5 Easy Ways to Remove a Tub Drain Stopper

In this blog post, you’ll read:Are you fed up with your bathtub drain stopper blockage? Oh, it's true drain stoppers give you the comfort of sealing soap, debris, and other common materials from going down the drain. But on the flip side, they can be a headache if left unnoticed for a couple of days.

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So you need to take out the stopper for cleaning. There are various types of tub stoppers, and each has a different method of installation and ejection. Therefore, before starting any repair work, ensure you know precisely how the drain stoppers are put in place and removed.

Let’s start with the types of equipment you need to remove a tub drain stopper!

tub drain stoppers
tub drain stoppers

Equipment You Need for Bathtub Drain Stopper Removal 

  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Replacement Drain Stopper
  • Drain Cleaner

Before starting, you should know about the general insights of your task, which we shared below.

Project Highlights You Must Know as a Beginner

Working Time: 10 mins to 2 hours

Total Time: 30 mins to 2 hours

Skill Level: Beginner

Bathtub Drain Stopper Replacement Cost: Around $100

So, are you ready to take a start?  Here are five easy ways to remove a bathtub drain stopper. Firstly, look at five bathtub drain stopper types manufactured by Hofen Sanitary.

Top 5 Bathtub Drain Stopper Types

  • Lift-and-Turn or Push-Pull Stopper
  • Toe-Touch Tub Drain Stopper
  • O-Ring Drain Stoppers
  • Faceplate-Control Drain Stoppers
  • Pop Up DrainStopper

Method # 1. Twisting a Lift-and-Turn or Push-Pull Stopper

twisting a lift and turn
twisting a lift and turn

1. Look for a Knob on the Drain Stopper

You can identify the lift and turn stoppers by a small prominent knob on top of the drain stoppers. They shared a great resemblance with a push-and-pull stopper. You will only observe a small exception in that the push-and-pull stopper possesses a locked knob. And you can’t move it.

However, if you are using a lift-and-turn drain stopper, you can turn its knob left or right easily. Drain manufacturers design it in such a way that if you rotate the knob left or clockwise, the drain will close. While turning the knob right or counterclockwise, leave the drain open.

Important Note: You can operate a lift-and-turn stopper with only a slight rotation. Whereas a push-pull drain stopper also needs to be lifted with rotation.

2. Rotate the Knob Anti Clockwise to Uplift

You will find a bolt right below the knob that holds the stopper in the drain. At this point, you need to roll the knob in the opposite direction or left side to check the fastener. Try to open it first by using your fingers. But if it’s too tight, you should take the help of pliers to unscrew the knob of the drain stopper.

Don’t stop; keep rotating until the knob completely separates from the bolt. You are doing a great job, so don’t panic; just be patient. Avoid twisting too forcefully, as some knobs, such as many push-pull knobs, are non-twistable at all.

3. Rotate the Bolt Below the Knob with Plier

Once you unscrew the knob now, it’s your turn to loosen the bolt. Mostly, you will get compact or packed bolts below the knobs in close position. If you have pliers, use them to twist the bolt that sits below the knob.

If you are successful in loosening the fastener, you will get the entire plug out as a single unit. Now you have two options:

  • Close the drain after knob removal to get an easy twist roll of the bolt.
  • In the case of a push-and-pull stopper, you will observe a wider knob than a lift-and-turn drain stopper. Further, look at the table to get a clear vision.


Push Plug Down Drain Close
Pull Knob Up Drain Open

4. Turn the Base for Fixed Knobs

Fixed knobs? What to do? Some drain stoppers have fixed bases, so you must unscrew them completely. Mostly, lift and turn stoppers containing fixed knobs are recommended by the sanitary fitting manufacturers. You can use pliers because you can quickly turn the base off in them. After unscrewing, you will get your entire stopper out as a single unit.

