How To Remove Bathtub Drain? Easily & Effectively

Googling “how to remove a bathtub drain” brings about many different answers. That is because there are so many types of drains; so, it’s challenging to get a direct answer. A clogged drain is never fun, but someone has to fix it, right?

How to Remove a Bathtub Drain: The Easy Way

If learning how to remove a bathtub drain gives you a headache, there is one easy solution, instead of sitting there with a chisel and hammer, banging away at it. You could use some simple to use tools like a drain wrench or drain extractor.

There are many different ways to remove a bathtub drain, but those tools will help you through the process without causing any damage to your tub or drain. We know, it’s easier said than done, right? If you find yourself still standing there in four inches of cold water, here are five simple steps to get things flowing smoothly again.

Step 1: Gather your tools

tools for plumbing

There are two different groupings of drains we’ll talk about here. For your standard drains (foot locks, lift and turns, and roller balls), you’ll have an easy time using a drain wrench. If you have a pop-up drain or plunger, the removal process may get a little more complex. These are the drains that have internal plugs.

For most drains, you need the following tools:

  • Screwdriver
  • Drain cleaner
  • Drain wrench
  • Small chisel

Once you have all your tools together, you want to identify the type of drain you have. A foot lock drain has a plug that you activate with pressure from stepping on it. Lift and turn drain plugs operate in a similar manner, but you lift up on them and twist them to either activate or disengage the drain plug.

A roller ball bath drain looks similar to a lift and turn, but it doesn’t require you to turn. You’ll use your hand to lift and lower it, which activates a ball underneath, similar to how a sink drain would work.

Pop-up or plunger drains may have an internal or external stopper. For internal stoppers, you’ll have a faceplate above the faucet that you’ll have to remove to access the plunger inside. All of these drains will require you to unscrew the drain plug before removing the drain flange itself.

Step 2: Removing any stoppers

Based on the information in the previous section, you should have identified your drain as one of those options. You’ll have to remove the stopper before you can access the drain below. Let’s break down each type of stopper, so you understand how to remove a bathtub drain in your home.

Foot-Lock Drain Stoppers

Open the stopper and turn it counterclockwise. You’ll have to hold the shaft to prevent the entire piece from unscrewing.

Continue turning until the cap is off, and you should find a threaded post underneath. You’ll usually have to find a set of screws to unscrew them.

Lift And Turn Drain Stoppers

Twist the knob on top, which will reveal a screw underneath. You’ll have to unscrew it, which should pull the post out and allow you to take the entire piece out.

Rollerball Drain

Turn the stopper knob which should reveal a set screw underneath. Unscrew the set screw, which should allow you to remove the post underneath. Once you do that, you should expose the drain.

Plunger Drains

These drains have an overflow faceplate with a trip lever to set the plug underneath the drain. Open the stopper, and you should be able to pull the drain stopper out if you have an exposed one.

Other types

The manufacture might be using many bathtub stoppers, but we could not provide all detail concerning them. Suppose you a different kind of this stops it help to find a way to remove it before you can start working on your drain. However, in most cases, the same principle you apply in a different bathtub stopper might be similar to the one you have at hand.

You will need to concentrate on how the plumber attached and start removing the necessary parts. Also, it would be best if you were keen not to tamper with the thread because you will need to get it back after you are done with your drain unblocking. Once you complete your opening, then you can progress to the next step.

 Remove the screws from the faceplate just enough to make it feel loose. If you loosen it entirely, you might lose the piping into the walls.

Once you have them both loose, reinstall one, and you should be able to pull the entire piping out through the hole.

Step 3: Treating the drain

After removing your stoppers, you’re now dealing with another obstruction. You might have built up rust, mildew, or hair in the drain, so you want to do your best to get rid of that before removing the drain itself.

Use a product like Draino or your homemade mixture to wash off the drain area and clean out the pipes before removing the flange. If your tub drains appropriately, you can bypass this step, but it never hurts to clean everything out.

Step 4: Removing the flange with or without tools

Now we have nothing in the way of the drain, and it’s time to get down to business. This is the part where we tell you how to remove bathtub drain plug fixtures. If you’ve decided to purchase a drain wrench, you can now proceed to insert that into the drain and start turning counterclockwise. You’ll notice the putty beginning to break, which is a good sign.

If you don’t have a drain wrench, you can opt for the old “knock it out” method. Using a small chisel, position it between the tub floor and the flange and tap around the entire drain to loosen the putty. Use a hairdryer to dry it out, which will help make the putty break apart easier.

