How to Remove a Bathtub Drain Stopper

A filled bathtub.

Occasionally a bathtub drain stopper will get stuck. There are a few different types of stoppers, each with their own removal technique.

Step 1 - Identify the Kind of Stopper

A foot-lock drain has a smooth stopper without a handle in the center. A Roller-ball drain has a stopper with a handle in the center which must be pushed down or pulled up. A twist-and-turn drain has a stopper that looks like a roller-ball but the stopper must be twisted to open or close it. If your drain has a trip lever to raise and lower the stopper, it will either have an invisible plunger stopper, or a visible pop-up stopper.

Step 2 - Remove the Stopper

To remove a roller-ball, foot-lock, or twist-and-turn stopper, you will need to turn the body of the stopper counterclockwise while in the up position. While still in the up position, lift it up and turn it until you see a small ‘set’ screw. Loosen the screw with the screwdriver. You will not need to remove the screw entirely. Lift or twist counterclockwise and lift to remove the stopper.

Step 3 - For Lever Drains

Open the stopper with the lever. Wiggle the stopper while pulling up to remove. For a plunger-drain, pull up the lever and undo the screws from the lever cover plate and pull out the lever.