Removing a Bathtub Drain Stopper – Step-by-Step Guide

Getting tired of standing in ankle-deep water every time you take a shower? It might be time to remove the drain stopper from your bathtub. Whether you need to clean out a clog or replace the stopper altogether, removing it is a simple task that you can easily do yourself.

Step 1: Locate the Stopper

The first step is to locate the drain stopper in your bathtub. In many bathtubs, the stopper is located at the bottom of the tub, near the drain. Some stoppers are connected to a lever or knob on the overflow plate, while others may be connected directly to the drain. Take a look at your bathtub and determine how the stopper is connected so you know where to begin.

Step 2: Disconnect the Stopper

Once you’ve located the stopper, it’s time to disconnect it. If your stopper is connected to a lever or knob, start by removing the screws that secure the overflow plate to the bathtub. Once the plate is removed, you should be able to see the linkage that connects the lever or knob to the stopper. Use a pair of pliers or a screwdriver to disconnect the linkage.

If your stopper is connected directly to the drain, you’ll need to reach under the tub and unscrew the stopper from the drain. This may require a bit more effort, as the stopper may be tightly screwed in place. You may need to use a tool like pliers or a drain wrench to get a good grip on the stopper and loosen it.

Step 3: Remove the Stopper

Once the stopper is disconnected, it should be easy to remove. Simply lift the stopper out of the drain or pull it out from under the tub. If the stopper is stuck, you can try using a bit of lubricant to loosen it. Just be careful not to use too much force, as you don’t want to damage the stopper or the drain.

Removing a drain stopper from your bathtub is a simple task that can be done in just a few minutes. By following these easy steps, you’ll be able to remove the stopper and have your drain running smoothly again in no time.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing a Drain Stopper From Bathtub

Removing a drain stopper from a bathtub can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and technique, it can be a relatively simple process. Whether you need to clean out a clogged drain or replace a broken stopper, this step-by-step guide will walk you through the process.

Step 1: Prepare the area

Before you begin, make sure to clear out any items from the bathtub and clean the surrounding area. This will give you plenty of workspace and help prevent any debris from falling into the drain.

Step 2: Identify the type of drain stopper

There are several types of drain stoppers, including plunger-style, toe-touch, and lift-and-turn. It’s important to identify the type of stopper you have before attempting to remove it, as different types require different removal methods.

Step 3: Remove the overflow plate

In some cases, you may need to remove the overflow plate to access the drain stopper. To do this, use a screwdriver to unscrew the screws holding the plate in place. Once the plate is removed, you should be able to see the drain and the stopper mechanism.

Step 4: Disconnect the linkage

If your drain stopper is connected to a linkage mechanism, you’ll need to disconnect it before removing the stopper. Look for a small rod or lever that connects the stopper to the overflow plate. Use pliers or a wrench to loosen the connection and remove the linkage.

Step 5: Unscrew the drain stopper

Once the linkage is removed, you can unscrew the drain stopper itself. Some stoppers may have a visible screw or knob that can be twisted or unscrewed by hand. Others may require a wrench or pliers to loosen the stopper. Turn the stopper counterclockwise until it comes loose and can be lifted out of the drain.

Step 6: Clean and inspect the drain

After removing the drain stopper, take the opportunity to clean any debris that may have accumulated in the drain. Use a drain cleaning brush or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to remove any buildup. Inspect the drain for any signs of damage or mold, and make any necessary repairs or replacements as needed.

Step 7: Reassemble the drain stopper

If you are simply cleaning the drain stopper and don’t need to replace it, reassemble the stopper by following the previous steps in reverse order. Make sure to tighten any connections securely and ensure that the stopper is functioning properly before using the bathtub.

Step 8: Dispose of the old drain stopper

If you are replacing the drain stopper, dispose of the old one properly. Check with your local waste management facility for guidelines on how to dispose of plumbing fixtures.

By following this step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to remove a drain stopper from your bathtub with ease. Remember to take your time and be cautious when working with plumbing fixtures to avoid any damage or injury. If you’re unsure about any step of the process, it’s always best to consult a professional plumber.

Gather the Necessary Tools

Before attempting to remove the drain stopper from your bathtub, you will need to gather a few tools. These tools will make the process easier and more efficient:

  • Flathead screwdriver: This tool is essential for unscrewing or prying open the drain stopper.
  • Plumbing pliers: A pair of pliers with a long nose or adjustable jaws can help you grip and loosen different parts of the drain stopper.
  • Bucket or container: Having a bucket or container nearby will allow you to catch any water that may spill out from the drain during the removal process.
  • Flashlight: A flashlight can help you see better under the bathtub and identify any small parts or screws that may be difficult to spot.
  • Old rag or towel: Keep an old rag or towel on hand to wipe away any excess water or debris that may be encountered.

By having these tools ready, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free removal process for your bathtub drain stopper.

Remove the Overflow Plate

Another common type of bathtub drain stopper is the one with an overflow plate. The overflow plate is located on the side of the bathtub, usually near the top, and is used to prevent the tub from overflowing.

To remove the overflow plate, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Start by removing the screws that hold the overflow plate in place. These screws are usually located at the bottom of the plate.
  2. Once the screws are removed, carefully pull the overflow plate away from the tub. You may need to use a screwdriver or pliers to get a good grip on the plate.
  3. If the overflow plate is stuck, try gently wiggling it back and forth while pulling it away from the tub.
  4. Once the overflow plate is removed, you will be able to access the drain stopper mechanism.

