Unclogging Bathroom Drains

All about lavatories, showers, & bathtubs

Learn how to deal with bathroom sink clogs, how to clean bathtub drains, and how to clear shower drains.

No other room in the home has as many different drains and plumbing connections than the bathroom. Each drain will clog in a different way, and will have to be cleared using the proper tools and techniques. Both plungers and drain augers have very different designs for use with toilets or sinks, just as one example.

Caustic drain cleaners are not usually required, and their risks outweigh their benefits in most cases. If liquid drain cleaner has already been applied, exercise extreme caution going forward--including wearing gloves and eye protection--until the clog has been cleared, and the drain area rinsed thoroughly, warn anyone in the area about the hazard.

"Strongly corrosive and acid drain cleaners are among the most hazardous household products available to the public." --Wikipedia

  • How to Unclog a Toilet
    Tips & Tricks for Clearing Plugged Commodes
    Diagnosing a Clogged Toilet

    Clogged toilets are a common household problem, although with a bit of family or roomie education and some common sense, many times they could have been avoided.

    A clogged toilet or commode does not drain when flushed. Water held in the tank of the toilet flows into the bowl, but does not wash away the contents down the drain. Instead the toilet bowl and drain become backed up behind a clog of waste, and the water stays in the bowl. When this happens, do not flush again! Most toilets can hold the contents of a single tank or flush of water without overflowing, but flushing an already backed up toilet is sure to cause a disgusting mess as the sewage flows over the rim of the bowl onto the bathroom floor.

  • How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink Drain
    Dealing with Bathroom Sink Stopper Assemblies and Overflow Drains
    Pep Talk

    Bathroom sink clogs are probably the most common type of household blocked drain. The levered drain stoppage assembly snares the ubiquitous hair in a congealed mass of toothpaste and soap scum. It is for this reason that our first piece of advice is to delegate this responsibility to a teenager. That’s right, make the nearest teenager come finish this article and unclog the darn sink for you. Then tell them they have to keep it clean from now on. It is still our recommendation that you do this, even if you have long hair and the teenager has short hair, because teens need to learn a lesson about life and buildup of gunk in pipes.

  • How to Unclog a Shower Drain
    Showers pose particular challenges for unclogging

    Clogged shower drains must be approached differently than clogged sinks, bathtubs, or toilets. It is always important to have idea of what is causing the blockage, but you must be particularly careful when dealing with shower and floor drains that you do not make things worse than they already are.

    Do not force something solid or substantial, such as a shampoo bottle cap or part from a child’s toy, further into the drain with a hasty use of the plunger. Objects such as these should be extracted before they get beyond reach. Also consider if the problem in the shower is not a symptom of a larger issue. Shower and floor drains are among the first to show signs when there is blockage in the wastewater and sewage drains from the house to the main. This page discusses how to clear a clog in the drain of the shower, if you suspect a sewer backup, and are experiencing slow or intermittent drainage throughout the house, you will want to call your local utility company.

  • How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain
    Unclogging bathtub drains can be complicated by restricted access

    Fortunately, most clogs in bathtub drains are caused by buildup of oily hair and scummy soap, and such clogs can frequently be cleared by the homeowner or do-it-yourselfer.

  • Clogged toilets can happen to anyone
    even people who don’t own a plunger!

    Luckily, there are several options available to people who find themselves in this common situation.

    If you happen to own a tool called a closet auger, or even a smaller handheld drain auger, those may be your next best options. But even if you do not, you’re still in luck.

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