Close this search box.

How to Remove Sink Stopper: A Quick and Simple Guide

A sink stopper is a critical component of any bathroom or kitchen sink. It efficiently seals the drain to prevent water, soap, and other substances from flowing down the pipe. Over time, sink stoppers may accumulate debris, get damaged, or simply wear out. Knowing how to remove and replace a sink stopper not only helps to unclog a sink but also enhances regular cleaning and maintenance.

There are diverse types of sink stoppers, such as pop-up, lift-and-turn, and flip-it stoppers. Each type may require different techniques and tools to work with. It’s essential to recognize the sink stopper parts and their functions in order to disassemble and reassemble the stopper successfully. Preliminary cleaning will also ensure a more comfortable and mess-free working experience.

Bathroom Sink Stopper Stuck – 9 Easy Steps To Fix it

Key Takeaways

  • Different types of sink stoppers require unique removal techniques and tools.
  • Familiarizing yourself with sink stopper parts is crucial for successful disassembly and reassembly.
  • Regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent blockages and extend the lifespan of your sink stopper.

Required Tools

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases.

To remove a sink stopper, it is important to have the right tools on hand. This will make the process smoother and more efficient. Below is a list of tools you’ll need for this task.

  • Pliers: Useful for gripping and maneuvering small parts in tight spaces. They can help you loosen and remove nuts and other connections.
  • Wrench: An adjustable wrench will be helpful when dealing with the various nuts and bolts found in the sink drain assembly.
  • Flashlight: A good source of light ensures you can clearly see and locate the different components beneath the sink.
  • Screwdriver: It may be necessary to loosen or tighten screws during the process, so having a screwdriver set with various sizes is beneficial.
  • Bucket: Handy for catching any water that might spill during the removal process, protecting your work area from potential damage.

With these tools in hand, you should be well-equipped to tackle the task of removing a sink stopper. Remember to prepare your work area and ensure that you have clear access to the under-sink plumbing before beginning the process.

How To Remove Kitchen Sink Drain

Types of Sink Stoppers

Sink stoppers are essential components of bathroom and kitchen sinks, helping to hold water in the sink and preventing debris from flowing down the drain. There are several common types of sink stoppers, each with its distinct removal and installation methods. In this section, we will discuss four main types of sink stoppers: Pop-Up Sink Stopper, Bathroom Sink Stopper, Lift-And-Turn Drain Stopper, and Flip-It Drain Stopper.

Pop-Up Sink Stopper is one of the most common types found in bathroom sinks. It operates using a lever and a series of connected rods underneath the sink. The lever raises and lowers the stopper to open or close the drain. Removal of a Pop-Up Sink Stopper involves disconnecting the pivot rod and lifting the stopper out of the drain. Home Depot provides a step-by-step guide on how to remove a sink stopper.

Bathroom Sink Stoppers come in various designs, such as lift-and-turn, push-pull, and toe-touch. Most bathroom sink stoppers can either be unscrewed or removed by hand, but sometimes it’s necessary to access the mechanism under the sink to disconnect and remove the stopper. Sunrise Specialty offers detailed instructions on how to remove different types of bathroom sink stoppers.

Lift-And-Turn Drain Stopper is a simple design where the stopper is twisted and lifted to open or close the drain. These stoppers are commonly used in bathtubs and sinks. To remove a Lift-And-Turn Drain Stopper, you can usually unscrew the top cap clockwise, or in some cases, the entire stopper can be unscrewed from the drain. The Spruce discusses how to remove different kinds of drain stoppers, including Lift-And-Turn types.

Finally, the Flip-It Drain Stopper is an easy-to-use stopper with a toggle that flips back and forth to open and close the drain. This type of stopper is removed by grasping the flip toggle and rotating it counterclockwise until it can be lifted out of the drain. Flip-It Drain Stoppers are generally easy to remove and install, making them a popular choice in many households.

In conclusion, understanding the various types of sink stoppers and their removal techniques is vital for proper sink maintenance. It’s always a good idea to consult specific guides or manuals to ensure you follow the correct removal and installation process for your particular sink stopper type.

What Is Code For Kitchen Sink Drain Size

Recognizing Sink Stopper Parts

When dealing with a sink stopper, it is important to understand the various components involved in the mechanism. This will help in removing the stopper more efficiently and also ensure proper reassembly once the task is completed. In this section, we will discuss some of the key parts typically found in a bathroom sink stopper system.

The Pop-Up Stopper is the visible part of the sink drainage system that can be lifted or lowered to allow water to drain or hold water in the sink. It usually has a knob or handle on top, which is connected to the internal sink system through a series of rods and clips.

