Cleaning a clogged bathtub

35 posts in this topic

A useful trick with these major-all-water-off-tap (OK lets call it a stopcock)

is not to open it fully, but to stop turning 1/2 a turn before fully open.

 

When in the years to come you need to turn it,

you can "feel" that it's open and not wonder

1) which way?

2) is it already open / shut?

 

Works well with washing machine taps, garden sprinkler feeds (switched off for winter), etc

 

Just a thought...

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A word of warning. What can happen is that the loosened gunk accumulates further down the drain pipe causing an even bigger blockage than you started with...

 

So go easy on it at first, i.e. START SLOWLY get some suction/mechanical aid too. And flush with LOTS of water. Repeat whatever treatment you are using several times using less product instead of one huge blast of chemical-mechanical-whatever.

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If your main problem is hair, then get a sink strainer (Abflußsieb). Since using one of these and the Öko-Abflussperlen from Waschbär (once every month or two, when the bath drains "slower") we haven't had to use the plunger or drain snake.

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If yer gonna use Drano (not a bad idea), pour it in overnight so that it has more time to work.

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Thank you once again to everybody for chipping in with many useful comments :-)

 

Unfortunately, Drano did not help and I was left with no choice but to call the plumber. After taking a good look at the problem and after trying to use the suction pump in vain, he had to use a '5m long snake' in order to clear the clog. In order to do so, since all the tiles were cemented and there was no access to the pipe, he had to break one tile to insert the snake into the pipe. And when he first broke open the tile, he saw water droplets were dripping from the pipe and he told me that if there was any further delay then the person living below my apartment would have been at my doorstep. Anyways, the problem is solved now but I am wondering if I am supposed to bear the expenses for the plumber. I hope not, but if I have to then I hope my Hauptflichtversicherung will save me ( fingers crossed)!

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If the sole cause for the damage lies with your landlord you are not liable for any costs. Good for you on calling in the plumber!

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When I once had a partial bathtub clog, I made it worse by pouring in too much unblocking chemicals. I wasted money buying a snake and I couldn't get it to bend in the way I wanted.

 

In the end, after the plunger wasn't working, I more or less managed to "suck" most of the block out from the bathtub side of the pipe with an old wet/dry vacuum. I was kind of surprised it worked at all as it wasn't exactly powerful.

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It certainly offers scope for headlines, e.g. Man twists knob and causes blockage - saved by handyman with 5m snake

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OK, went on holiday and left house with (big) kids.  Apart from the dead plants, and a dishwasher which is not not usable as someone has put something wrong in it somewhere (keeps foaming up, but is getting better after multiple rinses) biggest problem is the bathroom.  The sink got blocked.  Big son decided to use plunger.  Now sink drains slowly, but the bathtub is now blocked.  When you put water down the sink, it appears in the bath..  So, I reckon it is something solid, like a tootpaste cap or three, which has been dislodged from U bend of sink and is now blocking the shared outlet for the bath and sink.  Sink U bend is of course squeaky clean. 

 

Any ideas apart from (obviously) the plumber?  I guess I could make it even worse using a snake, could end up with blockage somewhere even more inaccessible/expensive?

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Firstly, it's worth double-checking whether it is just a soluble blockage. Just try some Natron (bicarbonate of sodium) and vinegar. It costs pence and works better than any drain unblocking chemicals. 

I would also consider using a bit of hose pipe down the sink. Waste pipes generally increase in diameter from relatively narrow (by the sink) thicker (toilet waste) to largest (soil pipe into the main sewer), so if something is a bit stuck at the top, it should (in theory) be less stuck as it goes down.

It is of course possible that your dishwasher problem and the bathroom problem are linked, as they will all connect to the soil pipe somewhere. In the meantime, it is worth checking that the impeller on your dishwasher (the little rotating propeller bit through which the water drains) is not being blocked by anything. There are loads of videos on youtube showing you how to access it depending on your model (usually it is only one clip or one screw to remove, located near the filter).

 

If you are not confident with doing any of the above, then it is safest to get a soil pipe inspection, whereby folk will turn up with a camera on a flexible hose and find your blockage. They'll even give you a CD, but expect to pay about two hundred euros by the time they've added travel etc.

 

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54 minutes ago, snowingagain said:

OK, went on holiday and left house with (big) kids.  Apart from the dead plants, and a dishwasher which is not not usable as someone has put something wrong in it somewhere (keeps foaming up, but is getting better after multiple rinses) biggest problem is the bathroom.  The sink got blocked.  Big son decided to use plunger.  Now sink drains slowly, but the bathtub is now blocked.  When you put water down the sink, it appears in the bath..  So, I reckon it is something solid, like a tootpaste cap or three, which has been dislodged from U bend of sink and is now blocking the shared outlet for the bath and sink.  Sink U bend is of course squeaky clean. 

 

Any ideas apart from (obviously) the plumber?  I guess I could make it even worse using a snake, could end up with blockage somewhere even more inaccessible/expensive?

 

In a previous lifetime (when I was between 24-38 years old), I managed up to 400 apartments at a time. Save yourself some heartache and any expense and start with great pots of boiling water.

 

ETA: I usually start this conversation with what brand shampoo and conditioner you use. The fact is that a lot of personal care soaps are made with vast quantities of fat (including a lot of hand soap). That's why I say use boiling water first. My wife prefers L'Oreal shampoo and conditioner, so I have to do this kind of "pipe cleaning" 3 or 4 times per year.

 

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21 hours ago, AlexTr said:

... Save yourself some heartache and any expense and start with great pots of boiling water.

 

ETA: I usually start this conversation with what brand shampoo and conditioner you use. The fact is that a lot of personal care soaps are made with vast quantities of fat (including a lot of hand soap). That's why I say use boiling water first. My wife prefers L'Oreal shampoo and conditioner, so I have to do this kind of "pipe cleaning" 3 or 4 times per year.

 

About 2 weeks after I moved into my present apartment, I had a blockage between sink and bathtub, and the Hausverwaltung called the plumber. Not sure what the Vormieter did, but it was obviously not my fault - thank goodness. Plumber's advice was exactly what AlexTr said: regular doses of boiling water, which I have done since and never had any problem.

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