How to remove a bathtub stopper

Updated February 21, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Place the trip lever so that the stopper is open.

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

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

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

Locate the screws on the trip lever.

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

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.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
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About the Author

Darcy Logan has been a full-time writer since 2004. Before writing, she worked for several years as an English and special education teacher. Logan published her first book, "The Secret of Success is Not a Secret," and several education workbooks under the name Darcy Andries. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Arts in special education from Middle Tennessee State University.