upperfixer Home tools reviews

How to Remove Sink Stopper: Clean Your Sink in 3 Easy Steps

abc news

The sink can be a problematic component in your house. It’s specifically meant to drain water and all the other substances that go through it. Because of that, there’s no doubt that sinks are prone to clogging.

The first step to deal with a clogged or dirty sink is to know how to remove the drain stopper. Some models have different methods to remove it. It’s important for you to know how to remove a sink stopper because you’ll never know when it’ll clog. Thus, stay tuned to find out more!

How to Remove Sink Stopper

How to Remove Sink Stopper?

The idea behind a sink stopper is pretty simple. However, the name itself might be confusing. That’s because you shouldn’t take it literally. The drain stopper stops large clumps of dirt and debris from going down the sink. It is not the other way around. 

Sink stoppers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Perhaps the most common one we can find in homes are the convex and circular types. You can see this type commonly in bathroom sinks. It doesn’t have any holes and just leaves a small annular gap for the water to flow.

How to Remove Sink Stopper

Other designs that you’ll often see are those that are the concave or basin, rubber plug, and pump types. The hollow or basin types can catch larger scraps of food because of its shape.

Meanwhile, rubber plugs are tight sink stoppers that you can often find in bathtubs. Pump types; on the other hand, got its name because you tap the head for it to pop out. Out of all of these, the pump type is what we’re going to focus. That’s because it’s the only kind that has a sink stopper that is complicated to remove.

What You’ll Need

Removing sink stoppers do not require a lot of tools. In fact, if you’re a pro at handling drainages and pipes, you might not need any tools at all. However, since we’re removing and cleaning the sink stopper, a few cleaning tools are required.

  • Liquid lye - Liquid lye is a solution that’s the primary purpose is to unclog sinks and toilets. It’s a handy tool to have, especially since cleaning the sink stopper won’t be enough sometimes
  • Wire brush - Use whatever rod-like brush you fancy. Make sure the rod is wiry and thin for it to clean out the dirt and gunk well!
  • Flashlight - A good flashlight should help you loosen a few nuts in a dark cabinet sink.
  • Pliers - Speaking of nuts, your hands might be good enough to remove it but get some pliers ready too. Older drains usually will have rusty bolts that are hard to remove

How To Remove a Sink Stopper

Step 1: Inspect the Housing of Your Sink

How to Remove Sink Stopper

Before removing anything in your sink, it’s a must for you to check every corner of it. By doing so, you’ll be aware if there are any cracks or loose fittings in the sink.

There are many instances where the pipes or nuts can chip off because we’re not mindful of the fact that it’s worn out. Part of this step is for you to remove any distractions when working with the sink.

Many households have their sinks inside a cabinet, so be sure to remove items stored inside it. Typical things we see here are shoe polish, motor oil, detergents, and so forth.

Once clean and you’re sure that the sink can take a few turns with some pliers, and then you’re ready to go.

Step 2: Locate the Pivot Rod

How to Remove Sink Stopper

The next step would be to locate the pivot rod below the sink. This rod is also a plunger rod. The pivot rod directly connects towards the drain stopper, and it’s your greatest obstacle.

Before proceeding to remove it, it’s important that you know what it is and what the main features are. For starters, this rod connects to the bottom-most part of the stopper. It’s then linked to a metal strap called the Clevis.

The Clevis strap is responsible for delivering the signal from the faucet towards the pivot. The pivot then transmits this to a sink stopper, which allows it to open up. That’s why you can’t just pry out the drain stopper with your hands when it comes to some models.

To locate the pivot rod, just look for the thinnest metal rod at the bottom of the sink. That should be sticking out horizontally, and it should attach to the main pipe. If you’re having a hard time seeing it, use your flashlight.

Step 3: Removal and Cleaning

Removal and Cleaning.jpg

Once you’ve seen the bar, you’ll notice that a nut is keeping it in place. Try to remove this with your hands. However, if it’s too tight, use a pair of pliers to loosen it. Once removed, the rod will come off quickly and unhook itself from the stopper.

After that, only take out the stopper from the center of the sink. As said earlier, you can use various cleaning agents and tools to clean the sinkhole and stopper. Once the stopper is out, you can start using a wire brush to take out the gunk and slime inside the pipe.

Of course, clean the stopper too without damaging the gasket. Running water and a soft brush should do the trick in removing grime. Once through, you can now pour liquid lye if the sink is severely clogged. Just be sure not to use the sink for a couple of minutes, depending on the product’s instructions.

If You Are Not Satisfied With those 3 Steps, read below

Sink stoppers are essential components in any bathroom or kitchen sink, as they help to hold water and prevent unwanted debris from entering the drain. However, there are times when you need to remove the sink stopper, either for cleaning or replacement purposes. In this article, we will provide you with a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to remove sink stopper effectively and without causing any damage. We will also discuss the various types of sink stoppers and offer some tips for maintaining them. So, let's get started.

How to remove sink stopper - YouTube Video Tutorial

How to Remove Sink Stopper

How to Remove Sink Stopper

Types of Sink Stoppers

Before we dive into the removal process, it's crucial to understand the different types of sink stoppers available in the market. Knowing the type of sink stopper, you have will make the removal process much more manageable.

1. Push-Pull Sink Stopper

Push-pull sink stoppers are one of the most common types and can be easily recognized by their simple design. They can be opened or closed by pushing or pulling the stopper knob.