Method # 2. Unscrewing a Toe-Touch Tub Drain Stopper 

unscrewing a toe touch tub drain stopper
Unscrewing a toe-touch tub drain stopper

1. Trace the PUSH on Stopper or Check Its Knob

Generally, Toe-touch stoppers are knobless. All you need to do is to apply pressure with your foot on the stopper to open it. For easy use, toe touch stoppers are the best, but such drain stopper removal is challenging without prior experience. So, if you are a newbie, this article at Hofen Sanitary will help you get proper information before opening it. Or read our complete instructions step by step to complete your job superbly.

2. Open the Stopper and Hold It Tight

Check the position of the stopper to see if it is open or closed. Good to go if it is open, or you need to push the stopper to make your job easy. Now, hold the stopper tightly and rotate it clockwise.

Expert Tip: Don’t try to rotate or unlock a toe-touch stopper in a closed position. Otherwise, you may get a broken drain stopper, or nothing remains useful to install after cleaning.

3. Remove the Stopper Cap by Rotating Counter Clockwise

If you apply enough force, the metal cap will pop off after a few rotations. If it simply spins without unscrewing, consider twisting while drawing up upward.

4. Unlock the Screw Inside the Stopper

After removing the stopper, you will see a screw right beneath it. Try to unlock the screw. If it is too tight and not opened by your fingers, you can use a screwdriver or pliers.

Always use the flat tip of the screwdriver for this purpose. Be careful not to detach the screw from the stopper completely; lose it for bathtub drain stopper removal.

5. Pull Out the Complete Drain Stopper

At this point, you may observe the drain for any damage, such as a cracked lid, corroded fastening screw, or distorted plug. If there’s any obvious damage to the drain stopper, replace it. You may also use a bathroom cleaning solution to remove debris, hair, and filth from the stopper and the drain.

When you are done with the tub drain stopper adjustment or cleaning job, you can easily screw the stopper back in.

Method # 3. Extracting O-Ring Stoppers Out of a Drain

Extracting o ring stoppers out of a drain
Extracting o ring stoppers out of a drain

Flip-it drain stoppers are a modern kind of stopper that possess an internal gasket. The primary functioning of this drain depends on the expansion and contraction of this internal gasket. However, you can operate its function by using the flip lever.

The gasket contracts when the flip lever is in the open position. When the lever is open, water flows down the drain. When the flip lever is closed, the gasket expands to fill the drain and seal the sink or tub.

1. Locate the Flip Lever or Hole in the Stopper

O ring stoppers are also known as Press-Flo” and “Flip-It drain stoppers. Usually, they are easy to remove and delicate to use. The name “O ring” clearly indicates that they possess an “O,” also called a lever that holds the stopper from falling into the drain.

2. Use the Flip Lever to Pull the Stopper

The lever serves as an ideal handle for removing plugs. In such stoppers, you can easily plug out the drain stopper assembly from the drain. But in some cases, the stopper seals right with the base. You can shake it by the handle until it is loose enough to remove.

3. Suction Cup Can Pull a Press-Flo Stopper

These stoppers contain a large suction cup with a plug inside the assembly. But nowadays, bathroom accessories manufacturers replace large cups with smaller ones. The primary function of this suction cup lies under the safe ejection of the stopper out of the drain. When you press on the middle of the suction cup, the drain plug pulls the stopper out.

Method # 4. Disassembling Faceplate-Control Drain Stoppers

Disassembling faceplate control drain stoppers
Disassembling faceplate control drain stoppers

Faceplate control drain stoppers, also known as trip lever stoppers, constitute a complex internal composition. So you need to understand this entire assembly. Additionally, these drain stoppers are identified by a lever on the overflow faceplate that is attached to a rod assembly.

1. Locate the Overflow Faceplate On the Bathtub

Carefully observe your bathtub spout. Did you find a trip lever there? If yes, you can use this lever to control the overflow drain by twisting or rotating it. This lever arm is the primary controlling mechanism for opening and closing the drain stopper.

