Bathtub drains can quickly become clogged due to tangles of hair and soap scum that buildup in the pipe. A number of caustic drain cleaning chemicals are available at the hardware store. But two of the most effective clog removers are in your kitchen: baking soda and vinegar.
The baking soda and vinegar combine to create a bubbling chemical reaction. The force of those liquid bubbles can permeate the clog while helping to both lubricate and push the clog on down the drain. It's a fairly easy process, but there are a few tips that can make your clog removal more successful.
Note that you only want to use this trick if you're sure you only have a clog in the upper part of your plumbing. Deep pipe clogs will require the assistance of a plumber.
Dump the Ingredients Straight Down the Drain
Bathtub drains are fairly small and that allows for a lot of potential splash backs of vinegar or baking soda spilling out around the edges. You want to keep the ingredients confined to the area directly inside the drain. If you need to, use a small kitchen funnel to help with this process.
Always start with the baking soda because it's harder for the soda to go down a wet drain than it is for the vinegar. Pour a liberal amount of baking soda down the funnel then immediately follow with the vinegar.
How much should you use? Pour the vinegar slowly and watch for a bubbling reaction strong enough for the suds to come up out of the drain. Then stop and wait to see if it works. Give the combination a few minutes to work before testing the drain.
Test with Warm Water, Not Boiling Water
Some tutorials for using baking soda and vinegar call for pouring boiling water in directly after the reaction stops. That does work wonders for a minimally clogged drain since the water helps the chemical reaction flush the clog down the pipes.
But if your bathtub is so clogged hardly any water is draining, pouring in boiling water is going to be dangerous. If the clog isn't sufficiently cleared, the boiling water is going to quickly fill up the bathtub and can splash back on you. Then you will have to wait for the very slow draining of the water or for the water to at least cool down enough to be manageable.
Remove Most of the Tub Water
Did your bathtub have some standing water when you started the clog removal process, or has water now that you accidentally tried the boiling water trick? You want to remove as much of that water as possible before trying to use the baking soda and vinegar. The reaction can still happen in water, but it will be diluted, and you want as little dilution as possible.
A wet/dry vacuum is a quick and thorough way to remove the water from the bathtub. If you don't have the equipment, you can also use a cup, sponge, and bucket to get out as much of the water as you can. For assistance, contact a plumbing service in Bergen County NJ.