5 Reasons Why Your Bathtub Won’t Drain Properly

5 Reasons Why Your Bathtub Won't Drain Properly

Taking a bath is a leisurely activity that you can enjoy in the sanctuary of your bathroom. However, this activity becomes far less enjoyable when your bathtub won’t drain properly. It can be either slow to drain or not draining at all. In the worst-case scenario, the water that you’ve just used to clean your body remains in the bathtub without it draining away.

A faulty bathtub drain can be a real nuisance in the household. When there is a standing pool of dirty water in the bathtub, this can encourage smelly odours and the build-up of bacteria. To ensure the health and safety of your bathroom, the blocked bathtub drain should be treated by a plumbing service immediately.

Some homeowners may ask: “Why won’t my bathtub drain properly?” There are several potential causes that may contribute to the bathtub blockages. Some causes are connected to the bathtub itself, while other problems may stem from your home’s plumbing system. Learn about the five possible reasons why your bathtub won’t drain:

1. Soap scum in bathtub

The soap scum may be the reason why your bathtub doesn't drain properly.

Soap scum refers to the greasy residue that is created by soap mixed with water and minerals. It is usually left behind after every bath or shower you take, which eventually travels its way down your drain. The soap scum slowly builds up in the bathtub drain as an accumulation of gunk. As the soap scum hardens, it builds up to the point where no liquid can pass through the tub drain.

Clearing out soap scum can be a nuisance. Most people think that water can wash everything along, but hardened soap scum is stubborn, sticky, and binds to your plumbing fixtures. Removing the residue will require a rigorous cleaning process, often involving warm water and baking soda.

To avoid the long-term build-up of soap scum, you may want to switch to a liquid-based soap or clean the bathtub drain regularly. Alternatively, you can install a water softener, which may help to reduce the amount of soap scum.

2. Bath drain is blocked with hair

When your bath drain is blocked with hair, it won't drain properly.

Hair is a common cause of blocked and sluggish bathtub drains. Over time, hair tends to accumulate on within bathtub drains to the point where it results in a total blockage. Since we shed hair naturally, it is important to clean out the bathtub drain on a regular basis. In most cases, removing the hair should be an easy task. If not dealt with straight away, this can result in bigger plumbing issues down the line.

When hair starts to gather inside the tub drain, you can remove it using gloved hands, long tweezers, or needle-nose pliers. Don’t wait for it to wash down the drain. If reaching and removing the hair proves to be difficult, contact a plumber for help. You can also purchase drain screens for bathtubs, which are devices designed to keep hair and foreign objects from being washed down the drain.

3. Pipe scale

Pipe scale is a common reason why the bathtub won't drain.

Pipe scale is a term used to describe the material or mineral coating that builds up inside pipes over time. The scale deposits are a result of dissolved magnesium, calcium, and other metallic elements that get left behind as water flows. The particles react to constant wet-dry conditions and temperature. The pipe scale starts to gather in one spot and attracts more scale until it reaches an obstructive size. This mineral build-up may be the reason why your bathtub won’t drain properly.

Although it may seem simple, fixing a drainage issue can be a complex task. If you aren’t familiar with the plumbing system, it’s best to leave the job to professional plumbers instead.

4. Hard water in bathtub

If your bathtub won't drain, it may be because of the hard water.

Hard water contains different materials that calcify and forms a white substance. As the minerals build up in your pipes, they shrink the diameter of the pipes and sometimes block them entirely. This restricts the flow of water through the bathtub drain. The volume of buildup in your pipes depends on how hard the water is. If the tub won’t drain, you likely have a hard water problem.

Since this substance is difficult to remove, it’s recommended that you hire a plumber for help. To quickly unclog the drain, the plumber will flush it with a solution used to remove mineral build-up from the system. To solve this problem in the long term, the plumber may suggest installing a water softener, which treats your water before it enters the bathtub drain. This is an effective method for preventing mineral build-up in the future.

5. Dirt and debris

Dirt and debris can cause the bath tub to not drain properly.

Every time we bathe, any dirt, debris, and filth are washed off our bodies, making their way downward into our bathtub drains. When your kids have been playing outside, or you just came back from a trip to the beach, there is probably a lot of sand or dirt that need to be washed off. This debris will collect inside your drain, particularly if you don’t have a strong water flow in your bathtub system.

To minimize the amount of debris, you should rinse off outside and clean away some dirt before you go take a bath. Scrub your body with a towel, take a shower at the beach, or give your kids a quick spray with the garden hose. Doing this will help clear away a lot of the common contaminants that end up clogging your bathtub drain.