Shower Drain Cover Removal: A Complete Guide to Remove Shower Drain Cover

Discover the ultimate guide to removing your shower drain cover effortlessly. Learn step-by-step techniques and expert tips for Shower Drain Cover Removal in this comprehensive blog.

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Getting into the shower and seeing a clogged shower drain has to be one of the most annoying things you will ever witness. And if you haven’t cleaned a shower drain before, you may start thinking of calling a plumber to fix it.

But what if I tell you shower drain cover removal is a super easy fix, and you can do it yourself? All you have to do is get the necessary tools and figure out the type of shower drain cover you have. Different covers follow different methods of removal.

Fortunately, I will go through all the different types of drain covers and tell you how to remove them. The steps are easy to follow, so let’s get going right into it without wasting any more time.

What are the different types of shower drain covers?

shower drain cover examples

Before diving into the steps and methods, let’s look at some of the most common types of shower drain covers. Here are the 4 different shower drain cover types based on their installation process –

Snap-in shower drain cover

Snap-in shower drain cover examples

Snap-in shower drain covers are one of the most common covers you get to see in shower drains. The working mechanism of this cover is pretty simple.

There are prongs on the bottom of the cover, so when you push it toward your shower drain, the cover snaps in.

Installing or removing shower drain cover is very easy because it doesn’t involve any screws or other critical parts. One drawback with such covers is that removing them too much can make the prongs go bad.

Regular screw-in covers

Regular screw-in cover examples

Screw-in covers are pretty similar to snap-in covers when it comes to looks and functionality. The only difference is that you must screw these covers onto your shower drain instead of simply snapping them in.

You should get the screws packed in with the shower drain covers. Screwing in the covers ensures they don’t move around or come off easily. A drawback with this is that you can’t take them off frequently like the snap-in ones.
With the screw-in shower drain covers, you will often come across the heavy-duty variant. The heavy-duty ones usually have a better build quality with a finishing of the sand casting process on them.

Three-piece drain covers

three piece shower drain cover examples

When it comes to the complexity of installing a shower drain cover, the three-piece covers stay on top of the list. The snap-in and screw-in covers are usually one-piece and involve a straightforward installation.

But the three-piece drain covers have a tricky installation process with all the different parts involved in it. That’s why relying on a professional to install the three-piece drain covers is better.

Even though there is the drawback of installation difficulty, there are some benefits of such kind of covers as well. These drain covers can help you avoid damaging the subfloor beneath the shower. They also protect tiled showers from damage.

As for the characteristics, these shower drains come in three parts and tend to have screws in them. The screws keep the three parts attached together.

Removable covers

removable shower drain cover examples

Lastly, you will come across the removable covers, which are the easiest to install and remove. They function the same as the other snap-in or screw-in drain covers, but you don’t have to do anything to install them.

You just place the cover wherever your shower drain is, and that’s it. These covers can keep out the things that can clog up the drain for the most part. The only issue with such covers is that they don’t stay in place and can move around a lot.

Well, I consider these 4 the most basic shower drain covers you can get. The rest you find out there are just different variants of these 4 styles.

Shower Drain Cover Removal: Tools You May Need in The Process

shower drain cover removal tools

Now, let’s get down to the actual process of removing shower drain cover. Regardless of what type of shower drain cover you have, there are some basic tools that you will need in the process. Let’s check those out first, and then we can move on to the steps of removing it –

  • Pliers or wrench
  • Flathead/Philiphead Screwdrivers (appropriate sizes)
  • Lubricant spray
  • Utility knife

As you can see, these are some basic tools every household has. Although, the tools you need will mostly depend on what kind of shower drain cover you have. Just ensure you get all the shower drain cover removal tools ready.

Once you have all the tools, you can start the process.

How to Remove a Shower Drain Cover? Step-by-step Guide

Here, I will take you through all the steps to remove shower drain cover all by yourself. Let’s get going with it.

Step 1- Determine shower drain covers

The first step is to find out what kind of shower drain cover you have in your house. Check that out from the previous section, where I discussed the different types of shower drain covers based on installation. You can easily see which one meets the characteristics of your shower drain.

Step 2- Organize tools need in the process

In the next step, you have to organize the tools based on the shower drain cover type. For example, a screwdriver is a must-have tool if you have a screw-in shower drain. Or if you have a snap-in cover, then you need a plier instead of a screwdriver.

Step 3- Remove anything blocking the shower drain

Before removing the shower drain cover, you must remove the junk blocking the drain. Things like hair buildup, soap scum, or even debris can accumulate on the shower drain cover and cause it to clog up. You can simply remove those with your hands.

Step 4- Get the tool and start removing the cover

After the pathway is clean, you can access the cover with your tool. As I said, the tool will depend on your shower drain cover type. If you see screws on the cover, you just take your screwdriver and remove the screws.
If there are no screws, then it’s most likely a snap-in or removable shower drain cover. In that case, you will need to use the plier and put it through the hole, then pull it up until it pops open. You may need to pry open the removable shower covers in some cases.

Step 5- Lubricate the drain covers to loosen them up

Sometimes the shower drain cover can get jammed and doesn’t come off. That’s where you will need to use a lubricant spray like WD-40 to loosen up the edges of the shower drain cover. Then, you can easily remove the covers using your tool.

Step 6- Remove the cover from the drain cover

Finally, you can use the appropriate tool, whether pliers or screwdrivers, to remove old shower drain cover.

