The tub that this connects to drains slowly. I've snaked it from the tub and the overflow but not found anything. I think I need to open this cleanout but it hasn't been opened in at least 18 years (before I bought the house). I'm thinking apply penetrating oil, wait, use a 1.5" box wrench.

Tub drain and cleanout

I took the advice to use a second wrench to hold back the cleanout but the cleanout is tight against a double 2x4 so I can't get the pipe wrench around the body of the cleanout. I put it over the exit hoping that was good enough.

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But the 15-degree offset box wrench I have won't sit securely on the top of the cleanout. The "nut" is 3-4" below the floor level so the wrench head is still not level with the top. I don't think there is room to put the box wrench completely in the hole. It might work if the wrench wasn't offset. And I might be able to keep the box wrench down with a third hand but I don't have room for a second body in the closet where I have to work.

  • 1
    With plumbing, you want one wrench for turning and usually one wrench for holding. With just one wrench, a person's eyes are usually only looking if the nut turns. If the nut turns or not, is not the important thing to look at. You must keep your eyes on the pipe/joints making sure they do not turn/move. Tapping(adding vibration) after applying penetrating oil might help/old wives tale.
    – crip659
    Commented Apr 8 at 17:41
  • I think I have seen wrenches/sockets sized to fit these and reach recessed fittings -- something like a hexagonal tube with a crossbar handle? Might be worth taking this photo into a real plumbers' supply house, explaining the problem, and asking if they have something which would help and is affordable. It it's too expensive, if course, you can just call a pro, make it Someone Else's Problem, and watch what they do in case you ever have to repeat it. Which tends to be my approach with most drain pipe problems, I must admit; just not a task I really want to deal with unless I must.
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 13 at 14:57
  • Thanks. keshlam. I googled "1.5" socket" and found one at Auto Zone. It's 1/2" drive so I had to borrow my son-on-law's wrench but I'm about to try it. Fingers crossed. Commented Apr 14 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


Those drum traps are definitely tough to get off sometimes, but you will not be able to unplug the tub unless you get it off. Like the previous comment says, make sure you hold back with a second wrench while you're trying to unscrew it. One wrench on the plug in the top and one wrench (possibly a pipe wrench) on the drum section so you are not putting any stress on any of the joints.

  • I ultimately gave up. Couldn't budge the top of the clean out. I tried taking the overflow pipe off so I had more direct access to the drap and clean out but couldn't get a snake to make the turn up into the clean out. If I get inspired again, I might try heating the top with a torch and then letting it cool in the hopes that expanding and shrinking will break the seal. But I'm not in a hurry to do that. Commented Apr 24 at 22:30

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