You have tried all the Draino etc. cleaners, picked hair out of the drain and flushed water down the tub drain and it still drains slowly. What next? Well, there is a little known feature of most tubs that causes most blocked drain symptoms. It is the "stopper" that is used to make the water stay in the tub or drain out. It is a small lever at the plumbing end of the tub that is usually mounted in a plate attached to the tub with two screws.

You need to remove the two screws that hold that plate onto the tub, then pull the whole assembly up and out. You may have to finagle it a bit to get it out but when you finally do there will be a brass cylinder at the end of a long wire pull rod. If there was water in the tub it should all drain away at this time. It will be covered with schmutz, hair, soap scum and everything else it can catch. It is probably a haven for bacteria so I would suggest that you might want to either use rubber gloves or soak it in a Clorox solution for a few minutes to disinfect it! If you can do so without puking, just pull all of that stuff off and reinsert the assembly back down into the tub. Replace the screws and you should be back in the quick drain mode.

 

 

 

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Update - I received a letter from a reader who had this story to add:

 

Dear Bob,
 
For two days our tub and sink have been extremely slow draining.  As of yesterday afternoon it had stopped draining altogether.  I tried everything including dumping a $13 bottle of Drano into the tub and sink, plunging furiously for two hours and cutting a piece of garden hose, sticking it down the drain and blowing on it till I was dizzy.  Being a stubborn German girl who prides herself in being able to fix almost anything herself, I still was not ready to call a plumber in (although my husband and teenage boys were more than ready to make that call). 
 
This afternoon I googled clogged tubs and your site was the first I noticed.  I read the advice on removing the trip lever and cover plate.  Excitedly I ran up the stairs with my screwdriver in hand.  I removed the plate and stopper and waited for something to happen.  Nothing.  Unfortunately my clog seemed to be a little deeper than the stopper.  Although this wasn't my solution, your advice still saved my day...and my pocketbook.  
 
With the cover off, I tried plunging again.  All of the water was now being pushed out of the hole where the cover plate was.  This gave me the idea that I need more air pressure in the pipes.  I pushed a rag into the cover plate hole, covered that with plastic and had my 16 year old son hold his hand over it while I did some more plunging.  Now I was getting more pressure, but the air seemed to be coming out of the sink drain now.  I covered the sink drain and the overflow drain with plastic and had my 14 year old son put his hands over them and apply pressure.  Now, with our three man circus, I started plunging again.  We had the pressure we needed and after about one minute we heard the glorious sound of water draining.  It drained quickly just as it is supposed to. 
 
So, had I not found your site and your advice, I never would have thought to remove that cover plate and in turn would not have come to the conclusion that I needed to apply pressure to all air escapes.  Thank you for this wonderful site you have created.  I will certainly put you on my favorites list and am going to look into those manuals because I too have a walking washing machine.
 
Sincerely,
Stephanie

 

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