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How to Block a Bathtub Drain Without a Plug

Have you ever found that you went for a nice, warm, and relaxing shower only to find out later that your plug is broken or you’ve lost it? Well, now your nice shower is ruined. So the next thing that comes to your mind is how to block a bathtub drain without a plug.

Don’t worry. You can still have a nice warm bath even without a plug because, in this article, I will talk about some of the ways you can block the bathtub drain without a plug.

For those who don’t know, a bath plug is a thing that helps to keep your bathtub water from leaking. It does the work by covering the whole of your bathtub drain tightly, and for that, the water can’t leak from the bathtub.

How to Block a Bathtub Drain without a Plug?

Don’t get upset if you can’t find your bathtub plug. Here are some DIY ways that may help you with your problem. So without further a due, let’s get started.

Using A Small Coffee or Medicine Cup

Do you have a single coffee cup lying around that no one uses? Well, you’re in luck because you can use it to cover the drain of your bathtub. A 15 ml plastic medicine cup also does the work just fine.

First, place the bottom of the cup on the drain hole and see if it holds the water by turning the bath tap open. If it doesn’t, you can try wrapping some rubber bands around the cup to add extra weight.

This trick will also be applied if your cup is a little smaller than the drain hole. But if you don’t have an empty coffee or medicine cup, then you can try anything that’s shaped like a cup and won’t dissolve in water.

Using an Empty Jar Lid

How to Block a Bathtub Drain Without a Plug
How to Block a Bathtub Drain Without a Plug

If you can’t find any coffee cup or something like that around your house, you can always try to do the work with a jar lid or a plastic cap that’s large enough to cover the entire hole.

Place the jar lid firmly on top of the hole and dampen the bottom of the lid, and press firmly as you continue to fill the bath with water. The weight of the water will help your jar to stay in its position.

Some people may think that the jar cap will move from its place.  But it depends on how you position it.

How to Stop Bathtub from Draining?

Nothing can compare to the heavenly feeling of socking yourself in a bathtub full of hot water. But you suddenly find out that the warm tub of water is decreasing, and your bathtub is draining like crazy.

It is a sign that your bathtub plug is broken. What would you do in this situation? Well, I have a solution.  Follow these steps to fix your draining bathtub.

Step 1:

The first thing you need to do is remove the stopper’s cover plate. To do that, unscrew all the screws that are holding the plate onto the stopper.

 Step 2:

Now you need to reveal the linkage. To do that, you need to pull the lever towards you and then lift it towards the ceiling.

Step 3:

Next, retrieve the plug or spring of the plug and re-connect that to the end of your linkage using a magnetic tool, but if you don’t have one, you can easily make your magnetic tool by attaching a magnet to a dowel, a piece of string and use it.

 Step 4:

Make sure if all other connections are secured by looking at the linkage. The linkage must hand strait. Also, check if the U-shaped pin that is located on top of the linkage has fallen out. If it has, then it needs to be replaced.

Step 5:

Tweak the length of the linkage by attaching the nut in between the halves of the linkage. If it’s a spring-loaded stopper, then you need to shorten it. If your stopper uses a weighted plug, then it will also need to cut short. You can easily adjust the linkage by turning the nut with pliers.

Step 6:

When you are done adjusting, carefully put the entire thing back into the overflow tube and put the cover plate back into place. Now test if the lever works properly. If not, you need to keep readjusting until it works properly.

How to Keep Water in Bathtub without Stopper?

If none of the ways shown above help you, you can easily get the work done with tape. Here’s how

Tape the drain hole

A really quick solution is to close the hole with tape. Yes, tape. You can use waterproof duct tape to seal the hole. It would be best if you use two or three layers of tape on the hole.

Press the tape to ensure if it’s completely covered the hole. Then, for better results, tape the hole when the tub is dry. If it’s taped perfectly, it should be able to hold the water long enough to complete your bath.

How to Stop Bathtub Overflow Drain?

There are a lot of ways to stop bathtub overflow drain both temporarily and permanently. We are going to see some temporary and permanent ways that you can stop your bathtub overflow.

Using A Bathtub Overflow Drain Cover

Using a bathtub overflow drain cover stop the leaking water problem is a permanent solution. It lasts a long time and is good at doing its job. Most overflow drain cover comes with a hole on top, and this reduces the potential safety hazard. This also adds some extra inches of water level in your tub. Sticking this cover right before showering will get the job done for you. But one thing though, it’s really easy to lose. So you have to keep it in a safe place.

Using A Toilet Plumber

If you have a toilet plumber, you can easily use it to cover your drain hole. But of course, you need to clean it first. Use soap and water to clean it thoroughly. Now you can use it to seal your bathtub drain hole. All you have to do is set it over the hole. Then, press again to seal it completely. After it’s sealed, you can then remove the wooden handle if you want, but you can also place it that way to remove the rubber easily after you are done bathing.

Using plumber’s puttie fix

A plumber’s puttie can help block the drain hole. But this alone can’t help you block the entire hole. If you have a broken plug or some cup that is a little smaller than the hole, you can use them to block the drain of your bathtub.

The process is easy. All you need to do is put some plumber’s puttie all around the drain hole, and then you can put the plug on top of that puttie. This will tightly seal the hole and won’t let the water run leak.

But you have to remove the puttie and the plug to drain the water after your shower. It is a temporary but effective fix for your bathtub drain.

How to close bathtub drain?

In there are many ways available to close the bathtub drain. But all are not convenient. That’s why we give you the here which are more reliable than other ways available on the internet.

Using A Plastic Bag and A Small Towel

You can cover the hole with a plastic bag and a small towel. This process is a little tricky, but worth the effort. It would be a lot easier if you use a sealable bag.

Put the small towel, some small cloth, sponge, or even water in the plastic bag and squeeze all the air out of that bag. If there is air in it, the bag may float in the water. After squeezing all the air out, seal the bag if it’s sealable or tie it at the end with a rope or rubber band or anything that you can find around.

You can also knot the bag, but this way, some air might get into it. After this, you now have something that you can insert into the drain hole. Now all you need to do is cover the drain hole with that plastic bag. If it doesn’t stay in its place, you can try pressing it tightly into the drain hole and slowly fill up the tub. It will stay in its place when the water level is excreting enough weight on the bag.

Some Points to Keep in Mind

The solutions that are listed above are temporary and can be used for urgent times. But it would be best to buy a replacement plug. You can find many types of bathtub plug-in hardware stores.

These hardware stores are often open late, so you can quickly find a replacement plug that would cover your bathtub drain without much effort.

Or best if you could get a drain stopper installed for long-lasting use. It will reduce your tension of losing the plug now and then as many plugs are not very hard to lose.


A bathtub plug is really easy to lose, but when you urgently need to shower, and there is no time to go and buy one, you need to think of an alternative solution to stop that drain hole from draining all your bathtub water.

How to block a bathtub drain without a plug? In this article, we did our best to let you know some popular and easy alternatives that you can follow without much effort and time.

These are all temporary. So next time you go to the hardware store to buy a plug, don’t forget to buy two or three extra for your shower if you lose your shower plug frequently.

John Roussel

John Roussel is an interior décor designer. He has worked with so many clients around the world and has had some of the best ratings. John’s passion on designing and decorating homes began when he was still very young. Since then, he has always sought to understand how to fix homes and make them look better, operate and more efficiently. Today John Roussel focuses more on how to make the bathrooms better for every home. Experience has taught him that the bathroom is the most neglected side of the home and one that tells so much about our lifestyles. You can catch John anytime here or by following his other home décor and maintenance blogs.

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