How to Remove Shower Drain Cover?


Shower drain covers are very important in preventing small things like razor blades, small pieces of jewelry, hairpins, etc. from going down the drain. However, there is one thing that the drain covers easily let past them: your hair!

Shower drain covers cannot stop hair from floating into the drain, which eventually leads to clogged drains and gross hairy drain covers. One way to deal with this issue is by cleaning the drain, but for that, you’ll first have to take off the drain cover because that will expose the inner part that needs to be cleaned. So, if you want to know how to remove your shower drain cover, keep reading.

Types of Shower Drain Covers

There are different types of shower drain covers. To remove your drain cover, you first have to know what type it is. You can go through the following list of the most common types of shower drain covers to identify yours:

Screw-In Shower Drain Cover

The screw-in shower drain cover is the one that has screws keeping it in place. Its screws are either in the center or at the corners. Screw-in drain covers are usually flat or slightly curved and are available in various finishes like polished or antique brass, stainless steel, and chrome. Such drain covers are compatible with multiple shower drains.

Snap-On Drain Cover

The shower drain covers that do not have any visible screws are snap-on drain covers. They are usually held in place with an adhesive instead of screws.  

Lift and Turn Drain Cover

The lift and turn drain stopper have a small knob on its top which is used to open and close the cover by twisting it. This type of drain cover has a central set-screw on its interior, which is screwed into the threaded drain crossbar.

Push-and-Pull Shower Drain Cover

The push-and-pull drain cover is similar to the lift and turns stopper, mainly in the design and installation process. The only difference between the two is the way they work. This type of drain cover opens when you pull it up and closes when you push it down, unlike the lift and turn model which needs to be twisted in order to be opened and closed.

Toe Touch Shower Drain Cover

This is the most convenient type of shower drain cover; it can be opened or closed by the push of your toe due to its spring featured design. This type of drain cover is similar in appearance and installation to the previous two models.

Trip Lever Drain Cover

The trip lever is a unique kind of drain stopper. It has a lever attached to a plunger on the overflow tube of the bathtub, and a strainer on the bathtub’s floor. The strainer is fixed with one or more screws and so is the lever.

When the lever moves up, the plunger attached to it moves down to close the drain pipe and when the lever moves down, the plunger moves up and opens up the drain pipe.

Pop-Up Drain Cover

This pop-up drain stopper also works on a lever system. The lever is screwed onto the overflow plate and the stopper is on the bathtub’s floor. The lever is connected to spring through a rod, and the stopper has a rocker arm. When the lever moves up, its spring pushes against the rocker arm and the stopper pops up. Similarly, when the lever moves down, the stopper follows its motion; this is how the lever indirectly controls the stopper. This is the old-style pop-up stopper. The new one is a lot different and is significantly simple. It has a spring-mounted cylinder, which is operated with just a push.    

Removing the Shower Drain Cover

Once you have identified the type of your shower drain’s cover, the next step is to learn how to remove it. Let’s see the removal process of each of them one by one.  

How to Remove a Screw-In Shower Drain Cover?

If you haven’t cleaned or removed your drain cover for a long time, it might be rusty and difficult to remove. Therefore, you will need to apply a lubricant along the lips of the drain cover and let it settle for a few minutes before proceeding further. Make sure your drain cover is completely dry before applying the lubricant to enable it to settle effectively.  

Once done, use a screwdriver with either Phillip’s head or a flat head and unscrew the cover. Put the screws safely aside to prevent them from falling into the drain and clogging it. Use the tip of the screwdriver to lift the drain cover and remove it safely.

How to Remove a Snap-On Drain Cover?

Apply lubricant along the lip of the drain cover and let it settle for a few minutes. Take two needle-nosed pliers and insert them into both the opposite holes. Hold them firmly and twist them to the left. Apply enough force to loosen the adhesive and get the cover off its place.

If you fail to remove the drain cover even after using steady force on it, apply more lubricant and more force; you will eventually get it out. Do not apply extreme force or you’ll damage the drain cover.    

How to Remove a Lift and Turn Drain Cover?

Removing the lift and turn drain stopper is a little tricky, so you will first need to understand how it works. When you need to open the drain, you have to lift and turn the stopper by its knob. Your first step to removing the drain cover is to open the drain and hold it still with one hand. Rotate the knob anti-clockwise to look for a screw set on it. If you do not find a screw, simply set it back in place by turning it in the opposite direction. Rotate the drain cover anti-clockwise until it becomes loose. Try using force while rotating it if it doesn’t come out easily.

