Does your bathtub take forever to empty out once you pull the plug? What could be clogging up your pipework? There are various points in the drain where hairs and more can get stuck and with all that soap residue they can all clog together and impede the flow of water.
If you have a separate plug, for instance a rubber stopper or bung on a little chain, you can simply lift it out of the way for access. Then you can take a pipe cleaner, bend over the tip to make a little hook, stick that hook end into the drain, rotate, pull out slowly, and have the trashcan ready to dispose of the clog. Repeat this until all-clear. There are special plastic tools designed to remove hair from the drain that would work even better.
If your plug is fixed in place, like this one that you lift and turn a quarter turn to keep it open, it will be more difficult to clean. You can try using the plastic tool to pull out hairballs, but you might want to remove the plug first. If you look closely under the plug, you will see a cross-head screw. Use a matching screwdriver, loosen the screw just a few turns (do not take it out as it might drop down the drain!), which allows the plug to be lifted from its support. Then you can look down the hole and use the same bent-wire or plastic removal tool to clean out the offending material.
When putting the plug back, do not over tighten the screw, and check that the plug moves up, down and around.
While we’re on the subject of bathtub plugs, are you noticing any corroded spots on the chrome of the plug or the surrounding metal plate? This could be a tell-tale sign that the plug and fittings are wearing thin and could leak at some point. Now would be a good time to do some preemptive maintenance and replace the entire assembly – it’s certainly something a home inspector will point out if you’re selling or buying a property.
This means removing the plug system as well as the surrounding part that is screwed into the bathtub that connects to the hidden drainpipes. Removing this assembly requires a few specialist tools and materials, and of course a new plug assembly to replace the old one, so it you may want to talk to a specialist here.
Here’s to an end of the half-hour bath drain, welcome to the mighty swirl of clean pipes!