How To Remove A Bathroom Sink Stopper In 5 Easy Steps

How To Remove A Bathroom Sink Stopper In 5 Easy Steps!

Anthony Barnes

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We have all been there, for whatever reason, you need to remove your sink stopper but, you’re unsure how. 

Whether you have a faulty sink stopper, trying to remove clogged-up debris, or simply just want to clean your sink.

How To Remove A Bathroom Sink Stopper In 5 Easy Steps!

Removing your sink stopper can be a tricky ordeal if you’re uncertain how to do this, you may even be considering hiring a professional plumber.

However, luckily for you, we have created a simple guide to help you remove a bathroom sink stopper all on your own.

With 5 easy steps, you’re sure to remove it in no time! 

The Different Types Of Sink Stoppers 

Before we start taking apart our sinks, it’s important to know and understand the differences between sink stoppers.

As different types of sink stoppers may require different removal processes. 

All-in-all, there are six different types of sink stoppers. These include:

  1. Push-and-pull 
  2. Lift-and-turn 
  3. Toe-touch
  4. Pop-up
  5. Flip-it
  6. Trip Lever 

Below, you will find a brief explanation of these six different types of sink stoppers.

To help inform you and understand which sink-stopper your sink possesses. 

1. Push-and-pull

A push-and-pull plug is recognizable by its circular top.

As its name suggests, you push this stopper down to close it and pull it up again to open it. There is also a screw under the stopper’s cap. 

2. Lift-and-turn

This stopper is easily recognizable by a small knob located on the stopper’s cap. When it comes to design, it is similar to the push-and-pull stopper. 

However, this knob serves as a way to open and close the plug, depending on which way you turn it.

It features a set screw just below the stopper’s cap which can be used during or after installation.

Although, if this screw is too tight from installation or has corroded over time, it can sometimes make this stopper difficult to remove. 

3. Toe-Touch

Also known as foot-actuated or a toe-tap, this sink stopper is very similar to the push-and-pull and lift-and-turn plugs.

Although, unlike these plugs, it uses a spring. 

To open it or close it you use your foot, as opposed to your hands. It shares similar removal techniques to the lift-and-turn plug. 

4. Pop-up

Particularly similar to a bathroom pop-up, the bathroom sink stopper pop-up features a lever on the top of the overflow plate, alongside a spring.

This spring employs the stopper by opening and closing it. 

These are typically high-quality. Although, despite this, they are still especially hard to remove and clean as they tend to collect a lot of hair. 

5. Flip-it

To open and close this stopper, there is a lever on the right of the stoppers side that moves from left to right. 

Typically, these are the easiest stoppers to remove and they require no tools. 

6. Trip Lever

This sink topper features a lever that is located on the front part of the tub.

Unlike the other stoppers, it doesn’t have any visible pop-up stopper, you can only see a strainer. 

With a plunger in the overflow pipe, this trip level sink stopper moves up and down to open, as well as close the drain pipe.

One thing to keep in mind is that this sink stopper can be a bit challenging to remove. 

Tools Required 

Now that we have discussed and explained all the different types of sink stoppers.

It is important to understand the types of tools you will be needing when removing these sink stoppers.

Here’s what you will need:

  • Wrench or Pliers – This will help loosen any tight screws that cannot be unscrewed with your hands. 
  • Flashlight – To help you see exactly what you’re doing. 
  • Bucket – This is needed in case your sink starts leaking. 

Likewise, you may also need some extra equipment if you need to clean the sink stopper.

This may include:

  • Small Brush – An old toothbrush would work best. 
  • Detergent 
  • Vinegar – A great natural cleaning solution for washing a sink stopper. 
  • Tool for removing clogged hair 
  • Liquid to clean drains – This would be for any pipes that need cleaning too. 
How To Remove A Bathroom Sink Stopper In 5 Easy Steps! (1)

How To Remove A Bathroom Sink Stopper

Now that we have outlined all the different sink stoppers, as well as the tools that may be required.

You will now find a step by step process to remove your sink stopper. 

Step 1

The first step is to see if you can remove the sink stopper by hand.

This will prevent you getting your tools unnecessarily dirty, and it should be an easy, straightforward process.

To check, all you have to do is take the plug between your fingers and try to turn it. With ample force, it might just be enough for you to pull it out. 

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t try pulling the stopper out too hard and this may damage it. 

Step 2 

If you have managed to remove the bathroom sink stopper by hand, great, you can skip the next few steps.

However, if you weren’t able to remove it, don’t worry, you may just need to change tactics. 

The next tactic would be to go under the sink, this may get a bit messy so be prepared to do some cleaning.

