How to Remove a Drain from a Tub?

Is your tub is not draining and doing its job rightly, you might have to take this out and clean or even replace it if required. Rest assured in just some simple steps you will have your tub drain out & resolve your tub trouble.

It is unfortunate but true: With time your tub drains clog or even corrode. Your tub is put on the test daily as you and other members in your family bathe, and forcing all types of products—and huge amounts of hair—through its drain and in the pipes beyond. And day will come when the drain stops to function. When it happens, you will probably have to remove your drain for check, and followed by careful cleaning or complete replacement or using drain hair catcher. This removal process is not particularly tough and time-consuming, and taking anywhere from some minutes to hours from beginning to end, which depends on a type of drain that you are dealing with. Still, as with everything DIY, some simple instructions can help this task to go very smoothly.

Whereas tub drains differ by its type, they are sorted in 2 broad categories: easy drains (that includes foot lock, lift-n-turn and roller ball types) or drains with the trip lever (like pop-up & plunger drains). The instructions to remove both the types appear below. Find your style of drain, and follow this step-by-step process to remove this yourself.

Simple Drains (Roller Ball, Foot Lock, or Lift-and-Turn)

Materials Required

  • Screwdriver

  • Rubber gloves

  • Vinegar

  • Wrench

  • Mild cleanser (optional)

  • Baking soda

  • Drain key/smart dumbbell

  • Blow dryer (optional)


Before disassembling your drain, it is very important to note the condition. Huge amounts of mildew, rust, and decay might indicate the higher problem, in that case professional help might be require. But, if the tub is in the good shape, just pull on your rubber gloves and start on your important mission.

  • For the foot lock and roller ball plug, just rotate this counterclockwise until this separates completely from your drain shaft.

  • In case of the lift-and-turn type of drain, lift a plug and free this by loosening its setscrew below. Suppose you find that setscrew on the lift-and-turn tub is stuck, then series of light or medium taps can help to loosen this out. Use your screwdriver or wrench to nudge this in motion if essential, but you need to be careful when using drain hair catcher and not use a lot of force that can damage your drain.


When your drain basket is exposed, use the mild cleanser or mixture of 1 part of vinegar and 1 part of baking soda to clean it off. Clean the stopper or plug if you are planning to reinsert this instead of replacing it.

Now, fill your tub with one inch water and see it drain. Suppose water still drains very slowly, move to the stronger drain cleaner (must be suitable for the tubs) or you can turn to tried-and-true drain hair catcher cleaner that makes use of materials that you have on hand. Fill your tub again with one inch of water, just to see if it drains properly. Repeat if necessary until your tub empties at the reasonable rate, and then proceed in reinstalling the parts that you have removed.


Suppose you are removing the whole drain apparatus, which includes even the basket (known as flange), insert the smart dumbbell or drain key in the opening. Turn this counterclockwise and turn until the whole drain flange gets released, and remove the flange when it is still attached to a drain key.

Note: If flange is stuck, make use of hair dryer for heating this up & loosen the putty, and try again.


When the drain flange is removed, make sure you clear out old putty residue left from base of its opening before you replace the flange and installing the new one.

Bottom Line

Even though many DIY projects goes outside of many homeowners’ comfort zones, but removing the tub drain is an easy task. Best thing to know when you are tackling new plumbing work is to continue with complete caution and know that if any complications arise, the professional plumber is one call away.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

Check Also

How was kajal made anciently and how did it evolve?

Kajal is a staple cosmetic for almost every woman, regardless of if you know how …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.