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How do I get a snake down a clogged tub drain?

Tub drains get clogged gradually, and odds are that you’ll see your tub initially draining slower and slower before it’s completely clogged. If you can, try plunging the drain as soon as you notice it’s draining slower. Sometimes this problem can’t be avoided, however. Luckily, it’s not difficult to snake a tub drain. To clear a clogged bathtub drain, you’ll need a plumbing snake, some work gloves and some basic cleaning supplies.

Unscrew the overflow plate, which is the plate under the faucet and above the drain in the tub. Be sure to put the screws where they won’t fall into the tub drain, then pull the stopper from the drain, which should be connected to the overflow plate.

For this part, you’ll probably want some work gloves. Clean any hair and soap off of the overflow plate and the stopper mechanism. This may be the source of the clog. Run the faucet to check. If it still overflows, then you haven’t found the clog, and you’ll have to snake the drain.

To snake the drain, insert the beginning of the snake wire into the opening, and crank out about 30 inches of wire. Continue to crank and press forward into the drain until you feel the snake meet the obstruction. Twist the cable with the handle until the snake has penetrated the obstruction. Now you can crank in reverse, bringing the snake back through the drain with the clog. A clogged tub drain can get pretty messy, so have some paper towels and cleaning supplies nearby.

After disposing of the clogged hair and soap, clean off the snake, put the stopper back down the drain and screw the overflow plate back on. Run hot water down the drain for a few moments to clear any loose debris.

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