How to Replace a Main Drain Clean-out Plug

gloved hands opening drain clean out plug with hair clog
  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 25-75
What You'll Need
New clean-out plug
Penetrating oil
Large adjustable wrench
Pipe joint compound
Old toothbrush or wire brush

If you have an old sewer clean-out plug that you want to replace, you will need to know how to properly remove the old plug and install the new one. This DIY task can be done in a few minutes in most cases. Here's what you need to do.

Step 1 - Remove the Old Clean-Out Plug

You'll need to remove the old clean-out plug. Sometimes, you can use an adjustable wrench to loosen the clean-out plug-in and remove it. However, if the clean-out plug has not been removed for a long period of time, then you might find it difficult to remove with a wrench. In this case, apply some penetrating oil to the clean-out plug and ensure that some of the oil goes down into the threaded area of the plug.

Allow the penetrating oil to set for about 30 minutes and then try again. If you're still not able to remove the clean-out plug, you might want to call a plumber. Or, you could try using a hammer and chisel to break out the clean-out plug.

Step 2 - Clean Clean-Out Threaded Opening

Take an old toothbrush (for PVC pipe) or wire brush (for metal pipe) and clean the female adapter on the pipe fitting. Use the brush to remove any dry pipe compound that may obstruct the installation of the new plug.

Step 3 - Apply Pipe Compound to New Plug

Apply pipe compound or solvent onto the threaded area of the new clean-out plug. Then, use the applicator to spread the compound or solvent around the entire threaded area.

Step 4 - Insert and Tighten New Plug

Insert the new clean-out plug into the plug opening and hand tighten. Then, use the adjustable wrench to turn it an additional 1/2 turn.