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How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain With Standing Water: Clearing Blockage

The bathtub being clogged with standing water and not draining is such a mess. This type of plumbing issue cannot be overlooked, as we need to take a shower each day.

But what could be the reasons, and how to unclog a bathtub drain with standing water?

Well, due to some clogs or breakdowns, you can try using hot water to flush out the clog, the plunging technique, the baking soda with vinegar method, the plumbing auger or snake tricks, a coat hanger to unclog, and cleaners to fix the bathtub blockage.

To resolve such a frustrating moment when you step into a relaxing bath, do follow our instructions. Check our necessary steps to ensure restoring normal water flow in the bathtub.

Why Is There Standing Water In My Bathtub Drain? 10 Major Causes

unclog bathtub drain with standing water

Drain clogs or blockages are inconvenient in the bathtub. You may discover draining becomes slow, there is a bubbling or gurgling noise, there is a bad odor, and maybe the water remains until you fix it. However, we listed the top culprits for bathtub drain blockage.

1. Clogs or Blockages

Drains becoming clogged are the first and major evil that blocks the bathtub hole. As time passes, knotted hair, oils, or other particles accumulate to form a sticky and dense blockage that hinders the drainage process.

2. Soapy Items Scum

Bath bombs, body wash, shampoos, or small soaps may sink inside, causing soap scum to clog the drain. Over time, it grows into a mess and blocks the shower drain with standing water.

Why Is There Standing Water In My Bathtub Drain

3. Foreign Materials

The drainage system can also get blocked with foreign materials. For example, small toys, jewelry, narcotics (large amounts), bottle caps, non-flushable wipes, or other objects can accidentally fall into the bathtub and clog the drainage.

4. Defective Shower Stopper

Shower stoppers, also known as drain strainers or plugs, hinder the flow of water but allow drainage when necessary. Due to dirt buildup, bacteria, and mold growth in there, the bad odor and drain get clogged.

5. Weak Water Spout

When the bathtub has a weak water spout, making it rinse properly becomes tough. Several reasons are to blame:

  • The spout or aerator is clogged
  • Low water pressure
  • The diverter valve is not working properly.
Unclog A Bathtub Drain

6. Damaged Sewer Line

Sewage accumulates in the pipes and usually exits through bathtub drains. However, damage or blockage in the sewage line causes standing water in the shower tub.

7. Plumbing Trouble

Plumbing systems getting blocked are quite a familiar issue in every house. Issues such as collapsed pipes, problems with drain traps, or damaged plumbing vents can cause a disturbance in water flow.

8. Insufficient Venting:

While water drains in the bathtub, proper venting is essential. But faulty plumbing can cause disruptions in the drainage of water.

9. Structure Issue

Structural issues should not be overlooked in the bathroom. Water can accumulate due to faulty sealing, defective drain fixtures, or tub cracks.

10. Old Pipes

If the plumbing system is made of old metal pipe, the possibility of breakdown arises. Or, over time, the pipe gets damaged and clogged with dirt, which stops the drainage.

What Can I Use To Unclog A Bathtub Drain?

What Can I Use To Unclog A Bathtub Drain

Standing water in the bathtub is contaminated. Therefore, while attempting to fix the drainage problem, make sure you have things such as:

  • A cup or bucket
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dry towel
  • Chemical drain cleaner
  • Boil water
  • Tap water
  • Plunger
  • Drain snake
  • Drain plug
  • Coat hanger
  • Baking soda (1 or 1/2 cup)
  • Vinegar (1 cup)
  • Salt (1/3).

Among these things, different methods necessitate different tools and items in order to clear the drain block.

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain With Standing Water: 8 Easy Tips

Dealing with standing water in the bathtub is frustrating. But you’ll never have to worry about such occurrences anymore.

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain With Standing Water

It’s because we’ve got some simple solutions for you! Whether you can fix the bathtub blockage naturally or by using some tools. Let’s get deeper to explore the instructions.

1. Check The Condition

As the shower tub is clogged, your first attempt should be to determine the reason behind the blockage. Therefore, you can do:

  • Take a look at the standing water to see whether it’s escaping slowly or completely obstructed.
  • Check the drains to ensure plumbing problems, like sewer lines.
  • Determine if you notice any gurgling noises or bad odors.
  • Gather tools based on your intended method to clean the clogs.

2. Using Hand To Clean Blockage

People often prefer immediate solutions, so they ask how to unclog a drain with standing water naturally. You can follow the given instructions to learn how to unclog a shower drain without tools and naturally.

  • Put on rubber gloves
  • Use your hands to remove dirt or clogs, like hair
  • You can use small plastic hooks.
  • Before executing this idea, ensure you value hygiene, safety, and potential risks to the drain system.

3. Boiling Water And Flushing Method

If you notice the shower tub has dirt that interrupts the water flow, consider following the suggestions:

  • Use a pot or kettle for the boiling water to pour into the drain pipe
  • Get around one liter of boiling water to dismantle gunked-up blockages
  • Adding salt to water is an additional idea you can utilize with this process.
  • Do it twice or three times to ensure you remove soft buildup such as soap scum, or grease around the drainage.