However, the cover can still get stuck due to build-up debris or hair stuck on the cover. To remove the debris, you can use a utility knife to cut down the debris and remove the cover from your shower drain.

Step 7- Clean the cover off and keep it separate

After you remove drain cover from shower, you can clean it up before you move on to unclogging your shower drain further. There is no right way to clean it, but I recommend cleaning the cover with bleach if you see a lot of debris.

Following these 7 steps should be enough to set you up to remove drain cover in shower. These are the basic steps for the process, but if you want a more specific guideline, then follow along.

Below, I will go through how you can take off shower drain cover for specific types of covers.

How Do You Remove a Shower Drain Cover Without Screws

A shower drain cover without screws is probably a snap-in or removable shower drain cover. For these shower drain covers, you will need a utility knife, a flathead screwdriver, a plier, or two pliers.

If it’s a snap-in shower drain, then you have to put some lubricant around the edges of the cover to loosen it up. Then, use the pliers to grab onto the shower drain cover through the holes.

Simply pull up the cover, and it should come off. In case of any stuck hair or debris, you can cut them off using a utility knife.

For removable shower drain covers, you have to use a utility knife or a flathead screwdriver to fit in the slots. Then, you just pry open the drain cover accordingly. Usually, a bit of lubricant spray can make the job easier.

Check out this video for a better understanding –

How Do You Remove a Shower Drain Cover with Screws

removing a shower drain cover with screws

Well, I don’t need to explain this too much, right? When your shower drain cover has screws, you simply use a screwdriver and remove the screws. If the shower drain cover feels too tight, you can still use the lubricant spray here.

While using the screwdrivers, you must check whether the shower drain cover has Philip screws or flat screws.

Take a screwdriver based on the screw type, unscrew shower drain and that’s pretty much it.
Once you remove the screws, you can use a utility knife or a flathead screwdriver to pull up the cover.

How to Remove Flat Shower Drain Cover

Removing a flat shower drain cover is very easy. You just have to take a screwdriver or a utility knife and pry open the drain cover from the sealant. You may need to cut it out from the caulk to remove the cover properly.

How to Remove Shower Drain Grate

To remove a shower drain grate, you have to first remove all the caulk around it. Just take a utility knife and cut the caulk around the shower drain grate. Once you have cut all the caulk, the shower drain grate should come off on its own. Then, simply take it out with a plier or your hands. How to Clean a Shower Drain That Can’t Be Removed
Sometimes you may have this problem where your shower drain cover won’t come off. When that happens, you just have to rely on methods that help you clean the shower drain without removing the drain cover.
There are multiple ways to do it. One of the best natural shower drain cleaners is a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Mix them at a 1:1 ratio and pour them through the shower drain. Wait about 10 to 15 minutes, and pour some boiling water through the drain.
If you still feel the shower drain is clogged, I recommend calling a plumber to clean it.

How to Remove Shower Drain Flange

Removing a shower drain flange can be very troublesome because you have to access the drain flange from the bottom part of the shower. And sometimes, you may need to cut a hole in the subfloor to access it.
Once you get access to the flange, all you have to do is take a wrench and loosen the top end of the shower drain flange. The shower drain flange should start coming off when you loosen it up.

How to Remove Twist Shower Drain

Removing a twist shower drain is pretty simple to do. You just twist the knob of the shower drain in a counter-clockwise direction. It should come off automatically after that. If it doesn’t come off, then there should be a screw somewhere on the knob. Just loosen the screw, and it will come off.

How to Remove Pop-Up Shower Drain

Pop-up shower drain covers are one of the easiest covers to use and remove. When you tap on the drain covers they open up and with one more tap they close.
To remove such a cover, you just need to have a flathead screwdriver. Now, get the shower drain cover to an open position and twist the lid to remove it. Then, you will see a screw under the lid, simply take off the screw.
Once the screw is out, the cover will come out as well.

Important Questions About Shower Drain Cover Removal You Need to Know!

Now, I will answer some of the most common questions people ask about shower drain covers. Check them out because they might also answer some questions lingering in your mind as well.

What does a shower drain cover do?

A shower drain cover ensures that no large object, soap scum, hairs, debris can go through the drain pipe to clog it up. The cover protects the drain from all sorts of things that can block the shower drain system.

Can I replace my shower drain cover?

Yes, it’s very easy to replace a shower drain cover. All you need to do is, remove the old shower drain cover, buy a new one with similar measurements, and install it. The installation and removal will depend on your shower drain cover type.

What size shower drain cover do I need?

To get the perfect size, you can measure the shower drain. Just take a measuring tape and measure from the center of one screw to the other screw for a screw-in cover. For snap-in covers, you measure the furthest points of the cover and get a size.

What is the standard shower drain cover size?

Most of the time, the standard shower drain cover size is around 4.5 inches. Typically, it stays between 3.5 inches to 5 inches for most shower drain covers.

What size PVC is used for shower drain?

The PVC used for a shower drain is usually 2-inches. The measurement can go somewhere around 1.5 inches for a bathroom vanity or a tub.


There you go, now you won’t have to suffer from that disgusting shower clog of yours anymore. You can easily follow the steps and methods I discussed and remove the shower drain cover to access your shower drain and clean it. 

Still, if you feel like this sounds confusing or are not confident enough, you can call a professional to get the job done. Of course, it’s the safest way to go about this problem.

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