How to remove a bathtub stopper

Written by darcy logan
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How to remove a bathtub stopper
There are five types of tub drains. (sanbeiji, Aaron Cirilo, faeryboots)

According to Lowe's, there are five basic types of tub drains: foot lock, roller ball, lift and turn, pop-up and plunger. Identifying which type you have is the first step to removing the stopper in your bathtub. Don't worry; this article will cover all five types of drains.

If your tub does not have a trip lever, it is either a roller ball, foot lock or a lift-and-turn tub drain. If your stopper is smooth with out a handle in the centre, it is a foot-lock drain. If it has a handle in the centre and you must push it down and pull it up, it is a rollerball drain. Twist-and-turn drains look similar to rollerball drains, but they require you to twist the stopper in different directions to open or close it.

If your tub has a trip lever that allows you to raise or lower the stopper from the overflow plate, it uses either a pop-up or a plunger drain. Pop-ups have a visible stopper; plunger drains do not.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver

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  1. 1

    With the stopper in the "up" position, grasp the body of the stopper and turn counterclockwise. This can work with foot-lock and rollerball plugs if they don't have a set screw. If this does not work, move on to Step 2.

  2. 2

    With the stopper still in the "up" position, lift the stopper up. Turn it until you see a small screw. This is the "set" screw.

  3. 3

    Use a screwdriver to loosen the set screw. You usually do not need to remove the screw; just loosen it.

  4. 4

    Lift the stopper. If it does not lift off, twist it counterclockwise until it does.

  1. 1

    Place the trip lever so that the stopper is open.

    How to remove a bathtub stopper
    Pop-up tub drains have a stopper that is controled using a lever.
  2. 2

    Pull the stopper up and wiggle it to remove the stopper and the parts underneath the drain.

  3. 3

    Remove the screws from the cover plate of the trip lever and overflow drain.

  4. 4

    Pull the trip lever and the remaining parts from the overflow drain.

  1. 1

    Locate the screws on the trip lever.

    How to remove a bathtub stopper
    Plunger tub drains have a stopper located inside the pipe, not the drain opening.
  2. 2

    Remove the screws from the cover plate of the trip lever.

  3. 3

    Pull the trip lever out from the wall. With this type of tub drain, the stopper is actually inside the pipe, not at the drain opening.

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