In our work day travels “All About the Pipes” is on occasion asked why bathtub drain stoppers get stuck. We must admit that we run into that situation fairly regularly, particularly in older homes. We found that there are two main reasons for drain stoppers to fail.
The most common reason is that the stopper mechanism has been subjected to years of soap grime and residue that impedes the action of the stopper arm mechanism. The residue crust settles in the nooks and crannies of the mechanical device so that a positive opening or closure is virtually impossible. The solution is to remove the grime. How do we do it?
Usually we remove the plate cover where the lever is located. The lever is what you manually push or pull up or down to open or shut the drain. When you remove the plate you will see the apparatus that operates the drain. Get your hands on a long handled bottle or tube brush. Then scrub and scrape the device until all signs of soap residue are gone. Give the mechanism a quick blast of water to wash away the crud. Test the operation, then give it a squirt of WD 40. Your sticky stopper should function as a stopper should.
In case the brush trick doesn’t work, that may be an indication that the inner workings of your stopper hardware have worn out. After years of service and friction, that is a distinct possibility. If your tub stopper hardware is somewhat current, you may be able to locate parts that will replace the broken pieces. If you have a tub that is quite old, other arrangements might be in order. A piece might have to be fabricated and improvised. In that situation, we recommend that you call All About The Pipes Plumbing Inc.
We can determine if the drain stopper can be repaired or replaced.