plumber snaking a tub

It is not uncommon that our bathtubs get clogged and sometimes, no matter how you use a plunger, the clog is still there! Don’t worry, we have an efficient way to fix this: snaking a tub. 

The essential steps in removing a blockage on your tub drains are right here in this blog!

What is Drain/Tub Snaking?

Drain or tub snaking is a technique used to remove clogs or blockages from pipes. It involves using a plumbing tool called a snake, which is a long, flexible metal cable with a coiled end that is inserted into a drain or tub to break up and clear away the obstruction.

Steps to Snake a Tub Properly

bath tub

Snaking a tub to unclog it is a straightforward process that can help clear hair, soap scum, and other debris that may be causing the clog. Here are the general steps on how to unclog a bathtub drain using a snake:

1. Gather your materials

You will need a plumbing snake, drain wrench, work gloves, safety glasses, paper towels, and a bucket to collect debris.

2. Cover your tub

Before you begin to repair your clogged tub drain, you have to cover and protect your tub. You can do this by putting a thick drop cloth on the bottom of your tub. This is necessary especially if you have porcelain tiles, acrylic, and fiberglass surfaces as the metal cable from the drain snake can easily scratch these materials.

3. Remove the overflow plate

Unscrew the drain cover or the overflow plate. Keep in mind that you can access the clogged tub drain through the overflow tube. You have to check if the tub drain uses a stopper that is lever operated. If so, you would also need to remove the connection between the linkage running to the stopper mechanism.

4. Insert the snake 

Insert the end of the snake cable into the drain and slowly feed it through the drain pipe while rotating it. You can do this by firmly holding the snake cable with one hand and then using the other hand to feed the drain snake into the clogged bathtub drain.

5. Find the clog

Keep pushing until you feel the snake meeting the clog. You will usually feel some resistance which is a sign that the snake has penetrated the clog.

6. Break up the clog

Apply pressure to the snake and use a back-and-forth motion to break up the clog. You may feel or hear the clog breaking apart as you work.

7. Retrieve the debris

Once the clog has been broken up, use the snake to retrieve any debris that you have broken up by pulling it out of the drain and into your bucket. 

8. Flush the drain

After removing the debris, flush the drain with hot water to ensure that the clog is fully cleared. You may also run some water down the drain and if you see that the water flows freely, then you are assured that the clog has been cleared.

9. Reassemble the drain

Replace the drain cover and reassemble any parts you may have removed. You may also need to remove the hair and soap from the overflow plate and stopper mechanism before putting it back in the tub.

5 Things to Remember When Snaking a Tub or Drain

draining a tub

It is vital to follow certain safety precautions before clearing the clogs and blockages in your bathtub to avoid damaging your pipes or injuring yourself. 

Here are some things to remember when snaking a clogged tub drain:

FAQs About Snaking a Bathtub Drain

snaking a tub

Why can’t I snake my bathtub drain?

There can be several reasons why you cannot clear the clog on your bathtub drain. These may include the following:

What do you use to snake a bathtub drain?

You can use a drain snake or a plumbing auger to snake your tub drain.

How much does snaking a clogged tub drain cost?

Below are the costs of snake draining this 2023:

Toilet, bathroom sink, bathtub drain, shower drain, laundry drain$100 to $275
Main line$100 to $500
Drain snake rental$30 to $80 per day
Severe clog that requires Hydro Jetting$250 to $800

Find a Credible Local Plumber Today!


Unclogging your tub drain may be messy work to do, especially if you don’t have any experience in plumbing. Let us do the dirty work for you! You don’t have to search too far just to work with a reliable plumbing company in Arizona. Stellar Plumbing is available 24/7 to get all your plumbing needs done in no time!

Give us a call today.