How to Make a DIY Bathtub Plug

We’ve all been there – ready for a relaxing soak in the tub, only to realize that the bathtub plug is nowhere to be found. Whether it’s mysteriously disappeared or you simply forgot to replace it after cleaning, (or in my case- the dog used it as a chew toy) the absence of a plug can be a real damper on your plans for a soothing bath. Fear not! In this DIY guide, we’ll show you how to craft your own bathtub plug using common household items. Get ready to seal the deal and enjoy your well-deserved bath until you get a new drain stopper. We tested out everything method we could think of to make a DIY bath stopper. Here’s what worked and what went down the drain.

Since you have stumbled onto this page because your bathtub drain plug has gone awol, may we suggest you order a new rubber stopper right now? This one is top rated on Amazon. Just pick out the right size type of stopper and you‘ll be back on your way to a watertight seal without having to set foot in your local hardware stores.

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How to Plug a Bathtub Drain with a Plug: Temporary Fixes

Waterproof Duct Tape

Of all the methods we tried, duct tape worked the best. Make sure the bath tub is completely dry and place pieces of duct tape over the hole. Smooth it firmly into place and then fill the bathtub up like normal. If you don’t have duct tape on hand – keep reading, we have more ideas below.

Washcloth Method

Using a wet washcloth to plug a drain can be an effective way to make a makeshift drain plug for a minor blockage or if you need to stop water from draining temporarily. Take a washcloth (a small sponge will also work)  and saturate it with water. Press it into the hole to plug it, and fill the tub like normal. The water will still slowly leak out but depending on how long you need the tub filled for this can work for a short time. Alternatively you can take the washcloth, wet it, put it in a plastic bag like a ziplock bag  or an old bread bag secured with a rubber band and stick it into the drain hole. 

Plastic Bag Method

Fill a ziplock bag with water. Place it on top of the drain hole and fill the tub up with water. The bag of water will create a seal which prevents the water from draining. This method is one of the better temporary solutions for clogging the bath drain but it will still leak. 

Plastic Cup

Use a plastic or styrofoam cup and place it face down with the mouth of the cup over the drain. As the water starts to fill up it will create a vacuum and seal the drain opening. Keep in mind that the weight of the water on the plastic cup can warp the cup or even break it if it is styrofoam. This will break the seal and allow the hot water to start draining.

DIY Bathtub Stopper Ideas to Avoid

Toilet Plunger

The rubber end of the plunger will definitely create a water tight seal but unless you have a brand new, never been used plunger then then this is not a good idea. Obviously toilet plungers are full of nasty germs that you don’t want to invite into your relaxing bath. 

Empty single use coffee pod for plugging a drain.

Single-Serve Coffee Pod

An empty single-serve pod seems like it would be the ideal size and shape to use as a one-time solution for a bath plug, unfortunately if the Keurig cup is used it will have a small hole in the bottom that will allow the water to drain through. If you take an empty coffee pod that has never been used that you removed the contents from yourself and cleaned out it will work better as a DIY bath plug 

Plastic lid covering a drain hole in a bathtub.

Plastic Lid

A plastic lid seems like it would be one of the better alternative bath plugs but unless you have something weighing it down to create a seal it will just float up once you start adding water. A flat jam jar lid works slightly better but again you will need something to weigh it down. Even if you do have something to weight it down it is very easy to accidentally bump it and then the water will start draining from the bottom of the lid. 

No bathtub plug? No problem! With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can fashion a DIY bathtub plug using items you probably already have at home. With a few quick fixes, you’ll be back to enjoying a good soak in a hot bath again in no time. So, run to your pantry and experiment making your own bathtub plug today.

How to Fix a Broken Bathtub Stopper

If your bathtub stopper is ripped, torn or has a hole in it that is causing the water to leak it you may be able to fix it.

  1. Clean and dry the plastic stopper to the best of your ability.
  2. Place it on a piece of plastic wrap, wax paper or a Ziplock bag while you work and when it is drying.
  3. Use a small amount of silicone caulking to fill holes or repair tears in the drain stopper.
  4. Let sit for 24 hours before you attempt to use it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you fix a pop up bath tub drain stopper?

Learn how to remove, fix and replace your drain stopper here.

Can you replace a pop up drain stopper with a normal plug?

Standard bath plugs measure about 1-3/4 inch (44.5mm) diameter and suit the hole in a 1-1/2 inch. If your original bath plug is a pop-up type, be careful with the replacement as pop-up plugs are often a non standard size.

Are all bath tub plugs the same size?

No, bathtub drains can vary in size from 1.5 inches to 4 inches and every size in between. Before you purchase a new one measure the drain hole to avoid buying the wrong size.

Why does my bath plug keep popping out?

Check that the rubber seal around the stopper hasn’t deteriorated. If it has, take it to a plumbers’ merchant for replacement. Otherwise, it may be that the stopper is not dropping fully into the drain

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