How to Remove Bathtub Drain? An Ultimate Guide

You need to follow a few simple steps to remove the bathtub drain.

  • First, remove the stopper and screen of the bathtub.
  • Then heat the drain to soften the sealant simply by using the hairdryer, removing the drain, and cleaning the seal. You are done with removing the bathtub drain. 

Let’s discuss the process in detail for removing the bathtub drain in different ways.

Method 1: Removing Drains with Simple Method

While buying the best bathtub from the market, you might not have imagined such a scenario. But with constant usage, there will be many instances when you’ll have to remove the bathtub drains. Let’s check out the simple drain removal method first.


STEP 1: Check the Drain Condition

Before you disassemble your bathtub drain, it’s important to notice its condition. Excessive amounts of rust, mold, or decay may indicate a bigger problem, requiring professional assistance.

Otherwise, if the drain is in fine condition, pull on a pair of rubber gloves and continue on your mission.

Also Read: How Hot are Hot Tubs?

STEP 2: Remove the Plug

For a foot lock or rollerball plug, simply rotate it counterclockwise until it separates from the drain shaft.

In the case of a lift-and-turn drain, lift the plug and free it by releasing the setscrew underneath. If you find that the set screw on your lift-and-turn drain is stuck, a sequence of light-to-medium taps may help to release it.

Use your screwdriver or wrench to nudge it into motion if necessary, but take care not to use an extreme amount of force, which could damage the drain.

STEP 3: Clean the Plug and Stopper

Once the filter is fully exposed, use a light cleanser or a mix of 1-part vinegar and one-part baking soda to scrub it off. Also, clean the plug or stopper if you’re reinserting it instead of replacing it.

STEP 4: Check Draining Speed

Now, fill the bathtub with approximately an inch of water and watch it drain. If the water still drains too slowly, move on to a stronger drain cleaner. Fill the bathtub again with about an inch of water, and watch it drain.

Repeat as necessary until the bathtub empties at an inexpensive rate, then proceed to reinstalling or replacing the parts you had removed earlier.

STEP 5: Remove the Flange

If you’re removing the whole drain apparatus, including the basket (also referred to as the flange), insert your drain channel or smart dumbbell into the opening.

Turn it counterclockwise and continue turning until the drain flange is released, then remove it while it’s still attached to the drain channel.

Tip: If the flange is stuck, use a hairdryer to heat it and loosen the joint, then try again.

Also Read: How to Fix A Leaky Bathtub Faucet?

STEP 6: Clean the Flange

Once the drain flange has been removed, make sure to filter out old residue from the bottom of the opening before replacing the flange or installing a replacement one.

STEP 7: Assembling Everything back

Once you have done the cleaning process, you can put back everything in the same order. 

TOOLS Required for This Method:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Cleaner
  • Hair Dryer 

Also Read: Why Do Divers Use Hot Tub?

Method 2: Removing Drains with Trip Levers 

You can also remove the bathtub drain using this method. 

remove bathtub drain infographic

STEP 1: Check the Drain Condition

Before you start, check the drain for excessive rust, mold, or decay, which can indicate a bigger problem requiring experts’ services. If the drain looks to be in fine condition, it’s probably fine to proceed.

STEP 2: Remove Stopper

If your drain features a visible stopper, then set the lever to the open position and use a screwdriver to get rid of the trip lever faceplate; also, remove the lever and channel.

If your drain features a trip lever without a clear stopper, use a screwdriver to get rid of the screws on the trip lever faceplate and move it far away from the bathtub wall; the attached plunger should begin alongside it.

STEP 3: Clean the Plug and Stopper

Once the drain has been disassembled, use a light cleanser or a mix of 1-part vinegar and one-part baking soda to scrub it off. Also, clean the plug or stopper if you’re going to reinsert it instead of replacing it.

STEP 4: Check Draining Speed

When the bathtub again drains properly, reinstall the cleaned drain parts or replace them with new ones. If you select to get rid of the whole drain apparatus, including the flange, use a drain key to remove the parts.

STEP 5: Reassemble Everything

Once you are done with bathtub cleaning, you can easily reassemble everything back into the previous setting. In some cases, you might have to unclog your bathtub too. Don’t worry, it is also a DIY task that you can easily manage.

Also Read: Best hot tubs 2022


Removing a bathtub drain is a relatively easy task. The simplest rule of thumb when you can tackle any new plumbing job is to proceed with an abundance of caution and remember that if complications arise, an expert plumber is one phone call away.

While you are on a mission to do everything yourself, why not caulk your bathtub too?

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