How to fix a stuck bathtub stopper?

There are plenty of reasons why your bathtub stopper might be stuck, from debris in the drain to a broken pivot rod. While most of these problems are relatively easy to fix, you should always hire a professional plumber if you’re unsure about what’s causing your stopper to stick. In this article, we’ll walk through some simple fixes for a stuck bathtub stopper and show you how to get your tub working again without expensive service calls.

How to fix a stuck bathtub stopper?

If you are not afraid of a little DIY and have the proper tools and know-how, fixing your stuck bathtub stopper is not as hard or expensive as you might think. You will get some good practice in how to fix a stuck bathtub stopper too! You can easily learn how to fix a stuck bathtub stopper yourself by taking these steps:

Remove the stopper

To remove the stopper, you’ll need to remove the screws that are holding it in place. Most of these are usually found underneath or along the edges of your tub.

After removing these screws, you should be able to slide off your old bathtub stopper and replace it with a new one or just leave it out altogether if you want a less permanent solution. The next step is removing any debris obstructing your drain hole. That’s where all this water is supposed to go!

Clean the pop-up’s pivot rod

The first step is to thoroughly clean the pivot rod. It’s usually made of brass or copper, and it can get dirty over time. The best way to clean this part of your tub is with a toothbrush and some liquid soap. Clean off any excess water with a rag after you’re done cleaning it so the pivot rod is ready for use again.

Clean around the drain opening

You can use a toothbrush, or cotton swab if you have one, to clean the drain opening. This is usually located at the bottom of your tub and will be surrounded by a metal or plastic grate. If there’s no grating, you may need to remove it in order to access what’s underneath. If this is the case, refer back to our previous guide on how to remove bathtub drain grates here: How To Remove A Bathtub Drain Grate

Next use a rag or paper towel and wipe away any soap scum that has accumulated around your drain opening. Then take another rag and wipe down any excess water from inside the overflow tube as well as outside of it (if applicable). Repeat this process for each piece of hardware listed above until everything looks clean and free from debris.

Reinstall the stopper

To reinstall your bathtub stopper, you first need to remove the old one. This is usually done by turning it counterclockwise and pulling it out. Once you’ve removed the old stopper, take a look at its underside to see if there are any obvious signs of damage or corrosion that might have caused it to get stuck. If there are any cracks or leaks in the metal body of the stopper, you can replace just that part instead of replacing everything else.

Once you’ve inspected your new replacement parts and put them through their paces with some hot water (to make sure they work properly), install them into place just as before: turn clockwise until snugly secure but not overly tight; test for leaks; enjoy!


A stuck bathtub stopper is a problem that can happen to anyone at any time. The good news is that it’s an easy fix, and you probably have the tools you need lying around your house right now. If not, they’re easy enough to find at any hardware store.

News Reporter

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