How to Use a Tub Drain Key


If you ever need to snake out a tub drain, you won't get very far as long as the drain and grate are in place in the tub. To remove this fixture, use a tool called a bathtub drain key. These devices fit inside the tub drain and grip on the grate inside. This makes removing the bathtub drain, which can be quite difficult, into a relatively simple operation.

Things You'll Need

  • Bathtub drain key
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Rag
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Nylon brush
  • Remove the stopper from the tub drain. How exactly you need to do this will depend on the type of drain stopper in place. A toe tap type can be removed by extending the drain and rotating it counterclockwise, while a lift and turn type can be removed by unscrewing the handle on top and pulling out the stopper.

  • Clean out any debris inside of the drain that may be clogging up the grate. Use a rag and bathroom cleaner to wipe up any mold, mildew or soap debris in the drain that might cause the drain key to slip. Pick out any hair with a nylon brush.

  • Insert the notched end of the drain key into the bathtub drain opening. Slowly rotate the drain key until you feel it lock into place on the bathtub drain grate.

  • Slip an adjustable wrench over the end of the key and tighten.

  • Turn the wrench and key counterclockwise until you feel the drain flange start to move in the drain opening.

  • Continue turning the wrench and the drain until it comes out of the tub.

Tips & Warnings

  • It may help to spray penetrating lubricant on the drain and let this soak in for 15 minutes before trying to remove the drain.

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