How To Remove Shower Drain Cover

Last Updated On June 22, 2024

Updated on January 11, 2023



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How To Remove Shower Drain Cover

Do you need access to your shower drain and need to remove the shower drain cover? This will be required if you need to unclog a shower drain. There are numerous types of shower drain covers, and some of them are removed differently than others. Let’s talk about how this works.

In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover:

  • What you need to know about how to remove a shower drain cover
  • Removing the different types of shower drain covers
  • Troubleshooting: How to remove a stuck shower drain cover

What's In This Guide?

      What You Need To Know About How To Remove a Shower Drain Cover

      Your shower drain cover prevents hair and other large items from falling down your bathtub drain while still allowing water to flow. You can find flat drain covers that don’t include a drain body and others that do actually go into the drain. 

      Many of them also act as a drain stopper that can plug the drain, ensuring that the water stays in the tub. When you remove the stopper, the water can again flow down the drain. Many tubs also have an overflow drain that prevents the tub from overflowing if you have a clogged drain and leave the water on. 

      Under the shower drain cover or plug, there may be a drain flange or drain basket. This collects items before they go down the drain. 

      Anything that goes down the bathroom drain flows through the main drain and out of your home to the sewer line or your septic tank system. However, many times this debris get stuck along the way leading to a main sewer line clog

      Removing The Different Types of Shower Drain Covers

      Watch this video for how to remove the most basic “screw in” shower drain cover:

      Pop Up Shower Drain Cover

      You do not need any tools to remove a pop up shower drain cover. Simply open it and pull up. If it doesn’t pop off right away, wiggle it back and forth a bit to remove it. 

      In the occasion your drain cover has a rocker arm, you will uncover the arm and pull horizontally. 

      Flat Shower Drain Cover 

      To remove a flat shower drain cover, you need to use a screwdriver to remove the cover. You will place the flat screwdriver underneath the cover to remove it from the sealant. 

      Shower Drain Cover in Tile

      Tile cracks easily. Be careful not to damage the tile around the drain cover when removing a shower drain cover in tile by putting masking tape around the tub drain. 

      Shower Drain Cover With Screws

      To remove a screw-in shower drain cover, you will need the appropriate screwdriver. Simply remove the screws and then remove the drain cover. 

      Shower Drain Cover Without Screws

      You can remove a drain cover without screws simply by pulling up on it. If it seems stuck, you may want to use a flathead screwdriver to force it off of the drain. 

      Plastic Shower Drain Cover 

      Remove a plastic shower drain cover like the above drain cover types, only be careful not to break the material as the plastic may not be very strong. If it’s stuck, don’t apply more pressure or “tap” it loose. Instead, spray some WD-40 around the sides and let it soak for a few minutes.
      Needing a replacement? Read this review of the best shower drain covers and strainers.

      did you know How To Remove Shower Drain Cover

      How to Remove a Shower Drain Cover: 5 Steps

      Step 1: Apply Lubricant 

      Set yourself up for success by using a lubricant on the drain cover before you remove it, especially if you haven’t moved it. You can use WD-40, or something like this one that is safe and non-toxic.

      Step 2: Unscrew Any Screws

      If you have a screw-in shower drain cover, you will need to use the appropriate screwdriver to remove the visible screws in the plate. 

      When you remove the screws, place them somewhere safe so that they don’t fall down the drain. 

      Step 3: Grip Drain Cover 

      Get a good grip on the drain cover with either a screwdriver or a pair of needle-nose pliers. 

      For snap-in drain covers, you will use needle nose pliers and grip the drain cover in the center. 

      For screw-in drain covers, you will place the screwdriver underneath the edge of the drain cover. 

      Step 4: Loosen Drain Cover

      Loosen the drain cover. 

      You may need to use the flat screwdriver to loosen the cover from the sealant underneath it. 

      Alternatively, you may simply need to turn your locking pliers left when working with a snap-in drain cover. 

      Step 5: Pull Up to Remove Drain Cover

      After you get the drain cover loosened up, pull up with your tools to remove it. 

      Troubleshooting: How to Remove A Stuck Shower Drain Cover

      Is your shower drain cover not coming out as easily as expected? If someone overtightens the shower drain cover during installation or the shower drain cover hasn’t been removed in a long time, it may be difficult to remove. It may also have received sealant, which is never recommended. 

      If you come face to face with a stuck shower drain, use plenty of lubricants. You can also wiggle the screwdriver underneath the drain cover. This one is great and won’t damage your tile or finish. 

      Remove Shower Drain Covers to Access Drain Clogs

      The main reason you will want to remove the shower drain cover is to access a clog or blockage. Hair and soap buildup can get into your drainpipe, sometimes bypassing the drain cover and flange. 

      Many homeowners turn to liquid drain cleaners that can flow down the drain without removing the drain cover. Chemical and caustic drain openers work the best but can also cause damage to your pipes. 

      For some basic clogs, you can make an effective yet safe homemade drain cleaner using baking soda and white vinegar. 

      For drain maintenance, you can use all-natural and completely safe enzymatic drain cleaners that will not damage your pipes. However, these drain remedies will not be able to tackle tougher clogs further down the system. You’ll need a main sewer line cleaner, like these.

      Sometimes clogs are too stubborn and you’ll need a plumbing snake for proper drain opening. There are small tools made for localized clogs that might fit through the shower drain cover, such as these hair clog removal tools. However, if it’s further down you’ll need more power and reach. 

      The best electric drain snake will maneuver through your pipes and resolve the clog at the source, providing more power and ease. Since many snakes can’t fit through the small holes of a shower drain cover or drain stopper, this is why it’s helpful to know how to remove them. 

      Here is a helpful video for cleaning your shower drain once you remove the cover:

      Here is a link to the shower drain brush seen in this video: See here

      FAQS On How to Remove a Stuck Shower Drain Cover

      How to remove shower drain cover that is grouted in

      Some people use grout to secure the shower drain cover in place so that it doesn’t create a slip hazard. 

      However, the grout may work too well, making it difficult to remove the shower drain cover. Loosen the shower drain cover using a flat screwdriver and force it in between the shower drain cover and the grout. 

      Continue around the entire shower drain cover. 

      How to remove shower drain cover to clean

      When you have a shower drain clog, you may want to remove the shower drain cover to clean the drain. You can remove it using a screwdriver if it’s a screw-in type shower drain cover or pliers if it’s a snap-in shower drain cover. 

      Alternatively, you can clean the drain without removing the shower drain cover with a liquid drain cleaner. 

      How to remove shower drain cover in mobile home 

      Removing the shower drain cover in a mobile home is the same as removing a shower drain cover in a traditional single family home. 

      Do shower drain covers come off?

      Shower drain covers definitely come off. Generally, you will need to either unscrew it with a screwdriver or use a pair of pliers to detach the snap-in drain cover.

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      About Plumbing Navigator

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      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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