The Horizontal Rod is a metal rod located below the sink and connects to the pop-up stopper mechanism. This rod moves horizontally when the lift rod is pulled or pushed, enabling the stopper to function correctly.

The Metal Clip is a small component that attaches the horizontal rod to a vertical rod called the clevis. This clip ensures stability and secure connection between the rods for proper functionality.

The Lift Rod is located on the top side of the sink, usually at the back of the faucet. When pulled or pushed, it allows the user to raise or lower the pop-up stopper to open or close the drain.

The Pivot Rod is a part of the sink stopper system responsible for the actual lifting and lowering action of the pop-up stopper. It connects to the horizontal rod through a clevis and moves vertically when the lift rod is operated.

The Clevis is a metal strip with multiple holes that allows for adjustments and connects the lift rod to the pivot rod. The clevis ensures that the stopper mechanism operates smoothly and effectively.

By recognizing these essential sink stopper parts, you will be better equipped to remove, repair, or replace a sink stopper as needed. Remember to always handle these components carefully to avoid damage and ensure proper reassembly.

How To Remove Kitchen Sink Drain

Preliminary Cleaning

Before attempting to remove the sink stopper, it is important to do some preliminary cleaning to make it easier to work with and prevent any damage. This can be achieved using common household items such as vinegar, an old toothbrush, detergent, and baking soda.

Begin by applying a mixture of equal parts warm water and vinegar to the sink stopper. This solution helps to loosen dirt, grime, and mineral deposits that may have built up over time. Let the solution sit on the stopper for a few minutes to allow it to work its magic.

Next, use an old toothbrush to gently scrub the sink stopper, paying close attention to the edges and grooves where debris may have accumulated. The bristles of the toothbrush can easily reach these tight spaces, providing a thorough cleaning.

For stubborn stains or buildup, create a paste by combining a small amount of baking soda with water. Apply the paste to the affected areas and let it sit for a couple of minutes. The baking soda acts as a gentle abrasive, helping to remove tough stains without causing damage to the sink stopper.

Once the sink stopper has been cleaned with the baking soda paste, rinse it off with warm water to remove any remaining residue. Finally, apply a mild detergent to the stopper, making sure to clean all areas thoroughly. Rinse the stopper one last time with warm water to ensure it is completely clean.

By following these simple cleaning steps, the sink stopper will not only be easier to remove, but will also look and function better once reinstalled. Remember to maintain a confident, knowledgeable, yet neutral and clear tone while explaining the process.

How To Fix Bathroom Sink Drain Leaking Around Threads?

Removing A Pop-Up Sink Stopper

Removing a pop-up sink stopper can be a simple process if you follow the correct steps. First, identify the type of stopper mechanism you have. There are a few different designs, but most involve a horizontal plunger rod connected to a pivot nut, and a strap that holds the stopper in place.

Start by clearing the area under your sink to provide enough space to work comfortably. Switch off the water supply to the sink, as a precautionary measure. Now, locate the horizontal plunger rod and pivot nut at the back of the drainpipe. The horizontal plunger rod is connected to the strap, which attaches to the stopper.

To detach the pop-up stopper, loosen the pivot nut by turning it counterclockwise with your fingers or a pair of pliers. Be sure to hold the horizontal plunger rod in place while doing this to prevent it from dropping. Once the pivot nut is loose, carefully pull the horizontal plunger rod out from the strap.

Now, you can remove the pop-up stopper from the sink by gently lifting it upwards and out of the drain hole. In some cases, the stopper may be connected to the strap, making it necessary to detach it before lifting it out. Check for any debris or build-up that could be causing the stopper to malfunction, and clean it if necessary.

After removing the stopper, examine the entire mechanism to ensure there are no damaged or broken parts. If any issues are found, replace the faulty components before reassembling the sink stopper.

To reassemble, insert the horizontal plunger rod back into the strap and through the pivot nut. Tighten the pivot nut by turning it clockwise, ensuring that the horizontal plunger rod is secured firmly. Finally, place the pop-up stopper back into the sink drain and test its functionality by adjusting the lift rod.

By following these steps, you can confidently and effectively remove and restore a pop-up sink stopper, ensuring smooth operation for the long term.

How To Remove Kitchen Sink Drain

Removing A Lift-And-Turn Sink Stopper

Lift-and-turn sink stoppers are common choices for bathroom sinks due to their simple design and easy operation. To remove this type of stopper, follow these steps:

First, take a close look at the stopper’s top surface. Lift-and-turn sink stoppers function by being lifted slightly and then turned to either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Gently lift the stopper and try rotating it in both directions to see if it disengages.

