I'm stuck! Calling the plumbing fairy...
January 29, 2016 1:57 PM   Subscribe

So, I have a shower drain that is not draining properly, and decided to remove the drain cover to see what evils were lurking therein, and remove them. Unfortunately, I cannot remove the drain cover...

It is a standard 3.5 ish inch cover with two screws on opposing sides. After not budging it, I sprayed the screws with WD-40 and let it sit..no dice, so I sprayed again and let it sit again...still no. At this point I have been spraying and struggling for a good part of the afternoon, and am at a loss. Anyone have a good suggestion for unsticking the damn things?
posted by PlantGoddess to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
You might try the rubber band trick to get the screws to engage with the screwdriver.
posted by exogenous at 2:08 PM on January 29, 2016


Should have mentioned - the screws are flat-head type, so the rubber band trick did not work.
posted by PlantGoddess at 2:14 PM on January 29, 2016


Have you tried searching YouTube videos for help? I had almost this exact problem (though I suspect a different type of drain cover) last month, and then I went searching YouTube for help. I had to watch a few in order to find someone working with my exact type of drain cover--but I found one and was eventually successful!
posted by pril at 2:20 PM on January 29, 2016


Tapita tapita. Just one afternoon, you've barely started :-). Light taps. More penetrating oil, time, tap. Careful careful.
posted by sammyo at 2:23 PM on January 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


WD-40 is not actually a great lubricant. Try PB Blaster; it will work them loose. I don't know what's in PB Blaster; I suspect it's some form of Dark Magic in a can. In fact, I don't really understand how it stays in the can at all.

If that doesn't work, you may have to pick up some Easy Outs.
posted by workerant at 2:26 PM on January 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is it a tub with a shower? If so, sometimes it's easier to take the tub overflow cover off and run a snake down the overflow.
posted by gregr at 2:33 PM on January 29, 2016


I've done interim clean outs (through the grating) by taking coat hanger wire and bending one end into a rough corkscrew shape and then the other into a crank handle. The corkscrew end can be threaded through the grate holes, scramble the hair and grease up as far as it'll reach, then run hot, hot water.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:55 PM on January 29, 2016


Once you do get the screws out, throw them in a vice and take a hacksaw to their heads to turn them into phillips head screws.
posted by aniola at 3:02 PM on January 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Once you do get the screws out, throw them in a vice and take a hacksaw to their heads to turn them into phillips head screws.

Or, if you're not mechanically inclined and don't own a vice, take them to your local hardware store and ask if they can find you the exact same size screws, only flat head instead of Phillips'.
posted by zarq at 3:13 PM on January 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


The real trick, once you get the screws out, will be to not drop either one down the drain. Make a conscious effort to carefully place those screws in a container that is not close to the work area.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 3:54 PM on January 29, 2016


Try putting ice on top of the screws. If they get cold enough they may shrink ever so slightly. It may take a few minutes for the cold to penetrate.
posted by Zedcaster at 4:34 PM on January 29, 2016


Ok y'all - sammyo got best answer since the 'tapita, tapita' plus liberal WD40, plus elbow grease and copious amounts of swearing enabled us to remove the screws. We were very careful and did not drop them down the drain :)

I have now removed a ferret-sized clog of hair and gods-know-what, and a couple smaller ones. Have the baking soda and vinegar going as we speak, and water boiling on the stove for the finale (we hope).

Thank you all who weighed in with your suggestions and encouragement!
posted by PlantGoddess at 4:39 PM on January 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Once you do get the screws out, throw them in a vice and take a hacksaw to their heads to turn them into phillips head screws.

This will not turn them into phillips head screws, which have angled recesses such that the point of a phillips screwdriver seats deep into the screw head. This will turn them into slotted screws with an extra slot that a phillips driver will still spin uselessly in, and that a standard screwdriver will be that much more likely to damage. Just get a new set of screws (make sure they're stainless.)
posted by contraption at 5:19 PM on January 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


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