Once you break the flange out, clean up any old putty before installing a new drain.

Step 5: Reinstalling or installing the new drain

After we’ve gone over how to remove bathtub drains, now you’re ready to install your new drain flange. Look underneath the tub to find a rubber gasket and ensure it’s still in good condition. Replace it if necessary. Take some plumbers putty and put it underneath the new flange.

Then you’ll insert the flange into the hole and turn it clockwise to meet the threads of the drain elbow below.

When the flange is hand tight, you’ll want to break out your drain wrench and tighten it more. Be careful not to overdo it because you’ll press the gasket under the tub, causing it to break the seal or even crack the tub.

Remove any remaining putty and install the stopper back in place. This work might be challenging if you don’t follow the correct procedure, but you can consider getting a professional plumber to help you. At this point, you might be asking yourself how I hire a plumber who can do quality work to save my drains. But you don’t have to worry because it will guide you on how you will do that.

How to Remove a Bathtub Drain: Savvy Homeowners Unite

You should now know how to remove bathtub plugs and drain flanges with ease. The most important thing to remember is that a drain wrench is an essential tool, so it’s worth picking one up. Keep your pipes clean and your floors dry by sticking to these five simple steps.


Other Methods You Can Use to Remove Blocked Drains.

Suppose you don’t want to spend your money hiring a professional to remove debris that might be causing your bathtub to flood. You don’t need to rely on one method, which might fail, and you end up giving up. There are numerous ways you can unblock your drains, depending on the method you would like to try.

Even though you might not find a straightforward method, you rely on trying and move to the next point of replacing your drains. You need to start with a gentile method to avoid damaging pipe as you progress to more aggressive methods. Some of these methods include:


You might be having this in your refrigerator. It would help if you had about two liters of cola — Pepsi, Coke, or generic brand substitutes to your drains. It will clear up any debris in the drains but will take some time compared to commercial drain cleaners. You will need to wait at least two hours before you can wash away with hot water.

Times Not to Use Coke

It will help if you are using coke for stubborn blockages. You need to understand that soda has acids and that it can clean grime from drains. Also, because of its sugary nature, you’re likely to find sticky film after using them. If you don’t want to face some of these challenges, it’s advisable to use alternative methods like baking soda.

Baking Soda and Washing Soda

These are home remedies you can consider using. But at times, baking soda might not work as expected then you will need to consider washing soda. Its commonly used for cleaning products, making it a great DIY for your home projects. Washing soda contains more bases than baking soda, which makes it a more substantial cleaning agent.

The procedure to use is easy. You need to boil water and pour it into your bathtub, followed by some amount of washing soda. After that, you can open the top of the bathtub to allow the solution to flow into the drains. Leave it for some hours before washing it with hot water. In case your bathtub is still draining slowly, then you will have to repeat the process.

Boiling Water

It might seem like one of the oldest tricks you can employ, but it works to solve your clogging problem. It looks self-explanatory, but still, other people might be wondering how to use it. You need to boil water, and after that, you will have to pour slowly through your bathtub drains. As a result, when the water passes through the drains pipes, it dissolves any debris that might have been causing your bathtub to flood. Generally, this is the easiest way to unblock your drain rather than opening your bathtub and replacing the drain pipes.

Bent Wire Hanger

So much debris can block your drainage, including hair, skin, dirt, and food particles. All this can accumulate over time, and you will notice slow-down water flow from your bathtub or sink. Getting rid of such debris is not easy. It would be best if you had a straight wire then bend one side to resemble a hook. Then you push it gently through your drain pipe as you pull out. That will help to dislodge and remove any substance that is blocking your drainage.

Biological Cleaners

The use of biological cleans is environmentally friendly as compared to the use of other strong chemicals cleaners. This is a method you need to try today. It uses enzymes that will chew any debris they find in your drains but are ineffective if you intend to remove stubborn grime blocking your drain. Instead, it works well if you use it to remove hair soap or other easy-to-tackle blockages, causing your water to flow through the pipes.

Use drain snake

You can get this drain snake from the store, but you will need to be careful when you’re using them to avoid damaging your pipes. Using this method might seem simple, but if you’re not sure how to do it, you will need help from a professional. This will help you prevent any other severe damages that you might cause while trying it yourself. You need to use this method if the previous method mentioned did not work.

When and Why to Hire a Professional Plumber for Bathtub Drain Work

You can find a drain that is better than others because all can clog over time. Although you might think removing these drains and cleaning them or doing replacement is a simple task. Some cases might need a professional to handle because of the condition and place they are located.

