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Cleaning a Pop-Up Tub Drain

Project Overview

Cleaning a Pop-Up Tub Drain

To fix a tub that doesn't drain properly, first identify what type of drain you have. If the drain hole features a metal plug that goes up and down, it's a pop-up type. Pop-up tub drains are a bit complex as far as household drains go. They have moving mechanical parts that sometimes need to be cleaned and adjusted so that the tub drains properly. You'll need to take these parts out, clean them, perform a few minor adjustments, then put it all back together. It's not too difficult.

3 Steps

  1. Remove Stopper and Rocker Arm Assembly
  2. Remove Cover Plate, Trip Lever & Linkage
  3. Adjust the Drain Flow and Fix Any Leaks
Remove Stopper and Rocker Arm Assembly

Step 1

Remove Stopper and Rocker Arm Assembly

Flip the lever to the full open position and carefully pull the stopper and rocker arm assembly from the drain opening. Use a small wire brush to clean off the debris you find.

Remove Cover Plate, Trip Lever & Linkage

Step 2

Remove Cover Plate, Trip Lever & Linkage

Remove the screws from the cover plate and pull it, the trip lever and linkage from the overflow drain. Remove hair and debris, and remove any corrosion with a small wire brush and vinegar. Lubricate the linkage with heatproof grease.

Adjust the Drain Flow and Fix Any Leaks

Step 3

Adjust the Drain Flow and Fix Any Leaks

Adjust the drain flow and fix any leaks by adjusting the linkage. To do this, loosen the locknut on the threaded lift rod and screw the lift rod up about 1/8 inch. Tighten the locknut and reinstall everything, in reverse order.

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Project Details

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 1 hour

Before you start, read this »

Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, The Home Depot® assumes no responsibility for any damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of attempting to replicate any of the home improvement ideas portrayed in this website Before beginning any home improvement project, review it thoroughly to ensure you or your contractor can finish the project and if any doubts or questions remain, consult local experts or authorities. Because codes and regulations vary greatly, you always should check with authorities to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and observe all of the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.


  • Vinegar
  • Heatproof grease

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