There’s nothing more relaxing than coming home after a long day of work and drawing a nice hot bath—but what do you do if your drain stopper is stuck or not stopping water like it should? The good news is that a faulty drain stopper is often very easy to fix. Here’s what you need to know about DIY bathtub drain stopper repair.


Remove the two screws that secure the trip lever plate to the tub. Be sure to put the screws on the bathroom floor or somewhere safe. This way, they don’t fall down the drain.

  • Grip the trip lever plate and then carefully remove the trip lever and linkage from the overflow.
  • Clean the linkage, rocker arm, and stopper using a mild cleaning solution. If you prefer an all-natural method, vinegar also works.
  • Ensure the drain is free of blockage and debris by flushing it with a solution of boiling water, one cup of baking soda, and one cup of vinegar.
  • Lubricate the rocker arm and stopper, specifically the moving parts. Place both parts into the drain until the stopper is in its closed position. Then lubricate the threads of the linkage.
  • Reinstall the overflow drain.

Depending on the tub, the linkage may need to be adjusted. Loosen the locknut to increase the drain flow rate. If the stopper doesn’t properly seal in the closed position, loosen the locknut, and then turn the lift rod clockwise to tighten it.

Now that you know how to fix a bathtub drain, you can get back to enjoying relaxing baths.