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How To Block a Bathtub Drain Without a Plug?

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Someone said it right, “noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for stress.” There’s nothing as satisfying as plunging into a tub full of hot water after an exhausting day. But things can get pretty frustrating when you don’t find the drain plug, and the water just continuously flows down the drain. 

Since you don’t have a new plug at the moment, you might be wondering how to block a bathtub drain without a plug! You can block the drain with a sturdy container lid or coffee pod. Place the lid or pod over the drain hole, and let it sink in water. The pressure from the water will keep the lid securely in place, and you can enjoy a soothing bath.

How to Block A Bathtub Drain Without A Plug

Don’t have a container lid or coffee pod? Read on as I’ve covered nine easy hacks to block a bathtub drain when you don’t have a plug.

Reasons You Might Need to Block the Drain Without a Plug

There are several reasons you might need to block the bathtub drain in the absence of a plug. Below I’ve explained a few common scenarios:

To Prevent Clogs

Blocking the bathtub drain can help prevent hair, soap scum, and other debris from going down the drain and potentially causing clogs. If you don’t have a plug, such elements seep inside the drain to cause stubborn blockage. 

Fill the Tub with Water

If you want to take a bath but don’t have a plug, blocking the drain is a good alternative that allows you to fill the tub with water, and you don’t need to worry about drain leaks as well. 

To Clean the Drain

Blocking the drain becomes essential you need to clean the drain, as it prevents any cleaning solution from flowing down the drain before it has a chance to work. Since metal drain plugs are prone to damage due to chemicals present in drain cleaners, it’s better to opt for other DIY drain stoppers.

Do You Need a Bathtub Drain Stopper to Block the Bathtub?

No, you do not necessarily need a bathtub drain stopper to block the bathtub. There are several DIY methods that can be used to block a bathtub drain without a plug, such as using duct tape, a plastic bag, a washcloth or rag, or a rubber stopper.

These methods can effectively block the drain and allow you to fill the bathtub with water. However, it’s important to note that using these methods may not provide as tight of a seal as a traditional bathtub drain stopper, which could result in some water leakage or reduced water pressure. Therefore, you can use these hacks until you get a new drain plug.

9 Ways to Block a Bathtub Drain Without a Plug: Temporary Bath Plug DIY Hacks

I lost my bathtub drain plug a month ago and later found my dog had damaged it. Since there was no replacement plug, so I tried several methods to stop the drain without a stopper. 

I’ve tried all the nine methods explained below, and you can be sure that they work:

  1. It’s Time to Put the Old Coffee Pods to Use

    A coffee pod doesn’t just brew you a cup of joe, you can use it to block the bathtub drain as well. Surprisingly the size of the pod is perfect for covering the entire drain, so there is no need to make any alterations.
    Completely empty a coffee capsule and place it over the drain with the hollow side facing the hole. Fill the bathtub with water until it completely submerges the capsule, and you are good to go.

  2. Create a Leak-proof Seal Using Duct Tape

    If some water is leaking from around the coffee pod, you can block the drain using duct tape. To start, tear off a piece of duct tape long enough to cover the drain opening. Place the tape over the drain, making sure to completely cover the opening.
    Press down firmly on the edges of the tape to create a tight seal. Once the tape is in place, fill the bathtub with water to test if the seal is secure. Stand on the tape to squash it inside the drain for a water-tight seal.

  3. Place a Plastic Bag over the Drain

    You might have seen this hack in videos, and it’s time to put it to use. Grab a plastic bag and fill it with water. Place it over the drain, making sure it covers the entire opening.
    Next, press down on the bag to create a tight seal, and then fill the bathtub with water to test the seal. Again, keep in mind that the bag may not provide as tight of a seal as traditional bathtub plugs, so check for any leaks and adjust the bag as necessary.

