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How to Prevent Clogged Bathtub Drains

white Bathroom with Amenities, Bathtub and sink.

Bathtub drain clogs are preventable by giving your bathtub drains some attention. Luckily, the amount of attention you need to give them does not require much additional work on your part. However, before you can take preventative measures, you need to understand what causes clogged bathtub drains.

Why Is My Bathtub Clogged?

Bathtub drain clogs gradually appear from continued use of the drain. You may first notice water does not drain as quickly as it once did. This indicates that a clog is developing and will eventually cause a blockage. Some of the more common causes of clogged tub drains include:

#1. Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner, Shaving Gel Scum

You would think that these personal hygiene items would not cause clogs, but they do. As soap, shampoo, and conditioner go down the drain, they can leave a residue that turns into a gel-like scum. Over time, the gel-like substance will start to harden, similar to bar soap. Eventually, it can build up so badly inside the drain line that it causes a clog.

#2. Dirt, Grass, and Other Outdoor Debris

plum in the bathroom clogged with hair

You may be wondering how a bathtub drain gets clogged with dirt, grass, and other debris. If you spend time outdoors doing yard work or mowing the lawn, you can quickly get dirty.

When you bathe or shower, that debris gets rinsed down the drain. If you have children that enjoy playing outdoors, they also can get covered in dirt and debris that gets washed off and sent down the drain.

#3. Hair

We all shed some hair when we shower or bathe. If you shave while in the shower, that hair also goes down the drain. The hair gets stuck to other debris inside the drainpipe, where it continues to build up and eventually causes a clog.

#4. Pets

Pets are another reason bathtub drains clog from pet hair, pet dander, dirt, and the pet shampoo we use to clean our furry family members.

#5. Hard Water

Homes with well water have hard water unless they have a water softener. The calcium and minerals in hard water turn into scale deposits that build up inside the bathtub drain pipe and attract other debris.

#6. A Combination of All of the Above

Most clogged bathtub drains are caused by a combination of everything mentioned above. For example, the gel-like substance from personal hygiene products makes it easier for hair to get stuck in the drain line.

How to Unclog Bathtub Drains

Before you can start to use preventative measures to reduce the frequency of tub clogs, you need to resolve current clogs and slow drainage issues. For minor problems, using a plunger may be all that is necessary.

However, if your bathtub keeps clogging, starting with clean drain lines is better. Your plumber has special plumbing snakes and other tools they use to professionally clean and remove all buildup from inside your tub drains. So, it is recommended to schedule a professional drain cleaning service if your drain pipes have never been professionally cleaned.

What About Using Drain Cleaners?

Drain cleaners are ineffective at fully removing clogs and can cause more damage than good. In addition, most of these products use harsh and toxic chemicals that are not good for your plumbing lines.

Furthermore, drain cleaners only address certain types of clogs. So, your clog may not even go away. Therefore, it is better for your home’s plumbing system to have your plumber clean the drain lines.

Tips to Prevent Drain Clogs in Bathtubs

Once your bathtub drains are cleaned, you will want to take steps to prevent clogged bathtub drains in the future using these great tips:

#1. Flush the drains weekly.

Sprinkle some baking soda in the tub drain. Allow this to sit for about 10 minutes. While that is sitting, boil about a gallon of water, and then carefully pour the boiling water into the tub drain. The hot water and baking soda helps remove scum and other debris from inside the drain pipe.

#2. Install Drain Covers

Drain covers are essentially filters for your tub drains. They contain small openings to allow the water to drain away while catching hair and larger debris. Some covers fit over the drain, and others are like mini baskets that fit into the drain. Just remember to clean these out after showering or bathing by wiping them out with a paper towel.

#3. Get a Water Softener

If your home has hard water, you should consider having your plumber install a water softener system. Besides eliminating the calcium and minerals from your water, you will also benefit from never having white scale spots on your tub walls or dishes. Plus, you will save money on detergents and personal hygiene products because you won’t need to use as much.

#4. Rinse the Tub Out

We are all guilty of getting out of the tub and just letting the water drain. Once the water has fully drained, get into the habit of turning on the hot water and allowing it to run for a few minutes to help rinse off any remaining residue and ensure it is flushed out of the drain.

#5. Never pour mop water down the drain.

Another bad habit a lot of us have is pouring dirty mop water down the bathtub drain. All that dirt, debris, hair, and anything else you mopped off the floors will go right down the drain and could lead to a clog eventually.

If you cannot dispose of the mop water outdoors, use a fine mesh strainer to catch the debris before pouring the dirty mop water down the drain. Afterward, rinse out the drain with hot water.

#6. Rinse Off Dirt and Grass Outside

After doing outdoor chores or playing with your kids, rinse off excess dirt, grass, and dust outside. This way, most of what was stuck on you or your kids gets left outdoors instead of in your tub drain line.

When to Call a Plumber for Help with a Bathtub Clog

Plumber unclogging bathtub with professional force pump cleaner.

Even with your best efforts to prevent clogged bathtub drains, you may still need to call a plumber for professional help to unclog and clean bathtub drains. However, the frequency of clogs will be less often thanks to your hard work at using the above tips to prevent bathtub clogs.

You should also call a plumber if you are experiencing the following problems:

  • You have multiple drains that drain slowly or seem clogged.
  • You hear gurgling sounds coming from drains not being used.
  • You notice wastewater backs up into shower and tub drains when flushing the toilet or running water elsewhere in the house.

These types of plumbing problems often indicate a broken or damaged sewer line.

For professional help removing bathtub drain clogs, drain cleaning, and resolving other plumbing problems in San Antonio or the Austin Metro area, please feel free to call Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400 today!

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