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How to Remove a Stubborn Bathtub Drain

Ready to give your old bathtub drain a much-needed upgrade? 

Good news! With just a few tools and some know-how, you’ll learn how to remove a bathtub drain easily.

So, grab your screwdriver, pliers, drain wrench, and the new drain fitting (that basket-shaped piece under the stopper). 

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of how to remove a bathtub drain. 

Say goodbye to leaks and hello to a refreshed and functional bathtub!

7 Steps on How to Remove a Bathtub Drain

Here are the steps you need to take:

Turn off the water supply-11. Turn off the water supply 

Before you start removing the bathtub drain, it’s crucial to turn off the water supply. This step ensures a safe and dry working environment. Locate the water shut-off valves, typically found near the bathtub or in the basement. This prevents accidental leaks or water damage during the removal process. 

2. Remove the stopper

  • Toe-touch 

Removing toe-touch stoppers is a breeze! Just pop open the stopper and unscrew the shaft cylinder by turning it counterclockwise.

  • Push-pull

For push-pull stoppers, set it in the open position, hold the body, and turn the knob counterclockwise. Use a towel for a better grip and pliers for added leverage if needed.

  • Lift and turn

To remove the lift-and-turn stopper, set the drain to open. Hold the body and check for a set screw on the knob. If present, use a screwdriver or hex key to unscrew it.

Use a lubricant or penetrating oil3. Use a lubricant or penetrating oil

When dealing with stubborn stoppers or rusted screws, using a lubricant or penetrating oil can be a game-changer. These products work by loosening the rust and lubricating the parts, making removal much easier. 

  • Before applying the lubricant, ensure the area is clean and dry. 
  • Spray or apply the lubricant directly to the rusted or stuck parts. 
  • Allow it to sit for a few minutes, giving it time to penetrate and work its magic. 
  • Then, try gently turning or unscrewing the components. 

The lubricant’s properties will help reduce friction, making the removal process smoother and more successful.

4. Use a screwdriver

If there are screws holding the drain in place, use a screwdriver to unscrew them carefully. For drains equipped with a screen or strainer, gently grip them with pliers and twist counterclockwise to remove them. 

5. Remove the plumber’s putty

If you’re faced with hardened plumber’s putty around the drain, don’t worry! Softening it is easier than you might think. 

Grab a hairdryer or heat gun and direct hot air into the drain for a few minutes. The heat will soften the putty and release its grip on the drain fitting.

6. Remove the drain fittings

  • A metal “X” is usually found on drain fittings to prevent objects from falling in. To unscrew a drain fitting with these crossbars, insert a drain wrench into the cross shape and turn counterclockwise. (The wrench has two ends; use the one that fits best.)
  • Alternatively, you can use needle-nose pliers to grip the X and unscrew the drain fitting. After a few rotations, it should be loose enough to be unscrewed by hand. Once it’s out, just pull it back.
  • To remove a drain fitting without metal crossbars, you’ll need a tub drain extractor that grips the inside walls of the drain fitting.

Consider consulting a professional plumber

7. Consider consulting a professional plumber

Do you find yourself facing difficulties or uncertainties during the process of removing a bathtub drain? If yes, then it’s wise to consider consulting a professional plumber. 

Plumbing experts possess the knowledge, experience, and specialized tools necessary to easily handle complex situations. They know how to remove a bathtub drain easily and ensure the job is done correctly. 

Hiring a professional plumber can save you time, effort, and potential damage to your plumbing system. 

So, if you feel overwhelmed or stuck, contact Drain Magic

Our skilled experts can step in and help you navigate the challenges with confidence. 

Drain Magic is the trusted partner for homeowners in South Central Pennsylvania. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you live nearby and need a service.

Book an appointment here.