How to Block a Bathtub Drain Without a Plug

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

When you desire a long, warm, relaxing bath after a hard day of work, a lost, broken, or ill-fitting bath plug or bathtub stopper can be one of life’s greatest frustrations. All you want to do is relax in the tub, but you can’t block a bathtub drain without a plug!

Or can you?

As it turns out, you can. You can create a DIY drain stopper in your bathtub in many ways using household items. Below, we’ll walk you through some of the most common ways to block a bathtub drain without a stopper so you can get back to bathtimes before long.

Method 1: Use An Empty Coffee Pod

You might think your old coffee pods are destined for the trash can or your local recycling center, but they don’t have to be. You can use them as a DIY bathtub drain blocker. Most coffee pods are an ideal size to block bathtub drains.

Take these steps below to learn how to block a bathtub drain with an empty coffee pod:

  1. Place an empty coffee pod open side down over your bathtub’s drain opening
  2. Turn on the bathtub faucet while holding onto the pod to stop it from washing away
  3. Once the tub is partly full, let go of the coffee pod. It should remain in place under pressure from the water.

Don’t have an empty coffee pod? You can also take these steps above with a liquid medicine cup. These can be slightly larger for wider drain openings.

Method 2: Use a Jar Lid

If you have a larger-than-average bathtub drain opening that isn’t compatible with coffee pods and medicine cups, you can use a jar lid. A flat, screw-top lid, such as those from peanut butter jars, is usually suitable!

Take these steps:

  1. Position the jar lid over your bathtub drain
  2. Turn on the water
  3. Hold the jar lid in place until there’s enough water to keep the lid in place

Method 3: Try a Plastic Bag and Sponge

If you’re an avid recycler, you may not have an assortment of jar lids and empty coffee pods lying around your home. Fortunately, lacking these household items doesn’t mean you can’t have that much-needed bath. You can use a plastic bag and a sponge.

Try these steps:

  1. Twist a wet washcloth or sponge and stuff it into a resealable plastic bag
  2. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it
  3. Stuff the bag into the drain, leaving some of the bag hanging around the outer edge. The sponge in the bag should expand to fill the drain opening.

Tip: Put the plastic bag into the drain before you turn on the water. You may then increase your chances of expanding the drain to block it and reduce the risk of losing the bag down your drainpipe!

Why Do Bathtubs Drain On Their Own?

You may not think you need to learn how to block a bathtub drain without a plug because you already have one! But why is your tub still draining on its own? A bathtub that slowly loses water can happen for many reasons:

The Stopper Is Broken

A stopper can look completely fine, but your bathtub losing water can say otherwise. A faulty stopper can go unnoticed until your tub starts to lose water while you’re still in it!

You Have a Damaged Overflow Gasket

Overflow gaskets are metal plates with holes in them that sit close to the upper edges of the tub. If these overflow gaskets are damaged or installed too low, you can lose water out of your bathtub.

You Have the Wrong Drain Stopper

Not all bathtub stoppers are made the same. In fact, visit your local hardware or home goods store, and you’ll notice a large variety of options! Water loss can be expected if your drain plug isn’t matched to your bathtub drain.

Let Mr. Rooter Plumbing Solve Your Drain Plug Problems

While many great temporary DIY fixes exist, they certainly aren’t long-term solutions. After all, who wants to use a jar lid whenever they want to soak in the tub? If you need a more permanent solution, contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing. Our licensed and insured service professionals can provide permanent drain stopper installation services for peace of mind!

Contact us online or call us to find a nearby Mr. Rooter Plumbing. We’re here to help you enjoy long, relaxing soaks in the tub once more!

Why Choose Mr. Rooter Plumbing?