How to Remove a Bathtub Drain Cover

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It's simple to remove a bathtub drain cover once you figure out how it's attached.
Image Credit: Bill Oxford/iStock/GettyImages

If you're struggling with a clogged drain, there are many things you can do to unclog it. But the first step is gaining access to your drain. Removing your bathtub drain cover is essential for you to properly access — and therefore unclog — a blocked drain. Being able to remove your bathtub drain cover depends on how it's held in place, but you can remove any drain cover can be removed if you use the right technique.

Different Types of Drain Covers

Knowing how your drain cover is attached is key to safely removing it. There are two main types of bathtub drain covers. Some attach to the drain with screws, either in the center or at the edge of the drain cover. Others are attached by metal flanges, which allow the cover to pop into — and out of — place. Check your drain cover thoroughly for screws. If you don't see any, it's likely your cover is the flange variety.

Removing a Drain Cover

If your bathtub drain cover is screwed into place, you'll need to use a screwdriver to loosen it. Insert the appropriate screwdriver into the tops of your screws and turn counterclockwise to loosen them. This may require some time and elbow grease, particularly if the screws have been in place for a long time. If there's more than one screw, you can switch between them to loosen at a uniform rate.

Once the screws are removed, set them aside in a safe place. Then use your screwdriver to lift the cover out of your drain. Insert the tip of your screwdriver into one of the drain cover's holes to help you get a better grip on it and lift it free.

If your drain cover is held in place by metal flanges, removal is a different process. You'll need a specifically designed drain wrench for this task. These tools come with specific instructions, but generally they need to be inserted into the drain and turned clockwise until the drain cover is released. Once it pops out, it can simply be lifted out of place.

Unclogging and Maintaining Your Drain

Once you've removed your drain cover from your drain, you can get to work unclogging. There are several methods for this.

You can start by flushing your drain with boiling water. If that doesn't work, create a powerful drain cleaner with 1/3 cup baking soda and 1/3 cup vinegar. Mix the two ingredients; then pour the mixture down your blocked drain, allowing it to sit for an hour before flushing the drain with warm water. For really nasty clogs, you may need to use a drain snake to manually break up the blockage.

To avoid having to remove your drain cover in the future, you can take certain steps to prevent clogging. Make sure you're careful about what goes down the drain, since large quantities of hair or dirt can cause issues. You should also establish a good cleaning routine with your bathtub. Preventing buildup of dirt can help keep your drain clear longer.

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Annie Walton Doyle is a freelance writer based in Manchester, UK. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Daily Telegraph, Professional Photography Magazine, Bustle, Ravishly and more. When not writing, she enjoys pubs, knitting, nature and mysteries.

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