4. Plunging Shower Tub Drain

The boiling water approach may not work properly. Therefore, plunging is an ideal solution as a supportive method. For this, give importance to the ideas we are mentioning:

  • Use a screwdriver to remove the overflow lid located under the faucet
  • Inspect the coil and clean it
  • Ensure that you insert a rag into the overflow slot
  • Be sure no air is escaping while using the plunger
  • Do the plunging action for around 15 to 20 seconds
  • Run hot water and drain for 5 to 10 minutes to eliminate any leftovers.

5. Baking Soda With Vinegar Method

Natural cleaners are like magic that cleans any dirt or blockage. Particularly when it’s a baking soda and vinegar mixture. To follow the method, take the advice we’re including below.

  • Get 1 cup (approximately 240 mL) of distilled white vinegar and 1 or 1/2 cup (approximately 180g) of baking soda.
  • Put boiled water in the bathtub drain.
  • Wait 15 minutes after adding the baking soda and vinegar mixture.
  • Use a long stick to push down the drain for cleaning.
  • Wait 30 minutes and rinse with more boiling water to confirm the method has neutralized the bad odor and freed clogs.
  • You can also add baking soda and salt to resolve the problem.

However, take a look at the YouTube video on unclogging the bathtub drain with vinegar and baking soda

6. Chemical Drain Cleaner

If natural cleaners won’t make you content by cleaning the bathtub drains, go for chemical cleaners. But be careful not to damage the pipes, as they’re powerful solutions. We’re mentioning the best drain cleaner for standing water in the tub.

  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Sodium hydroxide (lye)
  • Sulfuric acid.

While using such chemicals to unclog the bathtub drain, think about the safety precautions. For example, follow advice such as:

  • Wear safety glasses and gloves
  • Use well-ventilated location
  • Never combine two different chemical cleaners together
  • Keep the chemicals away from pets and children.

7. Plumbing Snake

Standing water in the shower tub or clogs can also be removed with a plumber’s snake or auger. You’ll only have to follow these tips:

  • Simply put the snake into the bathtub drain and turn it clockwise.
  • Either push manually or utilize the attached handle to force the auger or snake ahead.
  • Make sure you apply gentle pressure, or it will damage the drainage system.

8. Wire Coat Hanger

A lot of users found it beneficial when they used coat hangers to remove the clogs. Just go through the given instructions:

  • Make a straight line by unrolling the wire
  • Bend one end into a J-shaped curve and hold the other end.
  • Take the hook and drag the blocks back up.
  • A flush with boiling water from the faucet is also crucial.

Bonus Tip: Call A Plumber

Calling a plumber is the most secure way to fix the bathtub drain. So, we are including it as a bonus tip!

Sometimes, a drainage block indicates serious issues in the bathtub that definitely require a plumber’s hand. If these solutions seem uncomfortable to you, call a professional plumber to resolve the problem.

How Much Does It Cost To Unclog A Bathtub Drain?

How Much Does It Cost To Unclog A Bathtub Drain

The cost of unclogging the bathtub drain will be determined by the plumber. Particularly, it is based on numerous factors such as the condition and location of clogs, the complexity of the plumbing system, and the geographical location.

Typically, plumbers charge an hourly rate. To employ a professional plumber, you’ll need around $100–$300 or higher. As an alternative, hydro jetting is a good idea that’ll cost around $200–$500 or higher.


The clogged bathtub drain is quite a frustrating condition, so we fixed it with the proper steps. Besides that, we are including some additional queries and answers to offer more ideas.

Q. Will baking soda and vinegar damage plastic pipes?

No, the baking soda and vinegar method won’t damage the plastic pipes. It properly unclogs the pipes to drain standing water.

Q. What can I use instead of baking soda to unclog the bathtub drain?

You may try the following idea instead of using baking soda to unclog the bathtub drain:

1. Add 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup salt, and 1/4 cup borax.
2. Put in a pot of boiling water and leave it for an hour, or until everything clears.
3. And rinse with a hot tap or boil water to clean any particles.

Q. What acid do you use to unclog a bathtub?

Muriatic or hydrochloric acid is the best and most effective acid for unclogging bathtub drains. It instantly breaks down grease, soap scum, hair, or other obstructions.

Final Words

So, unclogging the bathtub drain with standing water is a common household trouble. If you’ve passed the advice section, you’ll no longer require any additional tips on how to unclog a bathtub drain with standing water. The major trouble is clogging in the drain, which hampers your hassle-free shower time.

Therefore, unclog it with your hand, or by using tools like a plumbing snake, coat hanger, or stick. Besides, you have natural or chemical cleaners, boiling water, and salt, or definitely the most effective baking soda and vinegar method. But if everything seems difficult or uncomfortable, just call a plumber!