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Ways to Block a Bathtub Drain Without a Plug

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By 1-800 Plumber +Air

September 13, 2022

So, you want to use your bathtub but don't have a working stopper or plug - now what? Do you have to give up on that relaxing bubble bath you were hoping to have?

You don't have to settle for a shower just yet, because there are a few quick fixes you can try first. Here's how to plug a bathtub drain without a stopper using simple items you can probably find around the house right now.

  1. Repurpose an Empty Coffee Pod or Medicine Dose Cup

Thanks to your single-serve coffee machine, your morning cup of joe is more convenient than ever. But as it turns out, those pods are good for more than just brewing coffee - they can also be used to block a bathtub drain in a pinch. Or, if you don't have a coffee pod machine, another option is to use one of those small medicine dose cups instead.

Place the empty pod or plastic cup into the bathtub drain bottom first. Turn on the water to see how well your makeshift plug works. If it's a little bit too small, a few rubber bands around its middle can provide a better seal.

  1. Put a Lid to Good Use

You'll find another alternative solution in the kitchen for plugging a bathtub without a stopper. Look for a container with a screw-on lid that is the right size to cover the drain hole (jam jars are often the perfect option).

Dampen the bottom of the lid to support a strong seal, then press it firmly into the drain. Hold down the lid as you turn on the water; eventually, the water's weight will hold the lid in place.

  1. The Plastic Bag Trick

Finally, if you don't have any of the above items, a plastic bag, and a washcloth or sponge can do the trick. Soak a washcloth or sponge in water, then carefully twist or roll it into a shape that will fit the drain. Place it inside a plastic sandwich bag, squeezing out as much air as possible before you zip it closed. Alternatively, use a rubber band to secure the top of the bag.

Then, put the bag into the drain, making sure it fits snugly. In theory, it should provide enough of a seal to prevent water from going down the drain.

You can also fill a thick plastic bag with water, then knot the top tightly. Because of the bag's flexibility, it should easily shape itself into the drain and create a reasonably tight seal.

Or, Hire a Professional to Replace Your Broken or Missing Stopper

If you've made your way to this guide, you've probably been searching "how to plug bathtub drain," - but even though these temporary fixes can come in handy, they aren't going to be a lasting solution. Skip the rubber plug from the hardware store and get a new drain stopper installed instead, so you don't need to worry about running into any hassles in the future.

Once you've used our smart bathtub hacks to spend a little time on self-care, you can take care of the problem for good by getting in touch with a plumbing professional. At 1-800-Plumber + Air, our team can provide a wide range of plumbing services, from replacing drain parts to resolving leaks and damage. Our 24/7 customer service team can get you on the schedule as soon as possible so that you can get a fast fix for all your plumbing problems.

Call 1-800-Plumber + Air at 1-800-PLUMBER or schedule service online today!

Featured Image: Gus Andi / Shutterstock