  4. Use a Plunger to Seal Large Drains

    Bigger bathtub drains require a more effective solution. To use a plunger, empty the bathtub completely, and place the plunger over the drain. Push it down firmly to create a vacuum-tight seal.
    Let the bathtub fill with water, and you can enjoy your bath. Be sure not to step on the plunger while bathing.

  5. Put a Rag Inside the Drain

    A small piece of washrag can effectively block the drain. Take a small cloth and put it inside the bathtub drain. Make sure the cloth fully blocks the drain and there is no escape left for water. Pour some water over it to test the seal, and fill your bathtub for a soothing bath.

  6. Get a Jar Lid of the Same Size as Bathtub Drain

    If you have a metal or plastic jar lid the same size as the drain, you can use it to create a seal. Place the lid upside down over the drain hole, and press it firmly to create a suction effect. Pour some water inside the tub while holding the lid to test the seal.

  7. Seal the Drain Using a Plumber’s Putty

    Do you have an old bathtub that you don’t use anymore? If you know how to use plumber’s putty and you want to keep the pests away from your tub, consider sealing the drain with it. Take a bowl and mix a little amount of putty with water.
    Place a rag over the drain, and apply the mix over it, covering the entire rag. Let it dry for some time, and you’ll have a blocked bathtub drain.

  8. Use a Tennis Ball to Block the Drain

    If there’s anything that perfectly blocks the bathtub drain, it’s none other than a tennis ball. Get a ball and cut it in half, place one piece over the drain covering it properly. Pour some water around the ball, and press it to create a tight seal. Let your bathtub fill with water, and the ball will certainly prevent any leaks.

  9. If Nothing Works, Put Multiple Wine Corks Inside the Drain

    The best thing about wine corks is that they shrink and expand! Put some dry corks into the drain, hammer gently, and fit them properly. Pour some water over the corks so that they expand, and create a leak-proof seal. Let the corks dry, and you can remove them from the drain whenever required.

Tips to Consider While Choosing a DIY Bathtub Stopper

While all the drain-blocking hacks explained in this article work well, it’s important to be aware of the DIY bath plug method you are using. Here are some tips to consider when choosing a DIY bathtub stopper to ensure you don’t end up damaging the tub.

Consider the Materials

Different materials may work better for different methods. For example, a rubber ball may be more effective than a wine cork for some drains. Consider what materials you have on hand and which ones may work best for your particular bathtub drain.

Check for Leaks 

After you’ve created a seal using your DIY bathtub stopper, fill the bathtub with water and check for leaks. If you notice any water escaping, adjust the seal until you have a tight fit.

Test the Water Pressure 

Depending on the method you choose, you may notice a decrease in water pressure. If this is the case, consider adjusting the seal or try a different method.

Be Cautious 

When using any DIY method to block a bathtub drain, be cautious and make sure you’re not causing any damage to your drain or bathtub. Avoid using any materials that could scratch or damage the surface of your tub.


Q: Is it Safe to Use Duct Tape or Plastic Bags to Block the Drain?

A: Yes, using duct tape or plastic bags to block the drain is safe. Just clean the tape’s adhesive properly, and your tub will remain spick and span.

Q: Can a Tub Leak Around the Drain? 

A: Bathtubs can leak around the drain if the drain is not installed properly. You can fix it by using a plumber’s putty around the exterior of the drain. 

Q: Is it better to use a makeshift stopper or purchase a replacement plug for my bathtub?

A: A makeshift stopper can block the bathtub drain, but you shouldn’t use it as a permanent solution. It’s better to purchase a replacement plug if you’ve lost or damaged the existing plug.

Final Thoughts 

Blocking a bathtub drain without a plug is easy, and you know the methods to do it. Always test for leaks before filling the entire tub to later find out the drain is still leaking. Also, clean the tub thoroughly if you use a plumber’s putty and duct tape.

Lastly, order a bathtub plug replacement at the earliest opportunity once you find the existing plug is lost or not working properly. 



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