How to remove a drain plug from a bath tub

Updated February 21, 2017

There's nothing like a long, hot bathtub soak at the end of a hard day. Soaking in a tub, however, might not be so much fun if you've got a malfunctioning bath plug that refuses to hold water. A bathtub plug is supposed to keep water trapped in your tub. It sits in the mouth of the part of the tub called the overflow tube; modern tub drain plugs raise and lower by means of a switch on the front of the overflow plate. Removing a drain plug from a bathtub for repair or replacement is a simple project that even a first-time DIYer can handle.

Look for the overflow plate on your tub. It is usually located beneath the tub spout and is held in place with two flathead screws. On the plate will be a lever, used to control the drain plug, that protrudes from the front.

Place a cloth or towel over the drain to help prevent losing any small parts, such as screws, inside.

Remove the two screws holding the overflow plate in place.

Gently lift the overflow plate from the tub. Use caution, because the plug is still attached to the switch on the overflow plate by means of a chain linkage. Once you have enough space, you can pull the plug out by the chain.

Remove the plug from the chain if you plan on replacing the overflow plate. Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to undo the ring holding the plug to the linkage.


If you're removing the drain plug for replacement, a PVC overflow plug and plate is an inexpensive option.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat-blade screwdriver
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About the Author

Nathan McGinty started writing in 1995. He has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University, London. He has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, in positions ranging from tech support to marketing.