How to Block a Bathtub Drain Without a Plug – 10 Easy Ways

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Written by: Mohammad Sameer

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Welcome to a hassle-free solution for your bathtub dilemma! Need to know How to Block a Bathtub Drain Without a Plug? Look no further.

Our step-by-step guide is your ultimate resource, offering eco-friendly alternatives and inventive techniques to keep your drain clog-free.

Discover easy household items that do the trick, catering to all preferences and situations. Whether you’re seeking a quick fix or a sustainable approach, we’ve got you covered.

Say goodbye to worries and hello to a smoothly flowing bathtub experience. Dive into our guide now and unlock the secrets of a stress-free drainage solution!

Reasons to Block a Bathtub Drain

Reasons to Block a Bathtub Drain

There are a few key reasons why you may want to block the drain in your bathtub:

  • To prevent water from draining out when bathing
  • To allow water to accumulate for soaking in a tub without jets
  • To keep small objects from falling down the drain

Blocking the bathtub drain serves some important purposes for many people. The most common reasons are:

  • Children often want to play in the tub with toys. Blocking the drain prevents toys from disappearing down the drain.
  • People like to take long soaks in the bathtub but don’t have a tub with jets. Blocking the drain lets them fill the tub and relax.
  • Toddlers and babies need only a few inches of water to bathe safely. A drain block allows parents to maintain shallow baths.

There are a variety of drain blocks on the market to address these needs. Inflatable stoppers, metal screens, and rubber stoppers are all options to consider. Choosing the right drain block allows for better bathtub enjoyment and safety.

Materials Needed for Bathing

When preparing for a bath, it’s important to gather the right materials and supplies. Having everything you need ready beforehand makes bath time more relaxing and enjoyable.

Some essential items to have on hand include:

  • Towels – You’ll need a few clean towels available for drying off and wrapping up in when you get out of the tub. Make sure they are soft and absorbent.
  • Washcloths – Washcloths are useful for scrubbing and sudsing up with soap and body wash. Have a couple within reach.
  • Rubber stoppers – Stoppers allow you to plug the drain and fill the tub with water. Inflatable or solid rubber stoppers are options.
  • Inflatable bath pillows – An inflatable pillow provides comfortable support for resting your neck and head.
  • Suction cups and holders – Suction items like soap dishes, cup holders, and loofah hangers keep items in place.
  • A plunger – A plunger can quickly unstop a clogged drain if needed.

Preparing these bathing materials ahead of time makes it easy to settle in and unwind in a warm bath. Having the right supplies on hand leads to a more soothing, enjoyable experience.

How to Block a Bathtub Drain Without a Plug: 10 Practical Ways

We’ve all been there – you want to take a nice, relaxing bath but realize there’s no plug to stop the water from draining. While a proper bathtub drain plug is the best solution, sometimes you need a quick fix. there are several household items that can be used in a pinch to block a bathtub drain.

1. Use Plumber’s Putty

A close-up of an anime character's hands applying plumber's putty around a bathtub drain. An anime character using a putty knife to smooth out the plumber's putty around the drain. A bathtub with plumber's putty sealing the drain, preventing water from flowing out.

One of the most effective options is a plumber’s putty. This versatile material can form a watertight seal around drains of any shape or size. To use it:

  • Clean the bathtub drain hole thoroughly and ensure it is free of hair or debris.
  • Roll a ball of plumber’s putty until it is soft and malleable.
  • Press the putty firmly over and into the drain hole, moulding it into the space.
  • Smooth out the putty using your fingers to create a tight seal around the edges of the drain.

Plumber’s putty hardens over time, creating a waterproof barrier that prevents leaks. It can be easily removed later with no damage to the drain. This makes it an ideal temporary or emergency bathtub drain plug.

2. Fashion a Drain Plug from a Toilet Plunger

An anime character hands removing the cup from a toilet plunger. An anime character hands pressing the plunger cup over a bathtub drain. A bathtub with a toilet plunger cup blocking the drain, preventing water from flowing out.

An ordinary toilet plunger can also double as an improvised drain plug. Here’s how:

  • Get a standard toilet plunger with a rounded cup and wooden handle.
  • Press the plunger cup firmly over the drain hole to form a tight seal.
  • Fill the bathtub with water and see if the plunger holds.
  • The wooden handle extending out of the drain hole keeps the plunger in place.

Toilet plungers come with enough force to create suction and stop most drains. Like a plumber’s putty, a plunger can be easily removed after use. Make sure the plunger cup is clean before using it over a drain.

3. Fashion a Plug from Plastic Food Wrap

An anime character hands cutting a piece of plastic food wrap. An anime character hands forming the plastic food wrap into a circle. An anime character hands placing the plastic food wrap over a bathtub drain, preventing water from flowing out.

Plastic food wrap, also known as plastic cling wrap, can be used to create a DIY drain cover. Just follow these steps:

  • Take a large piece of plastic food wrap, about 15 inches square.
  • Place it over the bathtub drain hole.
  • Mold it tightly around and into the drain with your fingers, eliminating any air pockets.
  • Use tape to seal down the edges so it stays in place when you fill the tub.

The plastic wrap creates a waterproof barrier that prevents leakage down the drain. This method may need to be replaced after several uses as the plastic can tear over time. Make sure the plastic fully lines the drain before filling the tub.

4. Drive a Rubber Ball into the Drain

A simple rubber ball, like those used for racquet sports, can be wedged into drain openings to stop water flow.

  • Choose a rubber ball an inch or two larger than your drain diameter.
  • Place the ball over the drain hole and apply steady downward force until it pops into place and seals the opening.
  • Press hard enough to make an airtight seal but avoid puncturing the ball.

The elasticity and waterproof surface of the rubber ball fill the drain space and block water. A ball with some texture provides a better grip. Remove the ball gently after the bath by wriggling from side to side.

