Fri Jul 07 2023

Bathtub Drain System–Important Things to Know in 2023

Bathtub Drain System–Important Things to Know in 2023


There is no denying that bathtubs are a sign of luxury. They transform the complete look of your bathroom. The tempting aspect of a bathtub looks classy and comfy. To put it simply, bathtubs are the perfect blend of luxury and comfort. Keeping your bathtub cleans is important to make it spotless and sanitary. 

If maintained correctly, bathtubs last for a long time with flaunting looks. Now, you might be wondering  “How do you maintain a bathtub?” or “How do you know that your bathtub needs maintenance?"

You don’t pay much attention until you find your bathtub back ups water, drains water slowly, or has a foul odor. In this article, let us cover the bathtub drain system in detail.

What Is a Bathtub Drain System?

Bathtub drain system is a system that helps the water to drain after you shower or use the tub. The bathtub drain system is set up in such a way that water drains through the shower gradually by essentially preventing the overflow and possibility of internal piping damage. This is controlled by a tier system that regulates the water level throughout the drainage system and maintains it at a manageable level.


Understanding the Bathtub Drain System — The Parts of a Drain System

Before we get into the details of how to maintain a bathtub drain system, it is crucial to understand the parts of the system. 



The stopper holds the water back from flowing out of the bathtub. It has a trip lever that helps control the stopper.


Trip lever: 

The trip lever is responsible for holding water in or letting water out of the bathtub. This is done by pulling the life bucket up or down, which hinders the water from entering or lets the water to drain respectively.



Overflow drain is basically the secondary drain as it prevents the water from overflowing outside the bathtub. It is located at the side of the bathtub. 

Drain flange:

The metal plate that acts as the base support for your drain is drain flange. Additionally, it also acts as a block between the grime and the dirt, and stops it from entering your bathtub.



The gasket is a mechanical seal that secures the bathtub’s drain elbow and prevents leaking into any other areas of the drain system.



The drain cover or grate is a cover with holes in it that is used to seal the bathtub drain. Its function is to allow the water to drain without letting any larger objects enter and get stuck inside the drain.

Importance of a Bathtub Drain System

Imagine getting into the bathtub for a relaxing bath, and the dirty water doesn’t drain out. Instant mood spoiler, right? Spotting the root cause of this drain can be tiring sometimes. 

When dirt and muck gets piled in your bathtub for a period of time, it leads to a clog in the drain in the due course. A majority of the bathtubs have a built-in foot plug that is used to suspend the water flow when the shower is on. 


If your bathtub drain system is clogged frequently, it could be because of the following reasons.


  • Hair

Hair is one of the most common things to find  in your drain. Even though it is very common, it is not pleasing to look at. Imagine getting into a bathtub to get a rejuvenating bath and finding the water in the bath backed up and not getting drained properly. Sounds frustrating, right? But, unfortunately, it is very common. 


  • Product buildup, like soap or shampoo

Because of the foamy nature of the soaps and shower gels, it is natural for the bath drain to get clogged over time. These products will leave residue in the pipe, stick there and make it hard for us to clean.


  • Bath bombs

When thinking of a soothing bath after a long day, many people prefer using bath bombs. The ingredients, like epsom salt and baking soda dissolve in the bath in no time. However, the problem arises because of additives, like cornstarch, cocoa butter, glittery stuff, essential oils and flower petals. These ingredients have the potential to clog the drain and make it hard for the water to drain completely. 


  • Small bottle caps of hygiene products

This doesn’t seem like much, until you find the residue of makeup clogging your drain. It is recommended to remove makeup before getting into a bathtub. Understandably, it is not always that we have the time and energy to remove makeup, but making it a habit is not suggested. 


  • Dirt build up over use or scum

Dirt build up, or the reddish brown stains, are caused by the dissolved iron in the water. When Iron comes in contact with the oxygen, it forms Iron Oxide, which causes the stains to form over time.


  • Towel threads

Another common clogging element is the thread from garments and towels. Most small threads are washed off with the force of water, however longer ones are more likely to get stuck and clog the bathtub drain. 


How To Find Out Your Bathtub Is Clogged

There are a variety of elements that could clog the drain. Even though some clogs are easier to notice than others, it is important to note the materials that could possibly clog the drain. Some of the most common signs include:


  • The water in the bathtub drains slowly.
  • The water makes a hollow bubbling sound while draining.
  • Unpleasant odors emanate from the drain.
  • Water backing up from the drain.

