Lockdown Diary: Bathtime!

My bath is refusing to drain and is thoroughly disgusting. Since there’s about as much chance of getting a plumber during lockdown as there is of getting the Queen to do backflips in my garden (you’re welcome to Queenie, if you’re reading this), I had to roll up my sleeves and get dirty.

I assumed that there was some kind of blockage that was stopping the bath from draining, so I mopped up all the scummy water in the bathtub and got to work.

Firstly, I took the plunge. No, I didn’t dive into the bath – I used a plunger and squelched it up and down on the plughole. When I filled the bath again, it didn’t drain, so I abandoned the plunging. I also tried to stick some jewellery pliers down the plughole and managed to fish out two big clumps of hair, but the bath still didn’t drain.


Next, following cleaning guru Mrs. Hinch’s instructions, I poured bicarbonate of soda down the drain, followed three minutes later by distilled vinegar, and ten minutes later by a kettle full of boiling water. The bath quickly filled with water and scum again and smelt like boiling vinegar, which was incredibly foul and made me want to puke! So that was a non-starter.

At this point, I called my ex-husband. He used to be a labourer and has 23 years’ experience in the building trade, so he knows his stuff. With the aid of FaceTime, he talked me through taking the bath panel off and removing the trap from the U-bend. I had to lie down on my side on the floor, unscrew both threaded ends and then stick a broom handle down the pipe to try and dislodge any blockage. A load of silt and stones came out but nothing major. However, I felt like a boss when I managed to get the trap back on successfully and it didn’t leak!


After my foray into the U-bend, I hoped that the silt and stones were the blockage. However, then I brushed my teeth in the bathroom sink and the bath filled up with water and scum again, so there’s something deeper going on here, which I’ll ask my ex to investigate after we leave self-isolation. The whole exercise was a bit futile, but it was interesting nonetheless, though I currently have no plans to become a plumber.

I’ve spent most of the day clearing up the mess in my bathroom. But hey, what else is there to do during lockdown?!


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8 thoughts on “Lockdown Diary: Bathtime!”

  1. After moving out of my parents place, I had a kitchen sink that wouldn’t drain due to inexperienced handling of frying fat.
    I went to the shops and purchased the biggest plunger they had.
    Once back home, I went at the sink drain like a teenager, using both hands putting my arms and back into the work.
    After a few minutes of pumping, the sink drained the dirty water with a loud burp.
    Satisfied with myself, I went to put the plunger away in the bathroom cupboard only to find ceiling and walls covered in cooking grease.
    The small fat berg, as we now know is the technical term, had moved past the joint of the bathroom basin drain and my energetic pumping had done the rest.

    It seems to be what has happened in your bathroom. It might be worth trying the plunger again, plugging the drain in the basin and putting something heavy on the plug.

  2. Sounds like the blockage is at or beyond the point where the sink and bath drains merge, so that when you run water down the sink some of it is backing up through the bath. As Thomas said, a bit more determined work with the plunger may do the trick; or you could try something like this, which I’ve used before:

    Otherwise it’s taking things apart and fishing around with a drain snake:
    (Other suppliers are available!)

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