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Plumbing in the Home/Can't get wire out of bathtub drain


Dear Louie,

I have used before a roll of thin steel wire with the tip bent 1/4 inch like a hook in order to extract hair from the upper floor bathtub drain. There's not much hair there usually, but after 2 yesrs or so, it needs to be done again. The house is from 2007, the bathtub drain pipe is PVC, and the overflow plate is a plain one, meaning that it doesn't have the small lever to open/close the drain, it only the faceplate and the 2 screws.

The drain pipe runs horizontally towards the wall (where the faucets, shower, and the overflow plate are), and then the pipe goes vertically down to the lower floor. Today I pushed the wire down the drain, and then like a foot or less horizontally towards the wall... But when I tried to pull it out, it was stuck. It doesn't seem to be stuck on hair, it's something solid and firm that doesn't give... I'd say it feels like it's stuck in a metalic thing... What could it be that it's stuck with? How can I get it out?

Your help is greatly appreciated.



Lesson learned: Next time unclog thru the overflow plate, not the drain :-(

Lesson learned is don't use wire to start with :) remove overflow, stick wet rag down overflow to plug off air flow and then plunger drain. doesn't get caught anywhere pass the cross hairs inside the tub drain itself. Once it makes it pass cross hairs, it's all down hill, so I seldom if ever snake, plunger or do anything other then remove the stopper on tub drain and remove the hairs with needle nose pliers. Problem solved.  

Any how, back to your question, that pipe is not run horizontally. It runs for a few inches horizontal to a tee, then drops straight down to a P-trap, comes up into a 90 off of the trap and then runs to a pipe that maybe is horizontally. Why running a wire is never good thing :) There's nothing metal in there, you're just going to have to yank the hell out of that wire. It's just caught in the 90 and the many turns that went down and then on the other side of the 90 and Ptrap. Yank
hard and cross your fingers and hope for the best :)

Nothing down there for it to catch on unless an old object, or recent object got stuck in there by some weird chance.  What it is catching on is the lip of the tee most . PUSH FORWARD A FEW inches, twist the wire and than pull.

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Louie The Plumber


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I am a 35 year Master Repair Plumber. I have owned my own repair company for over 20 years. My company has been the number one rated company on Angie's List for 5 years in a row. I have received the Angie's List Super Service Award for 5 years in a row. We are also the mosted rated company. We have almost a straight A rating across the board (99%) A's.

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