Preventive Measures for a Clean Bathtub Drain System

We all have heard “prevention is better than a cure,” maintaining your bathtub isn’t the exception. Here are some of the preventive measures you can use to keep your bathtub drain system clean.

Rinse Frequently:

It is recommended to wash your drain cover more often. Instead of sitting back and waiting for them to be cleaned by the plumber. 


Use Baking Soda and Vinegar:

Using harsh chemical cleaners can gradually make the bathtub look dull and discolored. Baking soda and vinegar are natural alternatives to chemical cleaners and are less corrosive. They have clog dissolving properties without a lot of effort. You can spray vinegar on the bathtub drain and leave it there for 5 - 10 minutes, and then rinse it off with hot water.  This not only helps in unclogging the drain but also mitigates funky smell. 

The same is the case for baking soda. 


Keep Down the Use of Oil and Grease

Oils are known for their greasy nature, and we use a variety of oils to bathe in the bathtub. But, it isn’t doing any good for your bathtub drain to have frequent contact with these oils and they can gradually cause build up, and eventually lead to a clog. 

Secure wWith a Drain Cover

Using a drain cover can help your bathtub drain free from tiny blockers like hair strands and towel threads.

How To Maintain a Good Bathtub Drain System

Attaining a squeaky clean and seamless drain is possible when you take proper and frequent care of it. Not every clogged bathtub drain needs a plumber. You can fix it yourself, once you know how simple it is.


Fish Out Any Visible Blockages

Put on your gloves to fish out any stagnant water inside the bathtub. Next, you have to take off the drain stopper and take out any blockages like hair, towel threads, or soap scum with your gloved hand. Additionally look out for any gunk that is stuck to the drain cover and remove it.


Rinse Out the Drain with Boiling Water

It is a known fact that hot water can melt grease, soap scum or any oily residue effectively. This should be done after removing all the visible blockages from the drain. Boil 2-3 liters of water and pour it down the drain. This will wash away any greasy element in the bathtub drain. 

Caution:  If you have PVC (plastic pipes), skip this boiling water step. It could damage them. 


Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

Apart from cooking, baking soda and vinegar are known for their cleaning properties. Mixing baking soda and vinegar forms a frothy chemical reaction that is effective for breaking down gunky messes and loosening stains and build-up. Pour the mixture into the drain and let it sit for 15 minutes. Finish by pouring down 2 liters of hot water to wash off any harsh clogs and stains.


Plunge It Out

After using boiling water, baking soda and vinegar, the drain should be fine. However, if you feel like it is not enough or needs more work, you can try plunging it. First you need to remove the drain stopper and pour half a bucket of water into the bathtub. Now place the plunger over the drain and start pushing and pulling until you find the clogs coming out of the drain. 


Use a Plumbing Snake

Try using a plumbing snake if all the quick fixes mentioned above don't work, or if you are not satisfied with the results. As the name suggests, a plumbing snake is a drill bit designed to clear out the clogs in the draining system.  Usually people will do this step when the plunger is not effective enough to get that gush out of the bathtub drain. 


Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What is the most effective way to unclog the bathtub?


Among the variety of methods used to unclog a bathtub, using baking soda and vinegar is considered to be the most effective. This is because these two ingredients act as a natural drain cleaner and regular use of it will keep your drain free from clogs and foul odor.


  1. What clogs bathtub drains?


The most common things that cause clog in bathtub drains are hair strands, soap scum, product build ups, oil and grease residue, towel threads, dirt, small bottle caps, and mineral residue from hard water.  


  1. Is it safe to pour boiling water down the bathtub drain?


Pouring boiling water is a quick solution to melt down grease and dirt from the bathtub drain. However, it is important to keep in mind what material your tub and pipes are made from. For instance, if your bathtub is porcelain then it may cause a crack because of the heat. Another possible risk is the grease getting stuck to the sides of the drain while pouring down the boiling water, which may cause many problems down the road.


Final Thoughts

Owning a bathtub does not just mean having relaxed baths after a long day and gaining your energy back. It also comes with a lot of responsibilities. Having the right knowledge about the bathtub drain system is important for effectively maintaining your bathtub. Even though the issues in the drain system may seem frustrating to deal with,  it is important to understand the inner workings of the system to diagnose and prevent possible issues in the future. Sometimes, the issue can be irreparable and in dire need of a new bathtub. In those cases, it is better to get a new one instead of trying to repair the old one. Magnus offers you a wide variety of bathtubs ranging from affordable to most lavish bathtubs. You can access the collection from here. This article hopes to provide you with enough information on the bathtub drain system!