How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain (the Easy Way)

15 Minutes

Clogged bathtub drains stink -- sometimes literally. This is a fix we can all do.
Recently I had to unclog my tenant's tub and decided to put together a video showing you how to do it. It's rather simple and will totally save you $79 to $100 in the process.
All you need are a screwdriver and needle nose pliers. And if for some reason this doesn't do the trick you can always ask me for more tips. Check out my step-by-step video by visiting
What's the single most effective strategy you've used to keep your bathtub clean and unclogged?
Let me know what's worked and what hasn't -- and please share as many specific details as possible :)
Thanks as always for your feedback and wonderful comments!!
How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain
Remove the overflow cover plate
Check the plunger for hair and debris
Remove the hair screen and use needle nose pliers to fish out hair - it's surprising what you'll find!!
Run the water for 5 minutes to ensure your pipes are unclogged
Check the seal between the overflow cover plate and your tub.

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Have a question about this project?

6 questions
  • Cj Sisco
    on Jul 26, 2016

    Why is it necessary to remove the overflow? Does it help in some way? Thanks.

  • Susan Snyder
    on Jan 20, 2017

    Yes, same question. I do all the simple plumbing jobs in our home but I've never heard of removing the overflow to get to the gunk. I usually just remove the hair plate. What's the benefit?

    • Shawna Bailey
      on Jan 22, 2017

      You're just getting at it rom another angle, it's usually easier

    • Millie
      on Jun 4, 2017

      Gunk accumulates on the plug part of the stopper mechanism as well as on the stem or lifter rod. Cleaning the drain pipe only doesn't reach these parts, which are in the vertical overflow pipe behind the wall of the tub.
  • Rita
    on May 26, 2017

    What about your sinks in the bathroom?
  • Donna
    on May 30, 2017

    have very old tub, afraid to remove the drain thing since it really doesn't work great anymore, must kind of yank on it somewhat till I find a spot where I hold it to drain. Probably not good to remove it huh?
    • Lolo
      on Jun 13, 2018

      I had to hire a plumber to do that one for mine.

  • Jennell Jackson Harbert
    on Jun 5, 2017

    The handle that drains the water keep popping up and not letting the water drain out the tub
  • Kim Beaudoin
    on Sep 21, 2017

    can the drain button that stops ups the bathtub or releases water, can it be fixed by doing this?
    • Paul Vanden
      on May 12, 2019

      Yes!in most cases! It will be clogged with hair and other things that has made it down the drain

Join the conversation

3 of 162 comments
  • Richard Albright
    on Sep 22, 2017

    You can buy a plastic rod at a hardware store or Lowe's or Home Depot that has small projections. You simply insert the rod through the drain opening wiggle it around a nit and pull out. You will be surprised by what you can pull out. It is much better than the pliers as it is much longer. Follow up with baking soda and vinegar
  • User
    on May 2, 2020

    To me nothing works like a drain snake.

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