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How to Plug a Drain Without a Plug [5 Working Methods]

It’s quite frustrating to have a broken drain plug in your shower.

Especially when you are about to take a bath, it can be very troublesome. There are plenty of temporary fixes to this problem.

How to plug a drain without a plug?

A small plastic cup is one of the simplest ways while being very effective. A plumber’s putty can solve the problem too even though it’s a one-time solution. There’s another known method that’s washcloth inside a plastic bag. Taping the drain with two layers of protection can solve this problem too.

Interested to know the details? We’ve just accumulated all these methods in a detailed manner underneath.

Let’s dive right into the details!

How Does a Drain Plug Work?

A drain plug simply prevents the water from going down the drain. They use a simple method of blocking the drain by covering it. It forms a tight seal around the drain, preventing water from flowing out.

There are several sorts of plugs in various sizes and forms. They’re also made of a variety of materials. But, in the end, they all do the same thing.

Normally they are attached to a metal chain that is used to pull out the plug. Mostly the plugs made of rubber are the most durable and work the best.

But after a period of time, they can lose their temper and eventually get broken. You might need a temporary solution to this when you come across such an instance.

If the toilet leaks at the base while draining the water, there may be other problems. So you may need to address that before trying to plug the drain hole.

So, let’s check out the methods you can use to plug your drain without a plug.

Method 1: Plastic Cup

A small plastic cup can be used to plug the drain. A medicine cup works well too. Have a cup lying around? Pick it up and give it a try. If the cup can’t hold the water then tie up some rubber bands around.

The cup should be nicely fitted in the drain entrance. So, find the cup of the right size. A coffee pod may also work fine. 

Any object that’s similar to a plastic cup can be used to plug the drain. A good example of it is a bottle cap.

Put a bottle cap that can be placed inside or on top of the drain. It’ll block the drain and it should work as a fine alternative to the drain plug. You may need to replace the drain itself if it’s faulty, otherwise, it won’t work.

Method 2: Toilet Plunger

A toilet plunger can serve this purpose very well. But before using it you need to clean the rubber side of the plunger with soap.

After you are done cleaning, place the plunger over the drain hole. Press it down to create a seal. Because of the suction, the plunger will be stuck and act as a drain plug.

Remove the wooden handle if you don’t want it bothering you while you bathe.

Method 3: Plumbers Putty

This approach is ideal for bathtub plugs that have failed gaskets and are no longer sealing properly. Using a plumber’s putty provides a temporary repair until the seal or plug can be replaced completely.

Professional plumbers use this putty to prevent leaks in sewers and other fixtures. It’s also often used in filling the gap between tile and bathtub.

Take a small amount of plumber’s putty and roll it into a long spiral shape in your palms. It should be wide enough to completely surround the drain in your bathtub.

Then, using the putty, line the hole around the drain by lifting up your plug or pop-up drain.

You should now have a solid seal by closing the drain stopper over the putty. But remember that this is a one-time fix. Because you will have to remove the putty when you want to drain the water.

Method 4: Washcloth Trick with a Plastic Bag

First, insert small pieces of washcloth or sponges in a plastic bag. It can be a ziplock plastic bag as well. After filling it up with the small pieces, damp the washcloths or sponges inside. After they are wet squeeze out as much air as possible.

Tie the plastic bag with a rubber band. Make sure there isn’t enough air inside to make the plastic bag float. Place the bag down the drain.

The material should stretch to fill the hole securely, and the plastic bag will keep water out of the drain. You can also fill a zipper plastic bag with water and use it as an alternative.

Method 5: Taping the Drain

Tape is another alternative option for plugging a shower drain that doesn’t have a plug. Waterproof duct tape is an ideal choice for this procedure. Be sure not to use electrical tape instead of duct tape.

Here are some recommended duct tapes you can use:

Product 1
Product 2

Now that you have your duct tape in hand, let’s go through the procedure.

Cover the plughole with a double layer of tape. Ensure that it can resist enough water to allow you to take a bath.

When the tub is entirely dry, seal the drain hole for the greatest results. To guarantee that the tape is securely binding and forming a sufficient seal, press it down hard.

In an emergency, this approach can work well, but the tape may well be hard to remove once the water is drained. The situation is kind of like using a bed without box spring.


What else can I use to plug a drain without a plug?

Answer: There are a few more options you can use. A same-sized jar lid or a marine drain twist plug can be used. Fishermen commonly have a marine drain twist.

Is there a chance to block my drain by trying these methods?

Answer: Yes. If the drain hole is without any filter then you have the risk of blocking your drain. So be very careful before trying anything out.

Where can I find a new plug?

Answer: A new plug can be found in any online store or any local hardware store. It’s very cheap and accessible. But be sure to buy the one that fits your drain.


That’s all from our side on how to plug a drain without a plug. We hope that you were able to plug your bathroom’s drain hole. 

Remember, if you are still confused, don’t hesitate to call a plumber. Be careful not to damage anything while you try different methods.

Good luck!