In addition, plumbers have knowledge that is more helpful than trying to fix the bathtub drains yourself. This is because plumbers have to undergo training to more experience in handling plumbing services. You will need to trust this professional because of the following reasons.

Trusted Service

Did you know that plumbing services can be expensive? Yes, you will notice this when you remove and install new bathtub drains for your house can be costly. If you decide to do the task yourself, you might be at risk because you can cause other damages that you will need to spend more dollars to replace.

If you need to avoid messing up with your plumbing issue, it will be better to have someone who understands how to fix it. Also, some of these professionals have references to back themselves up, which you might be lacking if you go for DIY projects. For trusted services, they allow customers to write reviews and testimonies about the services they offer them. So, when you’re hiring them, you need to check on these records. 


Having bathtub drains clogged can lead to more unexpected problems. This is why you need to get the services from a professional who is available whenever you need them. When you reach out to the right professional plumber, you don’t want to see your home flooding of a solution. Also, if any other services arise during the emergence, the profession will fix it to minimize future problems.

Permanent Solutions

Doing a DIY project might look easy, but it will surprise you to see your bathtubs drains clogging. You need a professional who will offer a permanent solution and save you on the cost and time of doing more repairs. Furthermore, you are likely to do the task incorrectly, which won’t be the same if you hire a plumber. Let the people with knowledge do the job for you rather than stressing how you will manage your installation.

 Licensed Workers

Like any other business, plumbing is a trade, and some states will require every plumber to have a license. There are various qualifications that one has to meet to get the license. It is helpful for any plumber you need to hire to show you their license, and if they are not willing, then don’t conduct any business with them.

How Can You Get a Professional Plumber?

Plumber's Putty and Its Many Uses

It helps to identify a company that you will be using for help in any emergency cases. Some of these companies have the necessary equipment and systems in place. If you need a new installation of bathtub drainage, you’re sure to get high-quality materials. They will supply you with what you need and get skilled plumbers who have all the requirements and are ready to work 24/7.

Why Do Your Drains Keep Blocking?

You might be a victim who experiences your bathtub flooding every time, no matter your effort, but to unblock them. You need to be familiar with these possible common reasons.

You Are Living in An Old House

You need to understand that old structures contain old pipes and are prone to clogging and leaks. Their interior wall might contain rusts that cause the pipes not to work effectively. To overcome this, you will need to identify the pipe location where you experience your blockage occasionally. It might be costly to do replumbing of the whole house, but you will need to change those pipes you identified. After changing, you need to introduce a leak detector to monitor water flow and prevent leaks.

Check On Your Vents

Sometimes you are experiencing severe blockage that occurs when plumbing of your vent was done wrongly. Suppose you see this recurring after taking a bath or see the water slowly moving out when you need to clear the bathtub. The only solution is to check whether your vents are blocked.

How to Avoid Blocked Drains

Do you call a professional almost every week or month to do unblocking for you? Yes, there must be a few things you will need to avoid doing on your bathtub or sink. Most of these things are normal, but you need to be aware of their consequences. You need to understand that not everyone is an expert, but it helps practice safety measures to avoid further clogging. 

Regular Pipe Inspections

You need a professional to run a background check of your piping systems. Sometimes you cannot notice other drainage issues that will need someone experienced to help you. Even though it can be expensive to hire someone for such a task, you will notice that you’re going to pay twice or more than the inspection cost when a plumbing problem occurs. So, you can plan your regular check either yearly or after two years.

Avoid Flushing Non-Toilet Paper Products

When using the toilet, ensure you have suitable toilet paper and put aside other objects that cause your drains to flood. The size of the product does not matter, even if it’s a sanitary pad. Ensure to have it in the proper garbage collecting bag because these products are modes of plastics. Any attempt to flush them will lead to blockage of your drainage system. You will end up damaging the whole sewer system and will need replacement.

Do Not Dispose of Grease or Cooking Oils in The Sink

It is not ideal for disposing of your cooking oil in the sink. This is because cooking oil is not liquid and can turn into a solid and stick inside the pipe. With time it will build up until the day it will block the entire pipe. So, to avoid this mess, you need to dispose of used cooking oil in a jar or can. After filling it, then you can dispose of it in a trash bin.

Use Sink Strainers

Sink strainers are small mesh metal you place on top of plugholes to control what is being drained. The idea here is to control large particles and allow water to enter the drainage system. It would be best if you had this in both bathtubs and kitchen sinks. After sometimes you will need to remove it and clean it to remain effective. It is better to prevent than regret the cost and time you take to repair because of blockage.

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