How To Block A Bathtub Drain Without A Plug?

8 min read

A hot shower is something all I need after a hectic day to rejuvenate myself. You go to the shower and notice the drain of the bathtub does not have a plug. How would you feel?

Terrible! This was the last thing you needed after a tough day. A bathtub without a stopper or plug is worthless and disappointing. Luckily, there are some easy fixes to block the bathtub drain and most of them are household fixes.

Of course, they are temporary/emergency solutions but still very effective to block the water.

6 Ways To Block A Bathtub Drain Without A Plug

Block A Bathtub Drain Without A Plug

If you are already familiar with stopping the sink without a stopper, you already know the tricks. To apply these solutions, you don’t need to call a plumber right away, you need some patience and cool your head down.

  1. Use Toilet Plunger

This is an emergency fix, so don’t cancel the idea yet. Use soap and water to clean the rubber end of the plunger in the sink. Remove the wooden handle. Now set it over the drain hole and create some pressure on it to create a seal. Fill the tub with water and you are good to have your shower!

  1. Use Coffee Cup

You can use a single-serve coffee cup to block the bathtub drain. Do you have a coffee cup? If you don’t, then get a plastic medicine cup (15 ml). Now, place the cup into the drain (top facing down) and hold it firmly to plug the hole. Start filling the tub and notice how well the cup can hold.

If the cup can’t hold water because it is a little bit small, wrap the cup with rubber bands to improve the seal.

  1. Plumber’s Putty

If the previous two emergency solutions don’t work for you, try the plumber’s putty to block the drain. Plumbers use it all the time to fix any leaks of drains and other fittings.

Cover the drain hole with the putty and close the drain on it. It will work only once but still a good solution until you get the permanent fix. If you don’t have it in your collection, get it from your local hardware store or from any online stores. They are very cheap, should not cost you more than $7 or $8.

Jar Lids

You can try another method if you don’t have any coffee or medicine cup for any reason. But you gotta have a flat plastic lid or jar lid for this method to work.

This is what you should do…

Make sure the plastic/jar lid is large enough to cover the drain hole. Now that you have the right-sized lid, place it on the bottom of the tub and press firmly to create a great seal. Start filling the tub. The water will make sure the lid stays in place!

  1. Makeshift Drain Stopper

If none of the above methods work (I can’t imagine why!), there is still another solution for you. This time you will be needing a plastic bag to make this work. Place a small sponge or washcloth into the plastic bag to create a makeshift drain stopper.

There should not be any air inside the plastic bag. Use the rubber band to secure it and stuff it into the tub drain.

The washcloth/sponge will expand that will help it to snug fit in the hole and the plastic won’t let water drain out of the tub. Doesn’t it sound interesting? Here is how you can do it with a plastic bag alone.

  1. Marine Drain Twist Plug

This is the last technique I will talk about and most of you may not be able to apply it. However, if you are a fisherman or you have someone who loves to fish, you can use the drain twist plug to block the tub drain. But you have to make sure the twist plug and the drain hole are of the same size.

Just twist it into the drain clockwise to block the water. You can remove it by twisting counter-clockwise as well.


You should no longer be wondering how to block a bathtub drain without a plug. However, this is a temporary solution and you should take steps to fix the problem permanently to avoid future hassle. You can get a rubber plug from any hardware store and fix it yourself or you can call the plumber if you are not that confident.

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