How to Remove Shower Drain Cover

Removing your shower drain is necessary especially if it is worn out, clogged or not working properly. Removing the shower drain is the first step to repairing or replacing it. Drain removal is quite easy and straight forward, with the right tools and cleaners. Here are a few easy and simple steps to help guide you during the whole process.

With the right tools and knowledge, removing the shower drain & its cover is a quick and easy process. First step to identify the type of cover that is installed in your bathroom. After identification all you need is your protective gear, a screwdriver, sharp object or just your hands to pop it off.

The following is detailed guide on how to go about removing different types of covers and the shower drain itself plus safety measures to observe

Assemble the Necessary Tools

After learning the above types of shower drain, you should be able to identify the type of shower drain cover. Here is a list of the tools and materials you need to need to assemble;

  • Screwdriver or a flat head screwdriver
  • Trash can
  • Resealable bag
  • Washcloth
  • Utility knife
  • Spray Lubricant
  • A pair of gloves
  • Needle nose pliers for use on a snap-on drain cover.

Depending on the type of shower drain cover you have, some of the items may be optional.

How to Remove a Screw in Shower Drain Cover

This is the regular shower drain cover; it is flat or relatively concave rarely is it convex. It is said to resemble a tea strainer. This is the most straightforward shower drain cover to remove. It is attached to the shower drain using screws.

  1. While wearing a pair of gloves, start by loosening the screws using the screwdriver. With the palm of your hand, apply pressure on the uppermost part of the screwdriver.
  2. Using your other hand, twist the handle of the screwdriver. Rotate it anticlockwise until the screws come off.
  3. If you have a hard time doing the previous step, then spray a generous amount of lubricant along the lip of the cover. Let it sit for about two minutes before trying it out again.
  4. Once you finish, set all the screws aside in a resealable bag or cup. Insert the screwdriver from the rim of the cover. Pull down on the handle of the screw gently but firmly to pry open.
  5. Sometimes prying of the cover becomes problematic; in such cases, the aid of a hammer is helpful. Tap around the rim of the shower drain to loosen it before trying to pry it open again.
  6. Snoop it away with the use of a screwdriver. Doing this, you leave the drain exposed, any clogs found can be placed in the trash can.

Use the washcloth to cover the drain gate when removing or replacing screws.

How to Remove a Snap-on Shower Drain Cover

  1. You first start by applying a generous amount of lubricant along the shower drains cover while wearing gloves. Let it sit for about 2 minutes for the lubricant to settle in on the threads.
  2. Take the pair of needle-nose pliers and look for any opening on the drain cover and insert it via the whole. Ensure both pointed ends face opposite sides of the drain.
  3. Firmly and securely hold the pliers with one hand per grip and twist it counterclockwise. The more pressure you apply, the faster the adhesive loosens and becomes free.
  4. If the cover doesn’t loosen or come off, add more lubricant to speed up the process. Try to get the cover off again.
  5. Once you have the cover off, go ahead and remove any debris accumulated in the shower drain pipe. Not forgetting to get rid of any soap scup build-up. Scrap away any corrosion around the rim of the shower drain.

The following are other types of shower drain covers and how to remove them.


You do not need any tools for this type of shower drain cover. This is a simple cover; all you have to do is clasp the cover and spin it gently while drawing it out of the drain.


This is a shower drain that opens and shuts when you push of a toe. Though it may seem complex and challenging to remove at a glance, which is the total opposite. Switch the cover to open, then turn in anticlockwise to loosen the cover open.

Pop Up

Similar to the flip-it shower drain cover, this too does not require any tools to remove it. Pull it straight up; if it’s still stuck, try removing it while wiggling it. Other options have the rocker-arm style, in which you uncover the attached arm by flipping it straight up. Then pull horizontally to remove the drain cover.


Firmly holding the stopper body in place and unscrew the top knob counterclockwise using pliers and rag or a rubber grip to prevent scratching. You then unscrew the brass insert beneath with a flat head, then lift the stopper.

Lift-and -Turn

It is often confused with the Push/Pull shower drain cover.  While it is in the open position, lift and look for a set screw. If there’s no screw, then turn it anticlockwise to remove. If you see a small set of screws, then turn it with a flat head until it is loose enough to remove the stopper, not entirely.

Plastic Shower drain Cover
Shower Drain Cover

How to Remove a Shower Drain

After getting the shower drain cover off, the last part is removing the shower drain to replace it or repair it. If you are doing this for the first time, you should not fret; you do not need a professional. With the right tools, cleaners, and guides, it is simple enough.

Bathroom Shower Drain
Shower Drain
  1. The first step is to lubricate your drain. Apply a generous amount of lubricant on your shower drain.  If your drain is old and rusty, it may have a more challenging time coming off after being unscrewed than a new shower drain.
  2. Check out for any clogs in drain your drain before going ahead to try and loosen it. In case your drain has a significant amount of clog, then try removing as much as you can before you open it.
  3. Some shower drains are attached with or without screws. Check if the one you have is attached with, be careful while unscrewing them with the aid of a screwdriver, and set them safely aside.
  4. Insert two nose pliers in each opening both openings on opposite sides of the drain. Handle the pliers firmly and with care so that you do not accidentally dent your drain.
  5. Grab each plier and twist it out counterclockwise until it comes off. If it is still stuck, add more lubricant before trying again. Continue twisting it until it comes off.
  6. The last step is to firmly but carefully lift the shower drain out of the hole, avoid denting it or causing any damage to it. After getting it out, clean any dirt, debris, or clog, then check if it is in good condition or needs fixing.
  7. If the damage is too severe to fix, you can either call a plumber or replace the drain with a new one.

Safety Measures and Tips

Taking precautions is a high priority, as your safety should always come first. You should consider the following series of safety measures for a more productive outcome.

Do your research.

Always check all the pertinent local buildings and codes before starting any plumbing project. Also, be able to tell the difference between what you can handle and what requires a professional. Whenever a project requires a permit, get one.

Shut off the water.

When working with water, always have the water supply off to be safe, as your taps hold back a lot of pressurized water.

Wear safety gear.

  • Wear appropriate safety work gear to protect yourself. Always protect your eyes, wear safety glasses during work. Also, beware of contaminants getting into your eyes, especially when working with something that could damage your eyesight.
  • Protects your hands, and try not to leave skin exposed. While you work, you come in contact with many chemicals and different types of material that could harm or irritate your skin.
  • Protect your lungs from any toxins in the air while working by using a disposable face mask.

Practice tool safety.

Always take precautions whenever you’re working with power tools; always follow the manufacture’s guide on use. Whenever you’re working with heat, always have a heat shield on.

Read labels.

Always have every tool and chemical in use labeled for easy identification; always read their tags to avoid confusion. Always follow the recommendation for use. Check for any warnings or precautions to be taken.

Never ignore the smell of gas.

Do not ignore the smell of gas leak, or if you happen to smell natural gas, stop at once, turn off the gas or call your gas company. Do not attempt to find or fix the gas leak yourself.

Always use a drain lubricant.

The components of a drain lubricant are different from grease or oils as they can clog your drain, instead of loosening out the threads of the drain.

With the above tips and safety precautions, we hope you can remove a shower drain cover safely and with ease. 

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