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How to Remove a Shower Drain Cover Without Screws (Step-by-Step)

Is your showered drain clogged? Did you go to take off the drain cover and realize there aren’t any screws?

Now what? How do you remove it?

In this step-by-step guide, I’ll teach you how to remove a shower drain cover that doesn’t have visible screws.

I break down the process for all types of drain covers, so you know the best way to remove your specific model.

If you’re a visual learner, I also provide videos for each method so that you can see the steps in action.

Let’s get started!


Use the links below to navigate this guide:


Identifying the Drain Cover Type

The process for removing a shower drain cover varies by the type of cover.

So the first step is to identify which type you have.

If yours is connected with visible screws, you’ll just need a screwdriver to loosen the screws and gently lift the drain cover off.

However, if your drain cover doesn’t have visible screws, it can be a bit more tricky.

The most common drain covers without screws are lift-and-turn, toe-touch and pop-up, push-and-pull, trip-lever, and flip-it.

DANCO Lift and Turn Tub and Bath Drain Stopper, Chrome (88599)

Lift-And-Turn

PF WaterWorks PF0935-CH Universal Touch (Tip Toe or Foot Actuated) Bathtub/Bath Tub Drain Stopper includes 3/8" and 5/16

Toe-Touch and Pop-Up

Eastman 35255 Push/Pull Bathtub Drain Stopper, 3/8 inch Stem, Chrome

Push-and-Pull

PF WaterWorks PF0972-BN 1-1/2" Trip Bath Tub Drain Trim Kit (Bathtub Strainer, Cover & Trip Lever Waste & Overflow Face Plate) -Coarse 11.5 Threads Per Inch, Brushed Nickel

Trip-lever

Danco 88636 Flip-It Universal Tub Drain Stopper, Chrome

Flip-It

If you know what type of drain cover you have (or can identify it based on the images in this guide), the steps to remove it are pretty simple.

How to Remove Lift-And-Turn Drain Covers

DANCO Lift and Turn Tub and Bath Drain Stopper, Chrome (88599)

Let’s start with lift-and-turn drain covers since they are one of the most common types. These are simple drain covers that require little maintenance other than occasionally removing the plug to get rid of hair and debris build-up. They have a small knob on the top, which you can twist to open and close the stopper.

To remove the lift-and-turn drain cover, follow these steps:

  1. Gather your materials: You may be able to do this with your hand, but it’s a good idea to have the appropriate tools at the ready. For this, you’ll need a pair of pliers and a small flathead screwdriver.
  2. Lift: Lift the drain into the open position.
  3. Turn: Now, turn the base of the drain cover counterclockwise until you meet some resistance. Do not turn the knob at the top. Instead, make sure you’re turning the base. Otherwise, only the top knob will come off.
  4. Unscrew: If you see a tiny screw at the base of your drain cover when you’re lifting, unscrew it slightly with your flathead screwdriver before pulling the drain cover off.
  5. Lift: Now, lift the drain cover and fully remove it. You now have access to your drain.

Video Instructions: Check out this quick video to see these steps in action.

How to Remove Toe-Touch and Pop-Up Drain Covers

PF WaterWorks PF0935-CH Universal Touch (Tip Toe or Foot Actuated) Bathtub/Bath Tub Drain Stopper includes 3/8" and 5/16

Toe-touch and pop-up drain covers are easy to use and convenient. They open and close with a tap from your foot or hand. To remove these covers completely, follow these steps:

  1. Gather your materials: You’ll need a flathead screwdriver.
  2. Open: Press the drain, so it’s in the open position.
  3. Twist: Remove the lid of the drain cover by twisting it off.
  4. Unscrew: Use your flathead screwdriver to unscrew the base of the drain cover.
  5. Lift: Now lift the drain cover off completely.

Video Instructions: Check out this video for visual instructions.

How to Remove Push-And-Pull Drain Covers

Watco 38516-CP Push Pull Replacement Stopper with 5/16 & 3/8 Pins, Chrome Plated

Push-and-pull drain covers are similar to toe-touch covers, but you push them to close and pull to open rather than tapping them with your toe. To remove a push-and-pull drain cover, follow these steps:

  1. Gather materials: You’ll need a flathead screwdriver and pliers or a wrench.
  2. Open: Pull the drain stopper into the open position.
  3. Unscrew: Unscrew the knob on top of the drain stopper. If you can’t unscrew the knob, you may need to use a towel for leverage.
  4. Unscrew again: Once you’ve removed the knob, you’ll see a square opening. Fit your flathead screwdriver into the square and twist counterclockwise.
  5. Lift: Remove the drain cover by lifting it off.

