Expert Guide On How to Remove Bath Tub Drain?

In our homes, there are basic household works we should be able to do without spending money on professionals. One of such works is basic plumbing.

We all know how messy a bathroom malfunction can be, especially when it has to do with the drain or nasty toilet bowl.

You can actually prevent such bathroom disasters if you know how to do some of these things, like how to remove bathtub drain.

Whether it is your master bathroom or a baby bathtub, this How-to guide is meant to teach you how to remove your bathtub drain. It is a step-by-step DIY that will show you what to do when you need to remove your drain.

But before you even begin, bear in mind that a plumbing DIY can go awry all of a sudden and even create a bigger mess. So you should understand your plumbing system and take note of access points.
What is a Drain Flange?

A drain flange is the visible outer part of your drain assembly. It is the outer finish that you see in your tub. It comes in different forms of finishing, with each requiring a specific type of stopper.

Actually, it is that part of your drain system that is screwed into your drain shoe, allowing your bathroom liquid waste to move freely into your drainage pipes.

Easy Steps to Follow On How to Remove Bath Tub Drain

The first thing you need to do is to get the right tools for the job. For bathtub drain removal, you would need the following;

  • A Screw Driver: This will be needed to remove the stopper in case there is one.
  • Bucket: Everything about your plumbing has to do with water. You best be prepared for a gush or leak. The bucket will also be useful for containing your old parts.
  • Drain Key: The tool used for removing the drain. A Smart Dumbell can also be used for this purpose.
  • Wrench: You’d need this for perfect grip when you need to turn or pull.

Once you have your tools ready, you can now go on how to remove bathtub drain, which is the focus of this guide. You can take out your drain in 3 easy steps:

Place the smart dumbbell or drain key into the drain. The larger side of the dumbbell should be used, as the notches can easily fit into the crossbars of your bathtub drain flange. It’s almost the same process with the drain key, except that the key has features like the Hex Nut and Drive Screw which make it easy to hold with a wrench and turn with another.

Using a wrench, turn the tool counterclockwise. Ensure you follow the stated instructions for using the tool.

Continue to turn counterclockwise until it comes off.

This removal is usually done when there’s a need to replace your drain or when you need to carry out a repair. If it’s a replacement, ensure you clean the area with a clean rag and remove all stale particles before you install a new one.

Sometimes, it doesn’t come off easily. Perhaps, the drain flange has stayed for too long and has begun to wear. This will make it difficult to remove your bathtub drain.

This even happens with a baby bathtub, especially when you decide to use the same one you used for the now older kid, for the new kid. Regardless of the right tools, it just might not come off.

When this happens, try heating the drain flange area to soften the sealing putty. Any household heating tool will do. Once that is done, you shouldn’t have any more problems taking it off by using any of the tools. This is a brief, but easy step on how to remove the bathtub drain.

Improvised Method

There are several other improvised methods of removing your bathtub drain, depending on how much energy you’re willing to spend. One particular method requires just a wrench and pliers. Place the two tips of the pliers into two opposite drain flange crossbars.

Once you get a proper fit, turn the drain counterclockwise by attaching your wrench to the pliers and turning it in that direction. If you find this too hard, apply some heating agents or lubricant.
If you’re still not sure of the process, here’s a video to help you.

However, you would need to remove your bathtub drain stopper if your tub has one. Depending on the type of stopper you have, different techniques are used to remove them. Here is an outline of the types of stoppers available and how to remove them;

Pop-Up Stopper

A Pop-Up can either have a turn style or trip lever feature. This makes it easy for you to simply flip the lever or turn a plate to either raise or lower the stopper.

How to remove?

All you need for this is a bucket and a clean rag. Flip the trip lever or turn the plate to put the stopper in an “open” position. If your Pop-Up stopper has a rocker arm, you’d need to simply pull it up and then sideways to get it away from the drain.

The attached arm is usually messy, so get a bucket in place to put all the clogs. You might also want to place a rag over your drain to avoid scratches. If you try the pull-up technique and it fails to come out easily, you might need to wiggle it back and forth as you pull.

Flip-It Stopper

This Stopper is one of the easiest to use. The toggle allows you to open or close it by flipping it from side to side.

How to remove?

All you have to do is grab gently on the round outer chrome and rotate slowly while you pull upwards. You can rotate clockwise or counterclockwise. Just be sure to add some pull.

Push-Pull Stopper

This stopper can be easily opened or closed by pulling up or pushing down the knob at the top.

How to remove?

To remove this, you need a clean rag, Flathead screwdriver, and pliers. This is a very systematic process. First, remove the knob by unscrewing it with one hand, while holding the other part of the stopper down with the other hand.

Next, unscrew the brass insert, also called a post, using a Flathead screwdriver. The insert is located in the middle of the stopper. Turn counterclockwise to remove. Once that is done, nothing else is holding the stopper.

Toe-Touch Stopper

The convenience in this stopper is that you don’t even need to bend. Just push the knob with your toe to open or close it.

How to remove

You need a Flathead Screwdriver to remove the Toe-Touch Bath tub drain Stopper. Turn the top plate counterclockwise while holding the shaft with another hand. If the shaft cylinder still turns along, let go of it and just keep turning the top plate. Once they’re both out, you can separate the two by turning the top counterclockwise until it comes off.

In case you do not use any of the ones mentioned above, perhaps, yours is a lift-and-turn stopper or a plunger-style stopper. They are equally easy to remove.


You no longer have to give away those precious hundreds of dollars when you can do it yourself. Just be sure to get the right tools and pay extra attention to this guide. Equipped with this knowledge, you do not need to worry any longer about plumbing works as basic as this because you now know how to remove bath tub drain. And always have the best tub mat so avoid slip inside the tub.

Clyde Mitchell

I run a hardware store nearby Court Anaheim, CA. Over the last 7 years, I have been blogging about home improvement and yes, I own From me and this website, you can expect some useful tips on great ideas for a modern bathroom.

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