Why is my bathroom drain draining slowly? Or not at all? What can I do?

Posted on May 19, 2017


Hair. Food. Gunk. And who knows what else. These build up in bathroom drains, and then water takes longer than it used to go through all that mess.

This FAQ is not about the kitchen sink and disposal, instead its about bathroom sinks, tubs and showers.

Drain upkeep is a common household maintenance task. Everyone has to do it from time to time. Things build up, especially hair in the trap of bathroom sinks, showers, and tubs.

We strongly suggest using mechanical means of clearing the drains. Chemicals are yucky, dangerous, harmful to the environment, and can cause more problems than they fix.

Have someone clear it for you

If you would like us to send someone over to unclog a drain, we are happy to do so. Generally, this is just a $35-50 flat fee; however, it can escalate to much more if there is a significant problem that requires more labor and/or a third party company. For example, if something is stuck in the pipes, way way down…

You are also welcome to contact a plumber on your own. They will generally “snake” the drain and pipes involved. The upside of this approach is you are far more likely to be assured of a fix and you don’t have to run around trying things yourself.

But, wait, its pretty easy to try a few things yourself.

Do it yourself drain unclogging

So the easiest thing to try on a shower or bathroom sink, though it depends on the shower drain type, is to grab a ZipIt from Walmart, Lowes, Target… most places… Get a set of cheap rubber gloves while at it…. so maybe $5-6 bucks total. Then just put it through the drain and pull up and down. It will be really disgusting if its clogged. I always try this first in my own home because you don’t have to remove the drain cover in many cases. Again: yuck!  Put the hair and junk in a plastic bag. Toss it. Done. If it doesn’t drain freely after doing this (until nothing comes out). we may need to send someone who is a ‘pro.’ I don’t like using the chemicals and don’t recommend that but no harm no foul if you already did.

Remove the Stopper

This can be easier if you can remove the drain stopper…. drain stoppers vary by tub and shower, and each is a little different to remove. Some easier, some totally not easy!

Here’s a link to a job aid on a few types.

If this doesn’t work, just us know and we can have someone come check it for you, no problem.

So: Get ZipIt, Get Rubber Gloves, Remove Drain Stopper (optional, unless you can’t feed the ZipIt into the drain), Put on Rubber Gloves, Use Zip It, Remove Yuck, Try Water, Repeat until flowing or you give up!