Nothing could be grosser than standing in a pool of dirty, backed up water every time you take a shower. Yet many people end up doing this, figuring it's easier to learn to live with this problem than to fix it. Luckily, that's not the case at all. If you've got a bathtub that isn't draining properly, read on. This article will teach you how to get it working good as new.

Removing the Overflow Plate

Located beneath the main water spout, the overflow plate is responsible for ensuring that your tub doesn't overflow, in the event it becomes excessively full. Because the overflow pipe runs straight down to the main drainage pipe, it provides a convenient means of accessing stubborn clogs. First, however, you'll need to remove the overflow plate.

Most overflow plates are held in place by one or two screws. Remove these using the appropriate screwdriver. If the screws appear rusted, squirt them with a penetrating lubricant and allow it to soak in for a couple of minutes before attempting to remove them.

Once you've taken out the screws, simply lift away the plate. If your overflow plate contains a lever to control the drain stopper, there will be a series of metal linkage rods extending from the back of the overflow plate down into the pipe. Gently work loose and remove the entire mechanism.

Using a Drum Auger to Remove the Clog

A drum auger--also known as a plumber's snake--is a long, flexible coil which can be extended deep into pipes to break up otherwise inaccessible clogs. If you haven't got one lying around, don't worry--many home improvement stores allow you to rent drum augers by the day. Likewise, don't worry if you've never used an auger before. Their operation is quite simple.

Begin by manually feeding as much of the auger as you can into the overflow hole. Then lock it in place by tightening auger screw. Be sure to leave about 12 inches between the tip of the auger and the opening of the overflow pipe. This excess length will allow you to work the auger progressively deeper into the pipe.

Now begin to crank the drum, while gently pushing the auger farther into the pipe. If you're able to insert all of the excess auger, loosen the screw and feed out another 12 inches. Repeat this process two or three times, then remove the auger.

Test whether the clog has been cleared by running some water in the tub. If so, all that's left to do is reattach the overflow plate. Congratulations, you've now got a properly draining bathtub once more!

If following these steps does not result in your tub draining properly, contact a plumber, such as those at Dependable Plumbing, to get to the bottom of the issue.