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Question DetailsAsked on 5/1/2011

Why does Bathtub Drain Slower for Husband?

Our bathtub has always drained slowly. Occasionally I'll use some liquid chemical unclogger (big no-no, I know!), or take a plunger to it, but that only solves the problem for a day or so before it starts slowing down again. When we had our tub surround replaced a couple years ago, the company sent in a plumber first who checked everything out and said that our drain was slow probably because the pipes weren't at enough of an angle. I don't mind that a few inches of water collects while I'm bathing, it's usually completely drained before I leave the bathroom. But when my husband takes a shower, water will sit in the tub indefinitely! Sometimes he'll shower at night and the next morning when I go in, there is still water in the tub, not moving. I'll use the plunger and eventually that gets things going. What could cause the difference in draining times between him and me? I use regular shampoo and body wash, he uses anti-dandruff shampoo and bar soap. My showers are generally longer and if anyone is shedding hair in there it's me. Any ideas?

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9 Answers


Hello, I would consider posing this question to some folks that may quickly give you an answer.


This is a website where the general public can ask home related questions to the largest association of home inspectors and get feedback. There are also public message boards at where you can participate in discussions about numerous home related topics as well as learn a lot about your home.

Answered 9 years ago by Inspectorsteve


Great, thanks! I'll post my question there right now :o)

Answered 9 years ago by Zifa16



First or all I am not a plumber, but I had a similar problem..I also tried the plunger and chemical thing..this is what finally worked for me and I did it myself .

In the basement there is a plastic trap which comes off the bathtub drain, basically just a staright pipe with a u-shaped pipe connected to it, I simply unscrewed the pipe and found it full of hair and muck, I cleaned out the pipe about 6 months ago and never had a problem since.

If you plan on trying it yourself make sure you have a bucket ready when you unscrew the pipe, cause it is a nasty smelly job. also if the pipe is not plastic I would call a plumber..

Be carefull and take your time, hopefully you dont have a finished basement and can see the bathtub drain.

As far as your plumber saying the angle of the pipe is wrong, thats BS totally, If it drains after you plunge or put chemicals tells you it is not an angle problem..A plumber friend of mine told me long ago.."if it drains ok once, then the angle is good" in other words if the angle was wrong it would have NEVER worked since they installed the tub. tub also had a screen on the drain in the tub itself and was held on with 2 screws, When I removed the screen it was also clogged with hair.

good luck[8-|]

Answered 9 years ago by helper


A slow bathtub drain is usually caused by hair. You can get a 1/4 inch cable at the Home Depot or whatever you have there for less than ten dollars. I had the same problem recently and liquid plumber was no help. I used the cable and pulled a glob of hair out in just a few minutes. I have pvc drain pipe and its quite alright to use liquid drain cleaners. When I worked in a wastewater treatment plant we used pvc, albeit heavy duty schedule 80 pipe, to transport sodium hydroxide as well as sulphuric acid

Probably not the problem here but yes, it is possible that the drain line may not be pitched correctly.

Answered 9 years ago by harry


Oh hey, other people have replied..!

helper, our bathroom is on the second floor, would I still find this U-shaped pipe in the basement? Our basement ceiling is a mess of pipes and wires and stuff, and I don't even know where I'd be looking for this...

Our pipes are PVC (luckily - considering the house is over 110 years old!). So thanks for the reassurance, harry, that they're probably not being eaten.

Answered 9 years ago by Zifa16


I don't know about any u-shaped pipe. I ran the cable (sometimes called a "snake") into the drain at the tub; the blockage won't be very far down the line. The pop-up doodad at my bathtub drain screws out easily and the end of the 1/4 inch cable fits nicely between the "spokes" in the opening. The nice person in the plumbing section of the store will show you how to use the thing, it's easy.

Answered 9 years ago by harry


I simply removed the drain cover and there was all the hair. Once it was removed, the water went down quickly.

Answered 9 years ago by BokBok


We have always used a product called Gobble, it's a drain maintenance product that helps keep the drain clear for the most part. When drains gunk up they tend to slow down and it's often the slowing down where all the other things such as hair will begin to build up.

Here is a link to search gobble - it's only a quart, but it goes a long way. We use this in commercial applications such as water fountains, ice machines, etc.

Answered 9 years ago by vmktg


Don't know if you have solved this issue by now - but my two bits. I have no idea why this thread popped up as current today, when it is 3 years old.

The prior comments on slope are right - if the slope was too flat, it would never drain right. You are right - since it varies between your husband and you, clearly the products being used orthe amount of hair accumulated in the drain/screen are the difference.

I have experienced the same thing several times, and had to open up the pipes to determine why. I think it has to do with the soap suds/bubbles caught in the hair. Shampoo/soap has fats and surfactants to remove the oils and dirt, whereas body washes tend to have syndets (solvents derived from petroleum) and glycolic or lactic acid as the "cleaning" agents. The syndets and acid tend not to foam and also break down foam/bubbles, whereas soaps have oils and fats that promote foaming and tend to bridge across the hairs in clogs, or to maintain the soap bubbles for a long time. Therefore, your body wash is probably breaking down the bubbles and fat accumulation that causes an impenetrable mat wherever it encounters hair, whereas his soap and shampoo are maintainting it for a long time, inhibiting draining.

It is also possibly very simply that you grab up the hair accumulation from the drain screen at the end of the shower, and he does not ?

Simple test of whether it is hair accumulation or cleaning product used - have him shower before you next time, and see if your products cause the pool in the tub to go down. Who knows, maybe you can get a half million dollar federal grant to study it !

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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