There might be a small screw on the stopper that needs to be loosened in order to get the stopper out; look for that screw and use a screwdriver to unscrew it. It’s better to not remove the screw entirely to avoid any chances of it falling into the drain.  

If you do not find any screw on the stopper, then it probably has a channel-pin mechanism. To remove this type of stopper, you have to lift it and turn it counter-clockwise; this will help you align the pin of the stopper with the slot of the channel. Pull the stopper upwards and you are done.

How to Remove a Push-And-Pull Shower Drain Cover?

To remove a push-and-pull shower drain cover, you will need to remove its knob first. Start by turning the stopper’s knob counter-clockwise with one hand, while holding its base with the other. Keep turning until it comes off completely. If the knob is a little too tight to be loosened by your hands alone, then wrap a rag around it and try to loosen it with the help of pliers. Find the brass insert after removing the knob, connect the stopper and the crossbar, and then unscrew it with a screwdriver; that will loosen the stopper enough so you can easily lift it.     

How to Remove a Toe Touch Drain Stopper?

The toe touch drain cover is the most convenient type of shower drain stopper. Bring the stopper to an open position in order to remove it from the strainer. These types of stoppers often have a cap screwed into the base cylinder, which is itself fixed on the strainer. If you have the same type, hold the cylindrical base of the opened stopper and rotate its cap anti-clockwise. If you find the cylinder turning with the cap as well, keep rotating it until the whole unit is completely out of its place. You might need a screwdriver to undo the base cylinder from the strainer’s crossbar.

The other type of toe touch stoppers is single units that are attached directly to the crossbar and do not have a cylinder. 

How to Remove a Trip Lever Drain Stopper?

The trip lever cannot be removed just by unscrewing it because of its plunger. You have to be very careful when dealing with this type of drain cover.

First, you’ll need a screwdriver to unscrew the lever from the overflow plate of your bathtub. Use the most appropriate screwdriver. Do not pull the plunger out immediately or forcefully because it might be stuck in the drainpipe and could break upon applying force. Try to pull it out slowly, only applying just a little force as needed. If the lever system does not come out easily, then it is probably stuck in the gunk. You can try wiggling the linkage arm to loosen up the plunger and then get it out.

If you still fail, here is a little trick that you can try:

    • Pour hot water into the overflow drain
    • Pour vinegar into the overflow drain and keep wiggling the lift linkage
    • Leave it overnight to let it settle and make sure that you do not use the bathtub during that time
    • Try pulling out the linkage arm again the next morning

How to Remove a Pop-Up Drain Cover?

If you have an old-style pop-up drain cover, then you have to handle it carefully. Start by pulling the stopper straight out of the drain along with the rocker arm. Pull it out slowly to ensure that it doesn’t get stuck anywhere or the rocker arm doesn’t break. If you need to remove the lever as well, then unscrew it from the overflow plate and remove it with the rod linkage.

If you have the new model of the pop-up drain cover, then start by removing its top cap. It probably won’t be screwed, so you can easily get it off by turning it with your fingers. Removing the cap will expose the rubber spring that’s screwed into the cylinder. The cylinder itself is threaded into the strainer crossbar. Use a flathead screwdriver to loosen the screw on the top; this will loosen up the whole unit, unthreading the cylinder from the crossbar too.   

What to Do After Removing the Stopper?

You remove the drain stopper when you need to change it, repair it, or unclog the drain itself. If you need help with the unclogging part, you can try the following tips and tricks:

A Mixture of Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar make a non-toxic drain opener. All you need to do is pour ¼ cup of baking soda down the drain, along with a cup of white vinegar. Leave the mixture for about twenty minutes and then wash it away with a pot of boiling water.

Unclogging Tools

You can try using unclogging tools that are the cheaper version of a drain snake. These unclogging tools have thin strips with spikes on them and a ring-sized handle over the top. You can find these at your local stores for less than $3.

To use these tools, you have to hold a strip from the ring-sized handle, feed it down the drain and then pull it back up. You can do this several times from different angles, but be ready to see some disgusting build-ups every time you pull the strip up.


Doing small chores yourself, like removing a drain cover or unclogging the drain, can save you from spending a lot of money on employing experts. All you need are the right tools and a reliable guide. All these methods are quite easy and can be followed by anyone willing to do the task, be it young or old.

Be careful with your moves and how much force you use. Do not damage the stopper with extra force or let the screw go down the drain by not holding it firmly enough.

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