Bathtub Drain Stopper Broke Off: What Do You Do Now?

Bathtub Drain Stopper Broke Off

The drain stopper in your bathtub is a tiny tool. You may not even notice the presence of the drain stopper unless it starts showing problems. The stopper allows you to keep the water in the bathtub for use and then empty it when not required.

However, the problem started when the bathtub drain stopper broke off and failed to keep the water in the tub. Thus, the water from the faucet will immediately empty into the drainpipe. Thus, you must find a way to remove and replace the broken drain stopper in your bathroom. It is also essential to clean the drainpipe to avoid clogs.

We will show you the different types of drain stoppers and ways to remove and clean them. So, stay with us for a well-maintained bathtub and bathroom.

Types of Bathtub Drain Stoppers:

When you see that the drain stopper in your bathroom has broken off and needs replacement, you can’t just act instantly. First, you must identify the type of drain stopper your bathtub has. It is essential since the removal and cleaning process for the different drain stoppers varies too.

  • Toe touch stopper: As the name suggests, you can open and close this stopper system with your toes. It will open or close when you touch the stopper with your toes.
  • Push-pull stopper: There’s a knob at its center. When you push the knob, the stopper closes. It opens as you pull the stopper.
  • Lift and turn stopper: You first need to lift the stopper and then turn it. The stopper opens and closes as you turn it in the opposite direction.
  • Flip-it stopper: This stopper features a toggle. The stopper closes and opens when you flip it from one side to another.
  • Plunger-style stoppers: The plunger drain stopper will use a turn style or trip lever system for opening and closing. If the overflow system activates, this stopper will get low or rise to adjust with the water flow. Often, this system remains invisible.
  • Pop-up stopper: Likewise, the plunger-style stoppers, likewise, the plunger-style stoppers have a turn style or trip-over mechanism for their operation. There will be a rocker’s arm. It connects with the stopper and moves the internal push rod. As you move the push rod, the stopper lowers or rises to adjust the movement and water flow.

You see that there’re many drain stoppers for the bathtub and faucets. Once you find the right type, you can start removing and cleaning it.

How to Remove a Broken Bathtub Drain Stopper

Broken Bathtub Drain Stopper

You should now know the drain stopper your bathtub has. So, it’s time to see the removal process of the broken stopper. First, we will discuss the main drain stopper removal process in detail. So, when you see the stopper in the bathroom broken, you can follow one of these processes.

Removal tips for a push-pull drain stopper:

You can remove this stopper with a flathead screwdriver with ease. It will only take 10 minutes or less. Its steps are:

  • Ensure that the stopper is in the open position. You must turn the top of the shaft counterclockwise as you hold the shaft cylinder.
  • Sometimes the shaft cylinder may also turn as you turn its top. If it happens, release the cylinder of the shaft.
  • You will see threads connecting with the shaft cylinder. Once you remove the stopper, you can remove the threads and pry off the cylinder.
  • If your stopper has a top cap, pry it off with the flathead screwdriver. Then, access the cylinder and hold its top. Now, you can remove the stopper.
  • You have to unscrew the threaded cylinder by moving it counterclockwise. If the cylinder has a screwdriver slot, you may quickly take it off using the screwdriver.

The Removal Process of a Lift and Turn Drain Stopper:

You will need an Allen wrench and flathead screwdriver to remove the stopper from the bathtub drain. At first, hold the stopper as it remains in the open position. Then, start turning the knob until you find the set screw within it.

Sometimes the knob may not have the screws. In this case, turn the stopper counterclockwise. It will unthread the strainer and stopper. Now you may lift the stopper. If you find lifting the stopper, the thread of it may have got damaged. Hence, you must apply upward pressure and then remove the drain stopper.

For the visible set screw, observe the type of lift and turn bathtub drain stopper you have. It includes:

  1. Visible set screw underneath the stopper
  2. The channel around the drain stopper

For the screw underneath the stopper:

Keep the stopper in the open position at first. Then, life and turn the stopper to find the small screw. Use an Allen wrench or screwdriver to lose and pry off the screw. Now, try removing the stopper. If it still doesn’t come out, try loosening the set screw further. Then, you can remove it to clean the drain pipe with a plumbing snake.

For the channel around the drain stopper:

See the filter closely. There is a pin on it. The channel completes the turn and lifts action by moving the pin around the strainer. First, you must rotate the stopper counterclockwise by lifting it slightly. The slot will align with the pin. It releases the stopper from the pin. Now, you can lift it upwards.

If the stopper fails to remove, apply pressure on the post to remove it. If rust and residues stop it from removal, apply WD-40 commercial cleaner. It helps you unscrew and remove the stopper.

Removing Tips for the Push-Pull Drain Stopper:

You will need pliers, a rag, and a flathead screwdriver to remove and clean the push-pull drain stopper from the bathtub.

  • First, remove the knob from the stopper. It doesn’t matter whether the stopper is open or closed.
  • Hold the stopper’s body firmly. Then, use your other hand to unscrew the stopper knob with the screwdriver.
  • Sometimes the screw may not move. In this case, wrap it with the rag and move it with the pliers set.
  • Inside the stopper, the center is a brass insertion. You also need to remove it to pry off the stopper from the post finally.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Can a tub stopper be replaced?

Yes, the drain tub stopper is replaceable. Once you remove the stopper following our suggestions, you can buy and install a new tub stopper.

  • What can I use to replace a bathtub drain stopper?

As you replace the bathtub drain stopper, you may use an empty pod to block the drain opening. Plus, you may use a medicine cup of 15ml size.

  • Can I use silicone to seal the bathtub drain?

Silicone caulk will effectively block and seal the bathtub drain. The sealing will stop mold, corrosion, and rust growth inside it.


Seeing the bathtub drain stopper broke off can be a harrowing experience. It will stop the tub from holding the water. Also, it allows the odor from the draining pipe to enter the bathroom. When the stopper is broken, you must remove and replace it ASAP. For this, find the right type of drain stopper. Then, follow our suggestion for this particular stopper-type removal step.

The removal and replacement process of the drain stopper is straightforward. So, this DIY project of stopper removal is fun too.

2 thoughts on “Bathtub Drain Stopper Broke Off: What Do You Do Now?”

  1. How do I remove a lift and turn stopper if the middle part broke off at the bottom? I can’t get the piece out left at the bottom.

    1. You can remove it using needle-nose pliers or a flat-head screwdriver. In case the broken piece is lodged deep, you can use a hair catcher or a plumber’s snake. If it is more extreme, then you might need to disassemble the drain pipe from below to remove the broken piece. For this, you need to locate the p-trap (the curved pipe) beneath the sink, unscrew it carefully, and remove the obstruction. Be sure to have a bucket on hand to catch any water that may be left in the pipe.

      You can also see our other article, there are similar problem. It might help. Check here the

      Hopefully the method will work. If you still face problem don’t hesitate to ask again. Thank you.

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