Removing the overflow plate can give you better access to the drain stopper and make it easier to remove. However, be careful not to damage the plate or any other parts of the tub while removing it.

Take Out the Stopper Mechanism

Once you have removed the drain stopper cap, you can proceed to take out the actual stopper mechanism. This is the part that sits inside the drain and controls the flow of water.

Start by unscrewing any screws or bolts that are holding the stopper mechanism in place. Use a screwdriver or a wrench, depending on the type of fasteners used. If there are no visible screws or bolts, check for any levers or knobs that may need to be turned or pulled to release the stopper.

After removing any fasteners, try pulling up on the stopper to see if it comes out easily. If not, you may need to use a pair of pliers to grip the stopper and gently twist it counterclockwise to loosen it. Be careful not to use excessive force as this can damage the stopper or the drain.

Once the stopper is loose, continue pulling it up until it is completely removed from the drain. Take a moment to inspect the stopper for any signs of damage or clogs. Clean the stopper thoroughly to remove any debris or buildup that may have collected over time.

If you are unable to remove the stopper mechanism, it may be necessary to call a professional plumber for assistance. They will have the tools and expertise needed to safely remove the stopper without causing any damage to your bathtub or plumbing system.

With the stopper mechanism removed, you can now proceed with any necessary repairs or cleaning of the drain. Once you have completed the necessary work, you can reinstall the stopper by reversing the removal process.

Remember to test the stopper by running water in the bathtub to ensure it is functioning properly. If you encounter any issues or the stopper does not close tightly, it may be necessary to adjust or replace the mechanism.

Detach the Stopper From the Drain

Removing a drain stopper from your bathtub is an important step in cleaning or unclogging the drain. Follow these simple steps to detach the stopper from the drain:

  1. Look for a small set screw underneath the stopper. It is usually located near the back of the drain.
  2. Using a screwdriver, loosen and remove the set screw. Be cautious not to drop it down the drain.
  3. Once the set screw is removed, you can now lift the drain stopper up and out of the drain.
  4. Inspect the stopper for any debris or hair that may have been caught in it. Clean it thoroughly before reattaching.

If your drain stopper does not have a set screw, it may be connected by a linkage system. In this case, you will need to access the linkage through the overflow plate behind the bathtub.

Detaching the stopper from the drain is a relatively simple process that can be done with basic tools. However, if you are unsure or uncomfortable with performing this task, it is recommended to contact a professional plumber for assistance.

By following these steps, you will be able to easily detach the stopper from the drain and proceed with cleaning or unclogging your bathtub drain.

Clean the Drain and Stopper

Before removing the drain stopper from your bathtub, it’s important to clean both the drain and the stopper to ensure optimal functionality. Over time, these components can accumulate dirt, hair, and other debris that can cause clogs or unpleasant odors. Follow the steps below to clean the drain and stopper:

1. Remove any visible debris: Start by removing any visible debris, such as hair, using your fingers or a pair of tweezers. Be careful not to push any debris further into the drain.

2. Prepare a cleaning solution: Mix a solution of warm water and mild dish soap in a small bucket or bowl. You can also add a tablespoon of baking soda for added deodorizing power.

3. Remove the stopper: Depending on the type of drain stopper you have, you may need to unscrew it or lift it out. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model. Once removed, inspect the stopper for any additional debris and clean it thoroughly using the cleaning solution.

4. Clean the drain: Use a plumber’s snake or a wire brush to clean the inside of the drain pipe. Insert the snake or brush into the drain and rotate it in a circular motion to dislodge any buildup. Be gentle to avoid damaging the pipes.

5. Rinse everything: After cleaning the drain and stopper, rinse them thoroughly with warm water to remove any remaining soap or debris. Make sure to remove all traces of the cleaning solution to prevent any potential damage to the pipes or lingering odors.

Note: If you encounter stubborn clogs or odors that cannot be removed with these basic cleaning steps, you may need to use a chemical drain cleaner or contact a professional plumber.

By following these steps, you can keep your bathtub drain and stopper clean and prevent any future clogs or drainage issues. Regular maintenance and cleaning will help ensure the optimal performance of your plumbing system.

Reassemble the Drain Stopper

Once you have cleaned the drain stopper and the connecting parts, it is time to reassemble everything. Take the spring and place it into the hole at the bottom of the drain stopper. Make sure it sits securely in place.

Next, insert the pivot rod through the hole in the side of the drain body. Slide it through the spring and into the hole in the drain stopper. Screw the nut onto the pivot rod and tighten it with pliers or a wrench.

Once the pivot rod and nut are secure, test the drain stopper by pushing it up and down to make sure it opens and closes smoothly. Adjust the nut if necessary to achieve the desired level of resistance.

Finally, reattach the clevis strap to the pivot rod and secure it with the retaining clip. Make sure the clip is in place and holding the strap securely.

With the drain stopper reassembled, turn on the water and test it again. The stopper should now open and close properly, allowing water to flow down the drain.


Remove bathtub drain stopper

How To Easily Remove Bathtub Drain Plug Stopper & UNCLOG DRAIN in 1 MINUTE! -Jonny DIY

Photo of author

Ryan Pietrzak

Ryan Pietrzak, a licensed plumber with 12+ years of experience, is the trusted expert behind Plumbing.Academy. With a wealth of practical knowledge, Ryan guides you through plumbing challenges, making informed decisions easier. His reputable advice, rooted in real-world expertise, empowers both DIY enthusiasts and seasoned plumbers.