I have a tub full of water that will not drain. I have a lift and twist drain plug with a cross-hairs (+) strainer in the plug housing. I already removed the plug and haven't been able to get any blockages out close to the strainer and am thinking I need to remove it to fit a snake deeper into the pipes.

Is it safe to remove the strainer/housing? Or would it break the water seal of the draining system and cause water to leak?

  • 2
    The older it is, the less chance it will unscrew easy to prevent leaking. Have you tried a plunger/chemicals?
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 15 at 22:29
  • Sometimes it is easier to take the S bend off under the tub. There could be blocks here. If not, you can try a snake from here. Commented Jan 16 at 0:08
  • Is there a toilet in the room and it is draining OK? Commented Jan 16 at 15:47
  • thanks for the suggestion @crip659, I didn't think to use a plunger but that seemed to do the trick Commented Jan 17 at 0:20
  • @JimStewart, yes the toilet was draining fine Commented Jan 17 at 0:21

1 Answer 1


If you remove the top part of the drain, the water will leak out onto the floor under the tub. The top part showing around the drain clamps the drain underneath and makes a seal.

To get rid of the water in the tub remove water from the tub with a bucket (you can pour it into the toilet), or get a garden hose and siphon the water to outside.

If you had no other choice, you could saw out the cross and remove it to clear an opening for a snake, but then you would make it more difficult to remove the top ring when you want to, but it still can be done with a wrench that grips the inside of the top part of the drain. This cross may be part of the stopper mechanism in some drain types. In other types it is just there to facilitate insertion and removal of the drain from the tub.

Anyway, the tub drain is problematic for introducing a snake because it must make two right angle bends before it would get down into the trap.

Does the tub have an overflow? What is the drain plug type? Is it a lever in the overflow or is the overflow clear?

When using a plunger on this type of stoppage push down gently and pull up vigorously. You want to loosen the blockage by pulling if you can. You might have to put duct tape on the overflow hole to allow the plunger to have suction, or have someone hold a rag on it.

  • 1
    thanks for the tips. The plunger ended up working, but I wish I had seen many of your tips before I did it, because it would have been easier. The tub does have an overflow (no lever). Commented Jan 17 at 0:27

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