What to Do When Your Tub Won’t Drain


A bathtub that won’t drain? Standing water in your shower drain pipe? Unsure how to unclog a bathtub full of water? Getting your tub or shower drain working again is important not only for your sanity but for your home’s health. 

Over time, clogged drains can lead to mold development and flooding, burst or leaking pipes. Not to mention gross standing water. Luckily, there are several ways to unclog a shower drain. And, if those don’t work, the pros at Mike Diamond are always ready to step in.

How to Unclog a Tub Drain or Shower Drain

Here are four easy steps you can take when your tub or shower is not draining: 

1. Pour boiling water down the drain.

A pot of boiling water on a stovetop.

Heat a pot of water on the stove. Make sure it’s one that is easy to handle since you’ll be transporting it from the stove to the bathroom with boiling water in it. Pour the water down the drain, slowly. Use a funnel so that the hot water doesn’t harm anything else in the tub.

Wait fifteen minutes and attempt to run water from the tap. If the clog is made up of a grease or soap build-up, the heat should melt it away. If this method doesn’t work, however, move on to the next option.

2. Use a plunger.

Red Rubber Cup Plunger

If hot water doesn’t work and your tub won’t drain, attempt to dislodge the clog with a plunger. For tub or shower drain clogs, you’re going to want to use a classic cup plunger. Add enough water to the tub or shower to submerge the end of the plunger’s cup. This will help with suction.

Press the plunger’s cup down to get a seal and begin to plunge vigorously. Plunging creates suction inside the drain that helps dislodge stubborn clogs. Unfortunately, it won’t work on all clogs. If the clog is very deep or entrenched, plunging may not work. Consider plunging a good first step, but not the last resort. After plunging, run the tap to see if standing water builds up. If it still does, move on to the next method.

Box of baking soda.

3. Try an at-home drain cleaner.

We never recommend the use of chemical drain cleaners. They always do more damage to pipes and hardware than they’re worth. You can, however, try a safe at-home mixture to clear a drain clog. You just have to follow the right steps:

First, pour a cup of baking soda into your drain. Wait a few minutes and then follow it with a cup of vinegar. Give the two time to mix – an hour or two is preferable. Follow this up with more boiling water to clear any remaining material. The two combine to create a fizzing reaction that can clear clogs. 

4. Call the professionals.

If your shower or bathtub won’t drain and you’ve tried everything listed here, it may be time to call the pros. When your shower is clogged or you have a bathtub full of water that won’t drain,it can be difficult to get things moving again. Some clogs are just too tough for DIY methods – and that’s alright! Professional drain cleaning services can make all the difference. Mike Diamond’s plumbers have high powered tools like mechanical snakes, hydro-jetting and camera inspections to dislodge stubborn clogs and get your pipes flowing again. These will help you not just remove an existing clog, but diagnose what caused it so that you can prevent clogs from happening again.

Tub Not Draining? Shower with Standing Water?

If you need professional drain cleaning for your clogged bathroom drain, give us a call. The team at Mike Diamond has the expertise and experience to clear your drain quickly and efficiently. We’ve proudly served Los Angeles and Orange County for over 50 years. Trust your pipes to our technicians.



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