Video Instructions: Here’s a quick video showing these steps in action.

How to Remove Trip-Lever Drain Covers

PF WaterWorks PF0972-BN 1-1/2" Trip Bath Tub Drain Trim Kit (Bathtub Strainer, Cover & Trip Lever Waste & Overflow Face Plate) -Coarse 11.5 Threads Per Inch, Brushed Nickel

Trip-Lever drain covers are one of the tricker types to remove. They come with two separate pieces, so you’ll need to remove both of them.

The stopper uses a plunger in the overflow pipe; it moves up and down to open and close. This type of drain cover isn’t as common as the others. For removal, you need to extract it from the overflow tube and out of the plate.

You can also find variations of this drain stopper that don’t use a level but a twist cover.

To remove the lever-type, following these steps:

  1. Unscrew: Use a screwdriver to unscrew the lever portion of the cover located on the bathtub wall.
  2. Pull: Pull out the stopping mechanism — this isn’t just the trip-lever but the piece that goes down into the drain.
  3. Remove: Unscrew the grated drain cover on top of the drain base and remove the drain cover completely.

Video Instructions: Want to see these steps in action? Check out this video.

How to Remove Flip-It Drain Covers

Danco 88636 Flip-It Universal Tub Drain Stopper, Chrome

Finally, let’s look at flip-it drain covers. These are easy to install and remove, fully equipped with a toggle lever that you can move to open and close the drain. To remove flip-it drain covers, follow these steps:

  1. Gather materials: Grab your flathead screwdriver.
  2. Open the drain: Flip the toggle so the drain is open.
  3. Pull: Pull slightly on the drain to locate the groove.
  4. Insert screwdriver: Insert the screwdriver into this groove. Applying a little pressure, lift the drain cover.

Video Instructions: Here’s a quick video that walks you through these steps.

How to Remove the Shower Drain Basket

If you need to remove the drain basket beneath the drain cover, you’ll need locking pliers or a tub drain wrench.

I recommend using a tub drain wrench because it’s designed specifically for removing drain baskets. If you misuse pliers (twisting or clamping down too hard), you risk breaking or damaging the crossbars.

If you’re using a tub drain wrench, simply insert the tool into the drain and use a regular wrench or screwdriver to twist the drain wrench counterclockwise. Here’s a 30-second video showing these steps.

If you’re using locking pliers, insert the pliers into the drain and close them around the center of the drain basket.

Once you establish a firm grasp, twist counterclockwise. Place another set of pliers between the locking plier’s handles for leverage if the drain basket won’t budge. Here’s a quick video showing how to remove a shower drain basket with pliers.

Drain baskets are often sealed with plumber’s putty, making them difficult to twist. If that’s the case, use a blow dryer to loosen the putty. After a couple of minutes, give twisting another try.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you’re still having issues with removing your shower drain cover, here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • If you know the make and model of your drain cover, Google the user manual for specific removal instructions.
  • Many drain covers require pliers or a screwdriver for removal, but some are designed to twist and lift out. Try a simple twist first before gathering tools.
  • If your drain cover has built-up gunk and soap scum, it may be more challenging to remove. You can run a liquid drain cleaner (like Drano or Liquid Plumr) through it first to remove some build-up. Also, consider soaking the cover in a lime-remover or vinegar solution.
  • Don’t forcibly remove your drain cover. If it’s not budging, something isn’t right. If you continue, you may damage the drain cover. Stop, reassess, and try something else.
  • While the steps in this guide are the most common ways to remove drain by type, removal may vary slightly by manufacturer. If you are meeting significant resistance, your drain likely requires an alternate removal method.

Final Thoughts

In most cases, shower drain covers are simple to remove. If there’s a visible screw holding it down, just unscrew it and lift the cover off. If there’s no obvious screw, first, identify the type of drain cover, then follow the step-by-step instructions in this guide.

If you’re dealing with a pesky clog, keep in mind that you can often clear it without removing the drain cover.

Try pouring a liquid clog remover, such as Drano, Liquid Plumr, or Green Gobbler, through the cover and into the drain. I’ve recently published in-depth reviews on each (reviews: Drano, Liquid Plumr, Green Gobbler) and can confidently say that they work and are safe for your pipes.

If you’ve tried everything and your drain cover still won’t budge, don’t force it. Call a local plumber to take a look. You can get free, no-obligation quotes from licensed plumbers in your area on HomeAdvisor.com.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews
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Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s been studying consumer buying behavior for over a decade and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Contact Andrew at [email protected].

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