3 Ways to Block a Bathtub Drain Without a Plug

Coffee Pod, Plastic bag, and container lid next to a bath drain

You’ve had a tough day and finally have a little time to unwind. A hot bath is just what you need, but your bathtub doesn’t have a working stopper or plug. If you’re wondering how to block a bathtub without a plug, you’re in luck! Fortunately, there are some quick household fixes that can keep your luxurious bath water from draining before you’ve had a chance to soak away your stress. These methods may also work well if you need to know how to stop a sink without a stopper. Try these three temporary solutions to see which one works best for you.

1. Re-purpose an Empty Coffee Pod

Block a bathtub drain with a single-serve coffee cup or small plastic medicine cup. An empty pod (like a Keurig cup) or a 15 ml medicine cup may be just the right size to effectively block the drain. Firmly place the plastic pod or cup into the drain (bottom first) and begin filling the tub to see how well it holds. If it’s just a bit too small, wrap a few thick rubber bands around it to improve the seal.

2. Put a Lid to Good Use

If the coffee pod doesn’t work well—or if you don’t have any pods on hand because you make coffee the old-fashioned way—try a flat jam jar lid or a plastic lid that is large enough to cover the drain hole. Place the lid so that it lies flat on the bottom of the bathtub. Create a stronger seal by dampening the bottom of the lid and pressing firmly as you begin filling the tub. The weight of the water should eventually help keep the lid in place.

3. The Plastic Bag Trick

Create a makeshift drain plug using a washcloth or small sponge inserted into a small plastic bag. Twist a wet washcloth tightly or wet a sponge that has been rolled to fit the drain. Place the cloth or sponge inside a plastic sandwich bag. Squeeze as much air out as you can and zip it closed or use a rubber band to secure it. Stuff the bag into the drain. The material should expand to snugly fill the hole, and the plastic bag will prevent water from escaping down the drain. Alternatively, fill a zipper plastic bag with water, seal it, and place it over the drain.

Or, Hire a Professional to Replace Your Broken or Missing Stopper

Knowing how to block a bathtub drain without a plug or how to stop a sink without a stopper can help in a pinch, but finding a permanent fix will help you avoid future hassles. Picking up a rubber plug at a store is one possibility, but it’s likely that the rubber plug will eventually go AWOL once more, leaving you high and dry all over again. Your best bet is to have a new drain stopper installed by Mr. Rooter® Plumbing—home of your courteous plumbing professionals! Contact your local Mr. Rooter online or call us to find a location near you.

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