How to Remove a Bathtub Drain


Photo by Dave Weatherall on Unsplash

Replacing a shabby bathtub drain on your own can turn out to be a tough job if you are unfamiliar with some parts, types of fittings and stoppers, and just how to start the task. To remove and replace an old bathtub drain, we are providing you with some easy steps. Anyone can do the job and it will only require some tools to remove the bathtub drain. To start, you will be needing a few tools such as pliers, a screwdriver, a drain wrench, and a drain fitting.

With all the tools collected, you can now begin. First, you should know the kind of stopper that you will be needing as there are several types of bathtub stoppers. There is the push-pull, the lift-and-turn, and the toe-touch which are the most common models which are not under the trip-lever mechanism.

The push-pull stopper has a center knob that is pushed in to close or pulled out to open. The lift-and-turn stopper has a similarity to the push-pull however, you will need to lift and turn the stopper counterclockwise for it to be opened and clockwise to close. And lastly, the toe-touch stopper is the one that pops open and closes when pressed on it.

However, if the stopper that you have utilizes a trip-lever mechanism, then it is definitely a pop-up style. The pop-up model presents an in-view stopper that is lowered or raised by the trip lever. There is also the bucket stopper which is commonly known as the plunger-style which depends on an inner stopper to obstruct the water during the time that the lever is actuated.

Removing the Stopper

After selecting what model to go for, it is time to remove the stopper. The removal process will rely on what type of stopper you have. For push-pull stoppers, pull the knob out and turn it in a counterclockwise direction using one hand while simultaneously getting a grip of the stopper’s body using the other. You can use a towel onto the body and utilize pliers for turning the knob if needed more force.


Photo Credit: The Spruce

For a lift-and-turn stopper, just grip onto the body of the stopper then turn the knob while checking out for a set screw on it. If you happen to see one, unfasten the screw with a screwdriver. Then, turn the stopper in a counterclockwise manner until it is finally on the loose from the mounting post. Finally, using a pair of pliers, detach the mounting post.


Photo Credit: The Spruce

The easiest model to remove is the toe-touch model. You just need to pop the stopper open and then unfasten the shaft cylinder. Turn it in a counterclockwise manner, and voila!


Photo Credit: The Spruce

The setup of a plunger-style stopper is usually situated inside but is not found near the opening of the drain. From the trip lever’s plate, detach the screws and move off the faceplate. With the faceplate pulled away, the rest should come after while jiggling to unfasten the whole structure and then pulling it out.

Lastly, for pop-up stoppers, first, you will need to flick the lever for the drain to open. Pull the stopper out along with the metal arm or rocker arm which stretches through the pipe. If you get a hard time getting it out, jiggling it in a gentle manner will help while pulling up.

Softening the Putty


Photo Credit: Oatey

Drains are usually fitted with plumber’s putty in the course of installation. It is definitely hardened by now. You will need a heat gun to soften it. Apply hot air straight to the drain. You can also use a hairdryer in the absence of a heat gun. The hot air should release its grip in a matter of minutes.

Removing the Fitting

There are usually two types of drain fittings; types that feature a metal crossbar and the ones that do not have crossbars. The metal crossbar is intended to inhibit debris to fall in. If your drain fitting has this feature, just thrust a drain wrench into the X shape metal and unscrew it by turning it in a counterclockwise manner. You can also utilize a long-nose plier gripping the crossbar and turning it counterclockwise to unscrew the fitting. Do this for some rotations until it is loosened enough and pull it out.

However, if your fitting has no metal crossbar, you will be needing a tub drain extractor for the removal.