathtub with bleach, but you can use other things as well, and some things like shaving cream or soap scum do not dissolve well by bleach anyway.

The first option is to try a soda like Coca-Cola and pour a couple of liters into the tub or sink. The same thing that makes soda so bubbly with also help to unclog your drain. Leave it for a couple of hours and then rinse it down with plenty of hot water.

Another option is to use a mixture of baking soda, salt, and vinegar to unclog your drain, but in order to do this your tub or sink first has to be at least fairly dry.

Once dry, place a cup of baking soda in and around the drain followed by a half a cup of salt. Then pour a cup of vinegar in the drain and around it. It should fizz up and clear the drain out on the way down. Follow with a few minutes of hot water.

If however, you cannot get your bathtub to drain dry, or nothing you put in it is going down at all, then perhaps you should consider buying the simple tool that plumbers often use.

A plumbing snake is a long and flexible piece of metal that can be pushed down into the drain. A spike on the tip will force the way open, and by moving it up and down and back and forth, it will scrape away anything that may be clinging to the sides of your pipes. For best results follow this by pouring boiling or hot water down your drain.

What things tend to clog drains and what you can do to prevent it

Almost anything can clog a sink or a bathtub drain, but by far the most common thing is hair. Whether you are just washing your hair or you bathe your pet in the tub, you are going to have hair in your drain. If this seems to be a regular problem, consider getting a strainer to set in your drain that will catch hairs. While this will need to be dumped regularly, it is much better than having your bathtub drain clogged.

A kid’s toy is also something that also can easily clog a drain. To prevent a child’s toy from getting stuck be careful that you get all of the toys out of the tub before you let the water out, or only allow toys in the tub that you know won’t get caught. Also, try to teach your kids not to intentionally do this by explaining that it might hurt the toy.

Makeup, shaving cream, soap scum, and grease are all things that will clog up a drain as well. The key with these is not to overdo it and to always follow with several minutes of hot water afterwards to make sure that they go down instead of sticking around on the sides of your drain. If your water seems to be draining even just a little slow, do something for it before it gets completely clogged.

Sarah Byrd

Sarah Byrd has written about gardening for both online and print publications. She completed two writing courses at Pierpont Community and Technical College.
Sarah Byrd
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