How to Remove a Shower Drain Cover in 5 Minutes

A shower drain cover is a small finished piece that is installed on top of the shower drain opening to prevent dirt from falling in and clogging the shower.

Even with a drain cover on, hair, soap scum, mineral deposits and other types of debris still manage to enter the shower drain and clog it. Removing the shower drain cover will help you access the drain and unclog it by removing these substances.

To remove a shower drain cover, look for a screw or two that connects it to the drain flange. Use a screwdriver to remove the screw and lift off the cover. If the shower drain cover has no screw, pry it off using a flathead screwdriver or needle-nose pliers.

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Just below the shower drain cover, the drainpipe is usually U-shaped. The U-shaped part of the drainpipe is called a drain trap.

The drain trap holds a constant level of water at all times, which acts a barrier, preventing sewer gas smells from coming up into the bathroom. Every drain in your house has a trap. Check under your bathroom sink and you will see one.

Every time you have a sewer gas smell in your house, it means one or all of your drain traps are dry. Running water down the drains is enough to fix the problem.

Secondly, the drain trap as its name suggests traps potential clogs, preventing them from clogging the drainpipe far from the drain opening. This is why it is easy to remove hair from your shower drain after removing the drain cover.

How to Remove a Shower Drain Cover

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  • Look for a screw or 2 that secure the shower drain cover to the shower drain flange.
  • Use a screw driver to remove the screws. Be very careful as you can easily drop them inside the drain.
  • Once the screws are out, the shower drain cover should just pop out. If it doesn’t, it is because it is stuck around the drain. Use the back of the screwdriver to tap around it to loosen it. When loose just lift it off.

Some shower drain covers do not have any screws on them. Instead they have some prongs underneath them that hook on the drain flange. These type of drain covers can be a little hard to remove. Here is how to go about it:

  • Around the edges of the drain covers, you will some slots. Insert a flathead screwdriver on one of the slots and gently lift off the drain cover. You will notice that the side will lift off slightly.
  • Insert the screw driver on the slot at the other side of the drain cover and wiggle it out as well. Work your way round the drain cover until you remove it out.
  • If there are no slots on the side of your shower drain cover, insert the screwdriver inside one of the drain covers holes and lift it up gently. Make sure that you insert the screwdriver on hole that is near the edge of the drain cover.
  • When you notice that side of the drain cover has lift off slight, insert the screwdriver in a hole on the opposite side lift the cover out.
  • If the shower drain cover is stuck, a needle-nose pliers is a fantastic tool to use. Put its prongs inside 2 of the cover’s hoes and turn it turn it round to loose. Once the cover starts to spin freely, lift it up at once with the pliers.

How to Remove Pop-Up Shower Drain Covers

For people with shower-bathtub-combinations, your shower drain covers are a little different. These types of shower drain covers are often called bathtub drain stoppers.

There are five types of bathtub/shower drain stoppers. This is how to remove each one of them:

4. Trip-Lever Shower Drain Stopper

A trip-lever shower drain stopper is very different from other types of drain covers as it is usually installed on the overflow drain. The flip-lever is usually mounted on the overflow plate whereby if you need to drain the shower/tub you flip it down. To fill the tub you flip it up.

A shower drain cover is usually installed on top of the drain opening using a screw. Use a screwdriver to remove the screw and lift off the drain cover.

2. Lift and Turn Shower Drain Stopper.

A lift and turn shower drain stopper has a small knob at the top of the cover plate. To drain the shower/ tub, lift the knob and turn it to the side. If you want fill the tub turn the knob in the original direction and push it down.

  • To remove a lift and turn shower drain stopper, start by having it in the open position.
  • Hold down the stopper body with one hand and use the other hand to turn the knob counterclockwise.
  • Once the knob is loose and out, you will see a screw that connects the stopper to the drain flange. Remove it with the screw driver.
  • Some lift and turn stoppers have a screw on the side (stem) of the knob. Lift the knob and rotate to see if that is the case with yours.

3. Push/Pull Shower Drain Stopper

A push and pull shower drain stopper is often confused with the lift and turn stopper. They both look the same, the only difference between the 2 being that a push and pull stopper does not need you to turn the knob. You just pull it up to drain and push it down to fill the tub.

  • To remove a push and pull shower drain stopper, pull the knob and turn it counterclockwise as you hold the body of the stopper down with your other hand.
  • Once the knob is out, you will see a screw that attaches the stopper to the drain flange. Unscrew it with a screwdriver.

4. Toe-Touch Shower Drain Stopper

A toe-touch stopper, also known as a foot-actuated shower/tub drain stopper looks very much like the push and pull stopper but without the knob. You normally use your foot to open or close the drain.

  • To remove a toe-touch shower drain stopper start by popping up the cap.
  • Hold the stopper body down with one hand as you turn the cap counterclockwise.
  • Beneath the cap is a screw that attaches the stopper to the drain flange. Remove it with a screwdriver.
  • If the cap does not look threaded, there is a possibility that the entire stopper is threaded to the drain flange. Turn the entire assembly and check if it is turning. Remove it out.

5. Flip-It Shower Drain Stopper

A flip-it shower drain stopper is not threaded to the drain flange and has no screw. You recognize it because of its toggle lever at the top. You simply push the lever to one side to drain the tub and the other side if you want to fill it.

To remove a flip-it shower drain stopper just grab it, wiggle it a little as you it up. If it has been in place for a long term the O-ring underneath will be holding on the drain tightly.

How to Unclog the Shower Drain

  • Once the shower drain cover is out, you can now access the shower drain. As you will find out, clogs in shower drains are usually caused by hair. Removing the hair is quite easy.
  • Get a wire coat hanger and straight it into a 1 or 2 foot long wire. Make a small hook on one side of the wire with a pair of pliers.
  • Insert the hooked end of the wire in the shower drain and start pulling out the hair.
  • Once most of the hair is out pour about half a cup baking soda down the drain and slowly add vinegar. Wait for 30 minutes.
  • After the 30 minutes pour about a gallon of hot water down the drain to wash down the loosened gunk, completely unclogging the drain.

How to Prevent Shower Drain from Clogging

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The best way to prevent your shower drain from clogging is by installing a shower drain hair catcher. A shower drain hair catcher installs under and some over the shower drain cover and will need to be emptied/cleaned periodically.

Emptying a shower drain hair catcher is however way easier than unclogging a clogged drain. Additionally, pouring a vinegar and baking soda solution followed by hot water down the shower drain once in 2 weeks will great help to prevent shower drain clogs.

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