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How to remove the shower drain cover? Step by step guide

Stepping into the bathroom for a hot shower feels like the best way to relieve stress that has piled up during the day. But imagine coming home to a shower only to find dirty, grimy water floating near your feet. That would be such a bummer. 

A shower drain cover usually stops small objects from falling into the drain. But hair often slips through the drain covers and falls inside. This hair buildup clogs the shower drain, leaving less and less space for the water to drain. Eventually, it forms a pool of dirty water. But fear not, because it is effortless to remove the shower drain cover and remove the clogging. Follow a few steps, and you will go back to having a nice, clean shower without having anything to worry about. 

Identifying the Drain Cover Type 

The first step to unclogging your shower drain is identifying the type of drain cover. There are different styles of shower drain covers, and each of them is attached differently. So if you are not sure what type you are looking at, we will run through some of them quickly, so you are no longer confused. 

These are the different types of shower drain covers – 



This is one of the simplest designs of a shower drain cover. The cover is attached to the drain by a center set screw underneath the top. The setscrew is attached to the center of the drain crossbar. It is also easily identifiable by the small knob on the top of the cap on the cover. The knob is twisted to open and close the cover. You can open it by lifting the knob and twisting it in the opposite direction. Similarly, you can close by turning the knob on the cover till it goes down. 



The design of this drain cover is very similar to the lift-and-turn drain cover. The only difference here is that it uses the push/pull mechanism instead of turning the knob. The knob is pushed downwards to close and pulled upwards to open. It is also attached through a set screw under the cap to the drain. 

Toe-Touch and Pop-Up Drain  

Toe-Touch and Pop-Up Drain 


Pop-Up Drain

As the name suggests, a toe-touch drain cover requires only the movement of the feet to use it. The look and design are similar to the previous two, but this drain cover uses a spring mechanism to work. All you have to do is press your toe on the cover to open or close it. It is fitted to the crossbar of the drain by a screw underneath the cap. 

The pop-up drain is more of a variation of the trip-lever. It uses levers, connecting rods, a rocker arm, and springs to facilitate the opening and closing of the drain. This complex design makes it difficult to remove and clean since one would have to remove all the items involved. This type is also more prone to collecting hair.



This drain cover does not require any tools to be installed and is very easy to use. There is a toggle lever attached to the top. The lever has to be moved side to side to open and close the cover. Some built-in-O-rings hold the cover in place when pushed into the drain. They are fitted well to make sure it becomes a very watertight seal. 



The trip-lever uses a lever situated on the overflow plate in the front of a tub. Instead of a visible pop-up cover, only a strainer is used here as a cover. This drain cover works using a plunger in the tub overflow pipe. The plunger is connected to a trip lever that operates a connecting rod inside the overflow tube. So when the trip lever is down, the plunger lifts to open the drain, and when the trip lever is up, the plunger is down, which closes the drain. 

Now that there is an idea established about the types of drain covers, it is essential to know the necessary tools needed. 

  • Screwdrivers or flathead screwdrivers 
  • Pliers 
  • Bathroom cleaning supplies
  • A replacement for the old drain cover 

All the drain covers have a similar process for their removal, but it is handy to know the exact specifications to remove the different types. So let us head into the critical section of how to remove the different types of shower drain covers

How to remove Lift-and-Turn drain covers?

  • To remove this drain cover, keep rotating the knob to the right till it is detached from the bolt situated in the center of the drain cover. Sometimes, the entire lid has to be turned to make the bolt accessible. 
  • Most of the products use the threaded hole for the bolt as a connection, but some use twist locks to keep the cover in place. To remove this, the lid has to be rotated till it is aligned and then lifted.
  • Using a screwdriver or pliers, unscrew the bolt situated in the threaded hole in the crossbar, and lift the drain cover.

How to remove Push/Pull drain covers?

  • The knob in push/pull covers is usually attached to the lid, but sometimes it can be a separate piece as well. If it is a particular piece, it should be removed to access the bolt. You should turn the knob to the right to reveal the bolt.
  • Use the screwdrivers or pliers to unthread the bolt from the crossbar and lift the cover if there is a separate knob piece.
  • When there is one solid body for the drain cover, it is attached with a bolt to the center of the crossbar to the threaded hole. In this case, to lift the cover, it needs to be turned to the right to unthread the bolt. This is a straightforward process for removal or installation.

How to remove Toe-Touch and Pop-Up drain covers?

  • A toe-touch drain cover has a flat and smooth lid and a circular shape. To remove the drain cover, it first needs to be open, or the lid could be scratched. 
  • Once the cover lid is opened, grasp it and twist to the right. Vertically use force to unthread the lid to see the bolt. 
  • Use a screwdriver or a set of pliers and lift the toe-touch drain cover to clear the clogged part. 
  • The pop-up drain cover is a little complicated to remove. The first step involved is to make sure the plug is open, so flip the lever if needed. This is necessary so that it is easier to access the plug, drain, and rocker arm for removal. 
  • Using your hands or pliers, squeeze the sides of the drain cover and pull it gently in one go. Do not use too much force because you want the plug, rocker arm, and drain cover to be pulled out simultaneously. 
  • Use a screwdriver to remove the screws from the overflow faceplate. To access the lever and rod assembly, take off the overflow faceplate. 
  • Remove the rod assembly with care and ensure each piece comes out without breaking. Use a lubricant spray to loosen the rod and spring if it gets stuck. 

How to remove Flip-it drain covers?

  • This drain cover is one of the easiest to remove. Flip the lever to open the drain, hold it tight, twist, and pull the whole assembly up out of the drain. 

How to remove Trip-lever drain covers?

  • Flip or rotate the lever to open the drain completely. If you try to remove the cover when it is closed, it may get stuck. 
  • To remove the grate from the tub, loosen the screws on the overflow grate using a screwdriver. This will allow access to the drain assembly. 
  • Lift the assembly (including the trip lever, rods, and plunger) carefully and make sure all components are intact. Use a lubricant if you find a plunger getting stuck.

How to remove the Shower Drain Basket?

  • Drain baskets usually have a metal or plastic crossbar. To remove this, use small needle-nose locking pliers. 
  • After clamping and locking the pliers onto the center of the crossbar, twist in a counterclockwise direction ( turn to the right) to open. 
  • You can also use a drain wrench to remove the basket. These are more efficient because they are designed to slide into the crossbars and reduce the risk of scratching or breaking the drain basket. 

Wrapping up

After removing the shower drain cover, clean the debris away using a bathroom cleaning solution. Check for any signs of wear and tear on the cover or the assembly. Make sure to replace the parts or change the cover if needed. Next, clean the drain and drain cover to get rid of the soap, hair, dirt, etc. Reinstall after checking for everything and secure the screws taken out during the process.