How To Fix A Bathroom Sink Stopper That Is Stuck Shut

How To Fix A Bathroom Sink Stopper That Is Stuck Shut

Anthony Barnes

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When it comes to bathroom adornments, there’s nothing more problematic than the humble sink stopper, especially when it’s stuck shut. 

If a sink stopper is stuck in the open position, then it is impossible to fill the basin, as the water immediately flows down the drain.

How To Fix A Bathroom Sink Stopper That Is Stuck Shut

However, a sink stopper that is stuck in the closed position is much worse.

Not only does this result in soap scum and other unwanted debris, but it can also make your sink completely useless.

So if you want to fix your broken bathroom sink stopper, then you have come to the right place.

In this article, we will teach you how to fix a shut stopper. While also outlining the tools you will need and the best techniques. 

How Do They Get Stuck? 

In most cases, you will find sink stoppers in the bathroom, where they are used to control the amount of water in the basin.

It is also possible to find sink stoppers in the kitchen, although this is considered a rare occurrence. 

Nowadays, there are countless stoppers available, with some of the more notable models, including rubber plugs, push-downs, and much more.

In this article, we will be examining popup stoppers, which are the most common varieties. 

These stoppers are easy to use and consist of several components that allow them to pop open.

Because of this, a broken stopper can be attributed to a loose component or missing part, which can disable the mechanics of the device. 

Fortunately, repairing a stuck sink stopper is a lot easier than it sounds. In fact, most people can complete the task using their own capabilities. 

How Do They Work? 

Bathroom sink stoppers are complicated devices, as most models only contain a limited selection of components.

In most cases, the mechanisms come together to move the main plug upwards and downwards, which is usually accomplished by pressing the button on the top of the sink.

This button is commonly located behind the tap and is used to activate the main mechanism, which allows the stopper to open.

Most sink stoppers also feature a clevis screw, which secures the strap connecting the lift rod and the pivot rod.

On the opposite side, the strap is connected to the pivot rod through the spring clip, which can be used to push the stopper up and down. 

If the stopper becomes stuck, it’s most likely because one of these mechanisms isn’t working correctly.

Now that you understand how sink stoppers work, it’s time to take a look at how you can fix the problem. 

Assessing The Problem 

How To Fix A Bathroom Sink Stopper That Is Stuck Shut (1)

Before you can start fixing your broken sink stopper, you will need to determine the cause of the problem. 

To do this, you must first remove everything from the cabinet beneath the sink, as this will make it easier to access the mechanisms.

Once you have done this, you can start assessing the problem using the following methods: 

The Spring Clip 

When it comes to broken sink stoppers, there is one component that should always be considered first.

The spring clip is an important part of any sink stopper, as it controls the up and down movement of the device. 

To make sure the clip is intact, you will need to crawl under the sink and examine the various components.

In some cases, the clip can become detached from the pivot rod, which means it will need to be reattached.

If the spring clip shows any signs of wear and tear, then it will need to be replaced with a new part. 

The Pivot Rod 

Pivot rods play an important role in the sink stopper mechanism, as they connect to the clip and move the devices up and down. 

However, this does not mean that pivot rods are free from drawbacks, as some are made from steel and other corrosive materials.

If a steel rod is exposed to moisture for prolonged periods of time, it can begin to rust and weaken.

So if you notice any corrosion or damage, then the rod will need to be replaced. 

Fortunately, you can purchase steel replacements from various manufacturers.

However, we do recommend using brass rods to avoid future corrosion.

Broken sink stoppers can also be caused by loose parts, which means you will need to assess every component to ensure they are in the correct position. 

The Popup Plug 

If the popup plug is broken, then it won’t be able to connect to the mechanism, which means it will be unable to move.

If you have examined the various components and found nothing, then this could mean that the plug itself is the issue. 

To combat this problem, you will need to check the end of the popup plug, which should be located beneath the sink.

In most cases, there should be a thin strip of plastic around the base of the flange.

If the tailpiece appears damaged, then it will need to be replaced to ensure a smooth movement, 

How To Fix A Stuck Bathroom Sink Stopper

Once you have determined the cause of the problem, you can begin moving forward with the best solution. 

For example, if the sink stopper is stuck because of a loose part, then you should be able to reattach them without any fuss.

However, this only applies if the components are still in good condition. Otherwise, the old parts will need to be replaced. 

If the cause of the problem stems from the entire popup mechanism, then you will need to remove it and install a new one.

This can be done by taking out the old assembly and inserting a new stopper in the drain.

To secure the stopper in place, you will need to tighten the clevis screw and secure the pivot rod to the main drainpipe. 

To tighten the rod, turn the retaining nut until the rod falls into place.

During this process, it’s important to not over-tighten the piece, as this could impact the movement of the rod.

In most cases, the nut should be tight enough to hold the rod in place, while also allowing it to move freely. 

Once you have determined the cause of the problem and resolved it, you will need to check the seal and ensure it retains the water. 

Final Thoughts 

Fixing a stuck sink stopper is a lot easier than it sounds, as all it requires is the right tools and the correct information.

In fact, most homeowners can complete the job themselves using their own capabilities and intuition, which means you don’t have to rely on expensive plumbers to get the job done. 

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age