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We have a bathtub that has a push pull drain stopper, and I need to clean out some gunk. The problem is that I can't get the stopper out of the drain. I (finally) got the top knob removed, and I read that there could be a screw to loosen. Unfortunately, there is no screw, and when I raise and lower the stopper, whatever the stopper is attached to also raises and lowers. The stopper raises only enough to barely slip a pair of needle-nose pliers underneath the stopper and feel the shaft in the middle, so I can't see what's underneath.

It seems that most of the videos I can find are for lift-and-turn stoppers, and the videos for a push-pull stopper have a screw to loosen under the knob. Any suggestions?

The hole has a diameter of approx. 1/4", and the depth from the top edge of the stopper to the center is about 3/8".

stuck stopper

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  • The best solution might be to spin the entire assembly out and replace it. You can buy just that portion of the drain system. Thread the new one in with a few wraps of teflon tape and be happy.
    – isherwood
    Dec 29, 2015 at 15:39
  • Sad to say but I can't get any kind of tool down to remove the drain basket.
    – unkfrank
    Dec 30, 2015 at 1:00

2 Answers 2

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I had a drain in my tub very much like yours, never found a way to remove the stopper. So I can't answer that portion of your question.

However, to remove the gunk/hair that continually clogged the drain, I found the plastic drain sticks to work really well. I just snaked one around for a few minutes, pulling up some really nasty clumps of hair and other detritus.

The "good news" is that now that the tub is 20 years old, the mechanism rusted out and I can finally remove the stopper.

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  • Thanks for the reminder... I had seen those drain sticks while I was out looking for help, but forgot to get some. Sounds like my best bet for the time being
    – unkfrank
    Dec 30, 2015 at 1:04
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I'm pretty sure mine is similar, as it looked exactly the same on the top. Obviously I can't guarantee that yours is the same as mine, but I did notice no guides online for the style of push-pull/lift-turn I have. So be careful when you try to determine if you have the same or similar drain. I ended up just needing to turn left. Sometimes if you tighten the top thumb screw, you can then just turn left from the thumb screw itself.

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Also sorry about the GIFs, StackExchange only allows a 2MiB upload so I had to drastically reduce the quality and break the upload into parts.

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    If you can get it to pop up, you can grip the edge of the stopper itself and unscrew CCW. You don't need to thread in that little knob and grip the knob. That little knob seems unnecessary to the operation of this type of drain. Worse, it projects up and interferes with placing a bucket under the spout. Mar 26 at 11:37
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    @JimStewart, yes that would work. The problem is that the stopper is actually hard to grip properly. The other minor concern I had was possibly damaging the coating if I was to use a tool like pliers. I ended up just slightly tightening the thumb screw (knob) clockwise, so that when I turned counterclockwise it unscrewed the stopper instead of the thumb screw (knob). If the stopper is really stuck on there the method you suggested would be safer. As I mentioned prior, please confirm you have the same exact stopper design to prevent damage. Mar 26 at 17:26
  • The little knob probably does have a purpose. It may well be that the drain plug is opened by pulling up on the knob. The pop-up drains I am familiar with are smooth on top and are opened by pressing down momentarily to release a catch and then they spring up. But a different mechanism might be one in which one presses down to close and pulls up to open Mar 26 at 17:55

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