5. Plug with a Wine Cork

An anime character hands holding a wine cork over a bathtub drain. An anime character hands hardly pushing the wine cork into the drain. A bathtub with a wine cork blocking the drain, preventing water from flowing out.

The trusty wine cork can be an easy fix for a drain in need of a plug. Here’s how to use it:

  • Select a real cork wine cork rather than a plastic or metal screw-top.
  • Angle the cork diagonally and insert the thin end into the drain hole.
  • Press firmly until the entire cork disappears into the drain. It should fit snugly and block water flow.

The cork naturally expands when wet, increasing its ability to seal out water. Keep pushing the cork in if it begins to dislodge during a bath. This method may eventually break down the cork, but it can work in a pinch.

6. Use an Inflatable Bath Pillow

For a quick and easy plug, look no further than a blow-up bath pillow made from plastic or rubber.

  • Make sure the pillow is completely deflated, then position it over the drain hole.
  • Blow air into the valve until the pillow inflates enough to wedge tightly in the drain.
  • Keep inflating until the pillow creates a waterproof seal around the circumference of the drain.

An inflatable pillow conforms to the unique contours of any bathtub drain. Keep the pillow valve above water to prevent the plug from deflating during use. This method works best for pop-up and lever-style drains.

7. Stuff a Potato into the Drain

An anime character hands cutting a potato in half. An anime character hands stuffing one half of the potato into a bathtub drain. A bathtub with a potato blocking the drain, preventing water from flowing out.

A humble potato can stop a bathtub drain in a pinch. Just follow these steps:

  • Take a large, round potato. Unpeeled is best to increase grip.
  • Jam the potato upright into the drain hole using steady, firm pressure.
  • Push it down as far as possible until snug. The part should protrude from the drain.
  • The potato naturally seals the opening while letting water pass around it slowly.

Potatoes are an all-natural drain plug substitute. The starch released as it disintegrates can also help block water. Just make sure no large pieces break off inside pipes. When finished, scoop out the potato.

8. Seal with Duct Tape

An anime character hands cutting a piece of duct tape. An anime character hands pressing the duct tape over a bathtub drain. A bathtub with duct tape sealing the drain, preventing water from flowing out.

Duct tape provides a quick and easy way to seal off a drain temporarily. Here’s how to apply it:

  • Cut a piece of duct tape larger than the drain diameter.
  • Firmly press it down over the drain hole, eliminating any trapped air or gaps.
  • Run your finger around the edges to secure the tape in place.

The waterproof adhesive seals the drain space. It can be easily removed when no longer needed. Avoid leaving duct tape in place for more than several uses, as the adhesive can wear off over time.

9. Block with a Chimney Balloon

For stubborn drains, a chimney balloon can provide an effective plug. Follow these steps:

  • Insert a deflated chimney balloon into the drain hole.
  • Inflate the balloon through the attached valve until fully expanded.
  • The balloon’s rubber material conforms to the drain space for a custom fit.

Chimney balloons are designed to plug chimney flues and prevent airflow. This also makes them ideal for temporarily sealing drains. Make sure to deflate and remove after use.

10. Call a Plumber to Install a Proper Drain Plug

If you need a more permanent solution, contact a professional plumber to install a proper bathtub drain plug. They can:

  • Determine the appropriate drain plug style and size for your bathtub.
  • Remove your existing drain pipe and install a new drain assembly if needed.
  • Ensure a watertight seal between the plug and drain.

A proper drain plug provides reliable protection against leaks. Investing in professional installation prevents bigger plumbing problems down the road.

What tricks have you used to plug a bathtub drain without a stopper? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments below!

FAQs: How to Block a Bathtub Drain Without a Plug

What can I use instead of a bath plug?

Some good alternatives for a makeshift bathtub drain plug include a tightly rolled-up washcloth, an inflatable bath pillow pressed over the drain, a suction cup plunger, or a rubber stopper from another bath. Anything that seals the drain opening firmly.

How do you make a temporary bath plug?

To temporarily block the drain, you can wedge a plastic food container or the lid from a jar into the opening if it’s about the same diameter. Press down hard so it seals the hole. Plumber’s putty also moulds into place to create a tight DIY plug.

What is the best way to block drain?

The best drainage blockers are inflatable rubber stoppers or durable metal screens that fit snugly into the opening. For temporary blocking, using a suction cup plunger or firmly pressed inflatable pillow creates a good seal.

How do you seal a bathtub drain?

To seal a bathtub drain, press an inflatable rubber stopper or plastic drain cover tightly into the opening. Wedge a suction cup plunger firmly over the hole to create a tight seal. You can also stuff a rag or towel into the opening and pack more material around it.

How can I cover my bathtub?

To cover a bathtub, use a custom-fitted vinyl bathtub cover or a shower curtain liner spread across the length of the tub and weighed down with soft items or bathmats around the edges. You can also insert an inflatable bath pillow into the drain opening to seal it.


mastering the art of blocking a bathtub drain without a plug empowers you with a quick and eco-friendly solution.

Whether it’s for a relaxing soak or a swift shower, these ingenious alternatives ensure your drainage needs are met.

Remember, a tightly sealed plastic bag or a makeshift barrier of silicone caulk can effectively save the day. Embrace these resourceful hacks and bid farewell to any drainage worries.

For more insightful tips and home-hack wonders, explore our diverse range of articles. Elevate your bath-time experience now – innovation is at your fingertips!

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About Mohammad Sameer

My name is Mohammad Sameer, the founder of SoundproofGears. My hypersensitive hearing turned me into a lifelong seeker of silence. After years of research, I've become an expert on soundproofing techniques and materials. In November 2022 I launched this site to share my knowledge and help others find acoustic sanctuary. About More