2. Lift-and-Turn Sink Stopper

Lift-and-turn sink stoppers are similar to push-pull stoppers but have a small screw on the stopper's knob. To open or close the drain, you need to lift the knob and turn it either clockwise or counterclockwise.

3. Pop-up Sink Stopper

Pop-up sink stoppers are operated using a lever located behind the faucet. When the lever is lifted, the stopper pops up and opens the drain. Lowering the lever will close the stopper.

4. Flip-It Sink Stopper

Flip-it sink stoppers have a toggle switch on the top that allows you to open or close the drain with a simple flip.

5. Toe-Touch Sink Stopper

Toe-touch sink stoppers are designed to be operated with your foot. To open or close the drain, you need to push down on the stopper cap with your toe.

Now that we're familiar with the different types of sink stoppers, let's move on to the removal process.

Necessary Tools

Before starting the removal process, gather the following tools to make the job easier:

  • Flashlight
  • Bucket or bowl
  • Wrench or pliers
  • Screwdriver (if applicable)
  • Cleaning materials (soap, water, vinegar, etc.)

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Remove Sink Stopper

1. Assess the Sink Stopper

First, examine the sink stopper to determine which type it is and whether it can be removed by hand. If the stopper is a push-pull, lift-and-turn, or toe-touch model, you might be able to remove it by hand. For other types, you may need additional tools.

2. Remove the Sink Stopper by Hand (If Applicable)

If your sink stopper can be removed by hand, grab the stopper, lift it, and twist it counterclockwise. If the stopper does not come out, proceed to the next step.

3. Clear the Area Under the Sink

Before working under your sink, remove the sink cabinet's contents to allow for easier access and movement. If the bathroom or kitchen is poorly lit, use a flashlight to illuminate the area.

4. Locate the Horizontal Plunger Rod

To remove the sink stopper, you must first find and remove the horizontal plunger rod. This rod connects the stopper to the strap, which is a piece of metal with holes. If it's too dark to see, use a flashlight to help with the search.

5. Detach the Metal Clip

Once you've located the rod in the strap, you will see a metal clip holding the rod in place. Remove the clip to disconnect the horizontal rod and strap. Be sure to remember which hole the rod was placed in or take a photo for reference. Tip: Place the clip somewhere it will not get lost.

6. Remove the Pivot Nut

The horizontal rod is connected to the sink drain via a pivot nut. Before unscrewing and removing the pivot nut entirely, place a bucket or bowl directly underneath to catch any water that may leak out. If you cannot unscrew the nut by hand, use a wrench, plumbing wrench, or pliers.

7. Take Out the Sink Stopper

Now that the horizontal rod and pivot nut have been removed, you should be able to remove the sink stopper by hand. Simply pull it out and clean it thoroughly, as it may be covered in build-up and gunk.

8. Clean the Sink Stopper and Drain

To clean the sink stopper, use soap and warm water, vinegar, or regular detergent. You can also soak the stopper in a mixture of soap and water before cleaning it with a rag. Tip: If your stopper is dirty, it's likely that your drain is dirty as well. Invest in a hair remover tool (sometimes called a drain snake) to dislodge hair from the drain. If there's still dirt and grime stuck in the drain, use a drain cleaning chemical or liquid. Follow the product's instructions for effective use. Once you've completed these steps, run water to confirm there are no more blockages.

9. Reassemble the Sink Stopper

Once everything is clean and water is running smoothly again, it's time to reassemble the sink stopper components. Start by placing the sink stopper back, followed by the pivot nut. Ensure that it is tightened securely. Next, reattach the rod to the strap and replace the metal clip. When everything is assembled, run water to test the sink stopper's functionality.

10. Restore the Area Under the Sink

Finally, put everything back under the sink that was removed earlier.

Summing it up - Conclusion

Knowing how to remove a sink stopper is an essential skill for homeowners, as it allows you to clean and maintain your sink effectively. By following the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to remove and reinstall your sink stopper with ease. Always ensure that you have the necessary tools and follow safety precautions when working with plumbing fixtures

The difficulty of removing a sink stopper is very easy. You can do this by a 3rd grader, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty to pry it out. Remember, you’ll need to do this now and then because dirty sinks can cause serious clogs.

When that happens, get your tools and follow the 3-step instructions we’ve set above. Good luck and be sure to share us your thoughts below! Happy plumbing!





I'm so excited to tackle all my home improvement projects! From plumbing to DIY and cleaning - I'm ready to get down to work! #homerepair #homecleaning #plumbing #diy #fixerupper #realestate #renovation #interiordesign #farmhouse #diy #homedecor #hgtv #home #farmhousedecor #modernfarmhouse #farmhousestyle #fixerupperstyle #fixandflip #homerenovation #realestateinvesting #beforeandafter #homesweethome #remodel #realestateinvestor #interior #realtor #joannagaines #flippinghouses #countryliving #design #homedesign #farmhouseinspired #investmentproperty #bhghome #renovationproject #farmhousekitchen #homeimprovement #farmhouseliving #cottagestyle #decor #realestateagent #magnoliahome #homeinspo #magnoliamarket #kitchendesign #dreamhome #shiplap #construction #houseflipping #investor #farmhousedesign #architecture #farmhousechic #homereno #rusticdecor #reno #kitchenremodel #webuyhouses #magnoliatable #rentalproperty #fixerupperinspired #newhome #interiors #homeremodel