Make sure to remove anything that is under the sink so you have enough space to maneuver and move freely if need be. 

Step 3 

Take your flashlight and shine it towards your sink to help you locate the horizontal plunger rod that is used to connect the strap to the stopper.

Next, look for a rod that connects the vertical strap, this should be easy to identify as it has several holes in it. 

Then, you should notice that there is a small metal clip that intersects everything together.

You will need to remove this, and store it somewhere safe as you will need to replace it later.

Additionally, make sure that you remember what hole the rod was attached to, as this will help you later on. 

Step 4 

When looking at the otherside of the detached rod, it should be connected to a pivot nut, you will need to unscrew this.

At this point, you may need to put your bucket under the sink, just in case any water comes out of the nut when you unscrew it.

This will save you time cleaning up water in your bathroom. 

Next, try loosening the pivot nut with your hands. If you are unable to loosen it or it’s screwed on too tight, try using some pliers or a wrench.

Step 5 

All these steps should help to release your bathroom sink stopper. You should now be able to remove your sink stopper easily and hassle free.

One thing to keep in mind; however, is that your plug may be dirty and covered in gunk if it hasn’t been removed in a while.

This would be a great time to clean it, and check for any breaks that may need to be replaced. 

How To Clean A Sink Stopper

Now that you have successfully removed your bathroom sink stopper, you may be wondering how to clean it.

Overtime, you may notice your sink not draining properly, and the main culprit for this is hair and gunk that gets stuck in the drain and plug. 

To start with, you will need to remove as much hair, gunk and anything else stuck in the hole, as possible.

You may find it easier to use a tool that is specifically designed to remove hair.

Next, clean your sink stopper with detergent or soak it in a vinegar solution for 10-15 minutes, making sure to thoroughly rinse it with water after the time is up. 

For your drain, you could also use  home remedies if it’s clogged.This could include baking soda and vinegar.

For this method, all you need to do is leave the solution soak in the clogged drain (see also ‘Drain Clogged With Hair: 5 Simple Tips to Dissolve it‘) for 10 minutes.

Once the time is over, run the water from the tap and repeat this process until complete. This should successfully clean and unclog any pipes. 

Likewise, you could also use boiling water to unclog a drain. To do this, you will need to boil half a gallon of water.

Next, once this has finished boiling, carefully pour the water down your drain. Run the tap water to see if the clog persists.

If it does, repeat this process until it runs easily.

One thing to remember, however, is that boiling water can melt plastic, so this method isn’t advised if you have PVC pipes.

Once you have finished cleaning your sink stopper and any clogged drains, your sink should be pristine clean once again! 

How To Put Everything Back Together Again?

Once everything is clean, it is time to put it all back together. This will be relatively easy and shouldn’t take too long.

Essentially, you just need to follow all the steps you did previously but in reverse order. 

Firstly, you will need to return the stopper back into the sinkhole. This should be nice and easy as everything is all clean.

Then, go back underneath your sink and re-tighten the pivot nut.

If you are able, you can simply use your hands. If not, use a pair of pliers or a wrench to tighten it. 

Next, you will need to reattach the strap and the rod with the clip you initially removed.

This will return the sink stopper back to its original position. This is why it’s important to make sure you don’t misplace anything!

Lastly, the final thing to do is test the sink stopper to see if it works.

If it does, then you have successfully removed and replaced your own sink stopper! 

How To Fix A Sink Stopper

If you haven’t fitted or replaced your sink stopper properly you may notice it not working as it once did before. Although, sometimes, it may just not be working. 

The most common issue with sink stoppers is that they won’t stay up, causing your sink to clog once again.

Like we said before, the most common cause of this is buildup of gunk and hair in your drain, as this will prevent it from working.

However, if this isn’t this issue, then the culprit may be the clevis. 

This is primarily the case with pop-up stopper models, however it can happen with other universal stopper models, too. 

The best way to fix this issue is by replacing the spring clip.

To do this, all you have to do is go underneath your sink and look for the spring clip, and clevis, or the flat bar, on the stopper.

To release the clevis from the pivot rod, all you need to do is pinch the clevis.

Then transfer the rod to a different hole while replacing the spring clip. 

Once you have done this, resemble everything back into place. Then check if  your stopper is working properly once again.

If it isn’t, you may need to buy a new one and replace it. 

Final Thoughts

Whatever your reasons for removing a sink stopper, it can be easily accomplished by following this guide.

We have also outlined how to clean, reassemble, and even fix your sink stopper, so you can easily do it yourself!

Hopefully, this article has helped and provided you with a better understanding about sink stoppers. 

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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