Believe it or not, people get very excited about bathtub stoppers. If they have one that will not completely plug up the drain, they run out of bath water. If they have one they cannot unplug, they end up with a tub of lukewarm water. Many a person in the shower or tub has yanked and pulled and kicked at handles and stopper lids to get some cooperation. That is why it is so important to pick the right stopper in the first place, or to replace it with the right one later.
The history of the bathtub stopper is obscure. In fact the only history of the bathtub itself was later admitted to be a hoax by author H.L. Mencken. However, it may be true that the bathtub originated as little more than "a glorified dishpan," or a wooden tub or barrel a servant had to empty. There was no drain, so there was no need for a bathtub stopper. Once someone got the idea that water could be transported to the bathtub through pipes, and emptied the same way, it became important to figure out a way to plug and unplug it. Wooden plugs and corks were tried, but they tended to swell when wet and become immovable. Rubber solved that problem, and the rubber stoppers that prevailed are still used today. But it wasn't until bathroom plumbing became sophisticated that stoppers became mechanized and operated by levers.
The rubber stopper was and is functional, and that's about it. Not attractive,and not even very durable, the rubber stopper was just about the only choice. The older it got, the dingier it looked. As a rubber stopper tends to accumulate soap scum and mold, it occurs to many bathers that it may be unsanitary. The other drawback? It splits, breaks and gets lost. Thus, the chained rubber stopper was considered quite a breakthrough.
Because stoppers break, get lost, and stop fitting tightly, people always need replacement stoppers. These stop-gap measures may not last long, but they will do in a pinch. Milk-bottle caps can be used and replaced as the water wears them out. Hollow rubber balls can be cut in half, and one half used to plug the drain. Concave side up, of course. Any hardware store will always have a good supply of the standard white saucer-style tub stopper.
The Flip-It plug is a significant breakthrough in replacement tub stoppers. It is simple, it looks shiny and new, and it is an economical alternative to having to fix an expensive built-in drain stopper. And, to having to resort to a moldy rubber plug. It actually works like your built-in tub stopper, except that it opens and closes with one toggle switch. You can flip it with the touch of a toe, without bending or leaning over. It also stops a lot of the hair going down the drain. It also requires no tools for installation. All you have to do is just press it in.
Modern bathrooms and bathtubs are already fitted with tub drains, overflow pipes and built-in plugs. These can be "lift and turn" style stoppers, or those with levers that can be operated easily by hand or even by foot. They feature finishes in shiny or brushed chrome, brass or brushed brass, porcelain, or any finish that matches the rest of the fixtures in the bathroom.
Older homes often need a bathroom renovation, which includes a new drain, plug and overflow pipe for the tub. You can buy one of these for under $20 in PVC pipe. Go online and find one of many video tutorials demonstrating the way to replace these.
There are many standard size tub stoppers to choose from, but if you want to be unique, consider a rubber ducky stopper.
- Photo Credit Flip-It Stopper, Amazon customer review
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