A bath that won’t drain when the plug is pulled out can be an inconvenience and safety hazard. To unblock a bath waste, there are a few tricks to try before you call a plumber. You may be able to remove the blockage yourself, but firstly you need to identify if the bath is the only fixture blocked.
Check all other fixture drains first
Before you try to unblock the bath waste, it’s best to check if the rest of the fixtures in the house drain freely. If the sink doesn’t drain and the toilets won’t flush away, the blockage may be on the main sewer line into the house. In this situation, you won’t be able to fix this yourself, you will need to call your local plumber.
If all the fixtures drain as they should and it’s only the bath which won’t drain, you can accurately assume the blockage is on the bath waste only.
Retrieve the blockage using pointy nose pliers
Use a torch to shine down the bath waste. If you can see a mass of hair, use pointy nose pliers to remove as much from the drain as possible.
Disperse with a Natural Chemical Cleaner of Bi Carb Soda, Vinegar and Hot Water
The blockage will most likely be an accumulation of soap sludge and hair. Sprinkling bi carb soda down the drain can loosen the sludge. Adding the vinegar will create a reaction which should disperse the blockage. The hot water can help wash the dispersed sludge through the drain.
Sprinkle half a cup of bi carb soda with 1 cup of vinegar and let it sit in the drain for ten minutes.
Then pour a jug of hot water down to the drain. If this doesn’t remove the blockage, you will need to try the next steps.
Use a plunger
Every homeowner should have a plunger available to unblock drains when needed. Wait for the water to drain away so the water just covers the plunger head. Seal any overflows and push up and down on the plunger to disperse the blockage. You will know if the plunging has worked when the water starts to drain away more quickly than before.
If the plunger has made little difference, it’s time to use a sani snake.
Feed a sani snake through the drain
Not all householders will have access to a sani snake but they are available for purchase at your local plumbing or hardware shore.
The sani snake is a thin wire cable which is flexible enough to feed through the drain and strong enough to penetrate any blockage.
Feed the snake through the drain. The bath drain should be connected to the floor waste. Take off the grate to the floor waste and use a torch to see the end of the sani snake. If you see the blockage fall into the floor waste or if the cable is covered in solid matter, the drain may be unblocked.
Fill the bath ¼ full and release the plug to see if the water drains away quickly. If it still drains slowly, it’s time to call a plumber to use a jet rodding machine to remove the blockage.
How to Prevent Bath Blockages
Bath blockages can occur from a buildup of soap and hair when the bath has been used. Most families use the bath to bathe children. Ensure any small bath toys or remnants from bars of soap aren’t left in the bath when it’s drained.
Get the kids to wear a shower cap to prevent hair going down the drain. Alternatively, wash their hair in the shower if they have long hair. The shower drain outlet is bigger than the bath drain.
Avoid a pop-up waste in the bath tub as they are notorious for getting stuck if they aren’t cleaned. It can be a difficult task to remove a stuck pop up waste in a bath. Opt for a grated bath drain instead.