How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain with Standing Water

        Do you often or sometimes experience a situation whereby a lot of water pools in your bathtub? It means the drain is most likely clogged. One minute you're taking a relaxing shower, and the next minute you're standing in your own dirty water that won’t drain. This is a problem many folks face, and they just have to do something about it


        Standing water is, of course, a plumbing issue. However, having standing water in the bathtub for a while could be disgusting and might come with health concerns many times. Bacteria and mosquitoes start to use it as a breeding ground, and you might even start perceiving some smell as it collects your entire soap and shampoo residue. How then do you deal with clogged bathtub having standing water?

Read on to find out!

Hazards Posed By Standing Water

        Several problems in the home may actually result from standing water. You don’t have to sit around waiting for it to drain off little by little or dry off. Here are some of the problems that can be caused by having unclean bath water sit around for days or even hours.

  • Standing water may be a breeding platform for flies, insects and mainly mosquitoes that are carriers of all forms of diseases.
  • Also, standing water results in the formation of mildew and mold. This can cause a breathing hazard.
  • Flies also carry various diseases which can be a hazard to both man and pets. These insects are also a host-parasite for tapeworms, earthworms, etc.

        Unclogging a bathtub may be somehow challenging with the standing water. However, there are solutions to correct the situation on the ground. Just as we have shown you how to easily remove toilet rings in the past post, we are going to run through several methods and steps that can help unclog bathtub with standing water.

Items Needed To Unclog a Bathtub Drain

  • Rubber gloves
  • Screwdriver
  • Bucket
  • Plunger
  • Plumber’s snake

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Methods to Unclog A Bathtub With Standing Water

Method 1


Ensure you remove all the visible dirt causing blockage from the drain

Most often than not, a lot of clogs of the bathtub are as a result of unwanted hair, soap scum, or other bathroom products trying to make its way through the drain. Most times, the blockage is visible, and you can clear them out easily. This is where you would have to put on your hand gloves and use your hands to clear the blockages out because using something else other than your hands may not be so effective.

You’re advised to wear the hand gloves because of the chunks of dirt you will be making contact with. After you have cleared out the blockages, you can check to see if the water drains from the or not. If not, then we move to the second step.


Plunge your Bathtub

        Having removed all the visible dirt that might be causing the blockage but the water still doesn’t drain out, and then it might just be the time to plunge the drain of your bathtub. Here are the simple steps to follow to plunge your bathtub drain successfully.

  • Firstly ensure the standing water is drained out for easy access.
  • Remove the overflow cover situated under the faucet using screwdriver.
  • Check the coil to remove any hair or material that can result in blockage.
  • Get a rag or a piece of cloth and jam it into the overflow opening.
  • Ensure you stick the rag tight in the opening so as to ensure that no air escapes. It should to that as you begin to plunge the air will try to escape, thereby pushing the cloth out.
  • You might need a free hand to hold the cloth tight in overflow opening tightly. Having someone to help keep the cloth in place while you plunge will definitely make the whole process a lot easier and smoother.
  • After all the above preparations have been ensured, you can now start plunging the drain. It is important to note that patience is key when plunging. Though it might not be a faster process, it is very effective.
  • To plunge, place the plunger on the drain entirely and the suction cup of the plunger will prevent any air from leaving. Then, begin to push the handle in and out. With this, any blockages will be cleared and moved towards the plunger.
  • You'll most likely know when you have successfully cleared the drain, as you hear the sound of water in the pipes beginning to empty.

Perhaps this method does not work either; then we will recommend snaking the drain next.


Use a Plumbing Snake to Unclog Your Drain

You might have a little bit of challenge here if you’re not so familiar with how to use a plumber’s snake. We highly recommend you get a professional to help fix the issue in this case.

The overflow cover should already have been removed if you have attempted using a plunger for the drain.

Plumber’s snake From Wikimedia Commons

  • Insert the plumber’s snake into the opening.
  • Then, you are going to push it through the hole until you couldn’t go further in the pipe. It means you have hit some resistance
  • Once you have hit this pushback or resistance, try to break the clog or blockage apart using the plumber’s snake by turning it in a counter-clockwise direction. Alternatively, try to push the clog down the drain. Both should work in unclogging the drain of your bathtub. If the clog refuses to break apart, pull it out.
  • After ensuring that the clog is pulled out or broken apart, turn a hot tap on or a bucket of boiled water and let it run through the pipes for 5 to 10 minutes. With this, any residual blockages in the pipe will be removed.

If any of the steps mentioned above does not work, you can attempt the second method, which is a home remedy drain cleaner.

Method 2 – A DIY Home Remedy Drain Cleaner

        Unclogging a bathtub drain with standing water is a problem you can solve using a chemical drain cleaner. However, not everybody will be comfortable with pouring a random chemical into their drain. Besides, there is also a risk of harming some smart bathroom gadgets and your plumbing pipes when pouring chemical solutions down the drain.

        Of course, it might work, but it is hazardous and not advisable health-wisely. Instead, we have a simple and straightforward solution for you that you can try to help break up the clog with simple products you have around the home. The method is quite simple and easy to do; just get the right things to use.

What you will need for this method:

  • Up to three cups of boiled water
  • ½ cup of baking soda
  • Timer
  • Vinegar; 1 cup

        Firstly, you have to drain the standing water in your bathtub. You can use buckets or cups to remove the standing water in the bathtub and then proceed to the simple steps laid out for you below.

1. Pour one cup of boiled water down the drain of your bathtub

2. The next thing is to put the baking soda into the drain

3. After that, mix a second cup of boiled water with the vinegar and pour the mixture down the drain with the baking soda you have already added. You will know that the approach is working when the drain emits bubbles or fizz.

4. When you notice the fizz, cover the drain to allow the vinegar and the baking soda to do their job.

5. Set the timer for 10 minutes or more to let the formula to take care of your clog

6. Lastly, flush out the remaining clog by pouring another cup of boiled water down the drain.

        Check up on the drain to confirm if the above steps have worked for you. Run water to confirm if the water won’t pool but go down the drain easily. If this the water go through the drain easily, congratulations, you have successfully unclogged your bathtub’s drain.
Take note that you can use this method for your bathroom sinks, kitchen sinks, and any other place that uses drain in your home.

How to Avoid a Clogged Bathtub Drain

        As the saying goes – prevention is better than cure. For the guy that has never been in the situation, it is better not to have your drain clogged rather than looking for how to fix it. Also, for those who have experienced it and got over it, these are ways you can avoid a clogged bathtub drain.

Step by Step:

To keep your drain free, you can follow these routines:


Pour hot or boiling water through the drain every month, if not frequently.


Pour half cup of baking soda, followed by another half cup of vinegar through the drain. After some minutes, rinse it with a cup of hot vinegar. This will clean the drain and also get rid of the odor.


Also, ensure you don’t drop pieces of soap into the bathtub thinking they will dissolve, this is how blockages are formed and build up.

Take Away

        Above are the simple tips on how to unclog your bathtub drain and get rid of the harmful standing water. However, you may be tempted to use chemical cleaners, this is in no way to talk down on them, but you must be aware of the damage or danger around it, which is usually not the best idea.

        Apart from the health concerns, damage can be caused to the plumbing system as these chemical substances can eat up the pipes. After you have tried all the methods discussed and nothing seems to work, the next option might just be getting a professional to look into it and fix the problem.

Jessica Grace

Hey there! I am Jessica Grace - Main editor of I'm a writer about home improvement, kitchen, and bathroom, and hope to share with everybody. I have a passion for exploring and listening to music during my free time. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found what you were looking for!

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