2. Flip or Rotate the Faceplate

The next step is the movement of the faceplate. But you must be very conscious that the plug must be open before you rotate the faceplate. Otherwise, you may break your stopper. You can remove the drain stopper assembly by opening the drain. Furthermore, if the plug is closed, you won’t be able to take the drain stopper out of the opening behind the faceplate.

3. Unscrew the Faceplate

Here is the final step. You are just a few minutes away from taking your stopper off. Choose a flat-head screwdriver and remove both screws from the faceplate by turning them to the left or counter-clockwise.

Critical Alert:  Unscrew the stopper cautiously to avoid dropping its parts beneath the plate into the tub or drain.

Method # 5. Removing a Pop Up Drain Stopper 

Removing a pop up drain stopper
Removing a pop-up drain stopper

Pop-up drain stoppers possess rocker arms and rod arrangement, making them more susceptible to clogging. When the spring in the rod is compressed, the lever is in the open position. On the other hand, pressing down on the rocker’s arm causes the plug to pop up again.

In simple words, you can say that when your bathtub drain is closed, the rocker’s arm rotates, and the spring relaxes. In return, the plug goes down and ultimately shuts the drain. If you are ready to remove your pop-up stopper, remember to remove it in the open position. Follow the below points for proper drain stopper adjustment.

1. Open the Drain

Firstly, pop up the plug. It’s the open position of the stopper. All you need to do is to flip the overflow faceplate lever. The simplest way to remove the rocker arm assembly is by quickly accessing the stopper and drain.

2. Pull Out the Rocker Arm and Drain Stopper Plug

Secondly, apply your hand’s force to press the drain stopper’s sides. You can use a pair of pliers if you feel it’s jammed and not rotating. Pull it straight up when you lose enough sides until it comes out of the drain. Do not apply excessive force that damages your drain. You must simultaneously remove the plug, stopper, and rocker arm, so be patient. Follow each step correctly to get good results.

3. Unscrew the Controlling Faceplate

Thirdly, pick up a screwdriver, take out the screws from the overflow faceplate, and save them for reinstallation. After faceplate removal, you may have direct access to the lever and rod assembly.

4. Separate the Rod from the Drain Stopper Assembly

Lastly, carefully remove the pop-up drain assembly and rod from the drain. Count all the parts to ensure nothing is stuck inside the drain. Start counting using the lever, rods, spring drain pipe, and screwdriver you used. Bathroom fixture suppliers lubricate the springs and rods of drain stoppers with a lubricant before distribution to enhance their working efficiency.

What to Do Next?

After successfully removing the drain stopper, examine every component of your stopper. If you notice any signs of corrosion, cracking, or warping in any part of your drain assembly, go for your drain stopper replacement.

However, if the stopper is in good condition, you don’t need a replacement bathtub drain stopper. Instead, use a bathroom cleaning solution to clean the drain and stopper to clear all debris, dirt, hair, and soap scum.

Bathtub drain stopper replacement
Bathtub drain stopper replacement

Place the stopper into the drain to begin the reinstallation procedure. After that, use the screwdriver to fasten all the screws, and test the drain stopper to make sure it is operating correctly.

When to Get Help from a Professional

At Hofen Sanitary, our experts are always available to help you with your advanced drainage systems. If your drain basket breaks during removal, get in touch with us. Moreover, if your equipment damages your bathtub drain hole or stopper, we can also assist you in replacing your drain stopper.


After reading this blog, we hope you get answered to all your questions about removing a tub drain stopper. You can contact our sanitary ware manufacturers if you have any trouble. Check the position of the stopper before removal. Mostly, open positions of stoppers are favorable for removal.

Be careful when removing and reinstalling the drain stopper to avoid any damage. However, in case of damage, act wisely and replace the bathtub drain stopper if there are any indications of severe wear & tear, corrosion leakage, or cracks.

Removing your drain stopper should be manageable for you, but if not, hit the Contact Us button to get further assistance from our experts.

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