If the stopper does not come out by following the above procedure, you may need to remove the knob. Fortunately, this is an easy process. Look for a small screw on the top of the knob, which is usually a flat-head or Phillips-head type. Carefully unscrew it and lift off the knob to expose the stem.

Next, use a wrench or pliers to grasp the stem. Turn the stem counterclockwise to remove it from the drain. As you turn, be prepared for some resistance due to the gasket material between the stem and the sink. Continue to turn the stem until it is completely free from the drain.

Once the stem has been removed, the remaining parts of the lift-and-turn sink stopper can be easily lifted out of the drain. Be cautious when removing these components to avoid damaging the drain or other sink parts. Consider cleaning the stopper and surrounding areas to remove buildup and ensure smooth operation when reinstalling.

In summary, removing a lift-and-turn sink stopper involves lifting and twisting the stopper, unscrewing the knob, and removing the stem counterclockwise. With a careful approach and the right tools, this task can be completed with ease and minimal disruption.

Why Your Bathtub Won’t Hold Water And How To Fix

Removing a Flip-It Sink Stopper

A Flip-It sink stopper is a relatively simple device used to plug the drain in a sink. It is commonly found in bathroom sinks and can be easily removed when necessary. This section will guide you through the process of removing a Flip-It sink stopper, keeping things clear and concise.

The Flip-It sink stopper operates on a straightforward principle: it uses a suction cup attached to a lever, flipped up to create a seal, and flipped down to release it. To begin the removal process, the first step is to disengage the suction cup. Start by reaching into the sink and firmly grip the protruding top of the stopper. Push down on the lever, flipping it to its open position, which will disengage the suction cup from the drain.

Once the suction cup is disengaged, removal of the Flip-It stopper is relatively easy. Simply lift the stopper straight up and out of the sink. Be careful not to pull too hard, as the suction cup may still be slightly stuck to the drain.

With the Flip-It stopper removed, you can now inspect the P-Trap, the curved portion of the sink’s drainage pipe located directly below the drain opening. The P-Trap is designed to keep sewer gases from entering your home, while also trapping debris and hair that may cause clogging. You can use a flashlight to look into the P-Trap, checking for any blockages or buildup that may need cleaning.

If you need to clean the P-Trap, be sure to place a bucket underneath it to catch any water that may spill out during the process. Loosen the slip nuts connecting the P-Trap to the drain pipe and carefully remove the P-Trap. Clear out any debris or buildup, then reinstall the P-Trap, making sure to tighten the slip nuts securely.

After handling the P-Trap, you can now reinstall the Flip-It sink stopper by positioning it back into the drain opening and flipping the lever down to engage the suction cup. Test the stopper for proper function by flipping it up and down, ensuring it is sealing the drain properly.

By following these instructions, you can confidently and efficiently remove and reinstall a Flip-It sink stopper while also inspecting and cleaning the P-Trap when necessary.

Drain Clogged with Hair 5 Simple Tips to Dissolve it! (1)

Dealing with Hair and Debris Blockages

When dealing with hair and debris blockages in your sink, it is essential to use the right tools and methods to efficiently and safely remove the clog. One common method for removing hair clogs is using a plunger. Start by pushing down on the plunger, creating a seal around the drain, and then pulling up quickly to dislodge any hair or debris.

Using a chemical drain cleaner can be another option to remove clogs caused by hair and debris. However, be cautious when using these products, as they can be harmful to the environment and your pipes if not used correctly. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid using them in conjunction with other cleaning agents.

A hair remover tool, such as a drain snake or a flexible cleaning brush, is designed to reach into the sink drain and remove hair clogs. These tools can be inserted into the drain, twisted, and then pulled out to remove any hair and debris. Make sure to clean and sanitize the tool after each use to prevent the spread of bacteria.

In some cases, after removing hair and debris, it may be necessary to disassemble and clean the sink stopper itself. To do this, start by removing the sink stopper by locating the plunger rod, removing the stopper and pivot rod, and checking the clevis screw, clip, and strap. After disassembling and cleaning all components, put the parts back in place and reinstall the stopper.

To prevent future clogs, regular maintenance of your sink drain is essential. This can include using a sink strainer to capture hair and debris and regularly cleaning the stopper mechanism. With proper care and effective tools, you can keep your sink drain clear of hair and debris blockages.

Reassembling and Reinstalling the Sink Stopper

After removing and cleaning the sink stopper, it’s time to reassemble and reinstall it to ensure proper functioning. Start by applying a pipe joint compound to the threads of the pivot rod. This will help create a watertight seal when it’s connected to the drain pipe.

Next, insert the sink stopper back into the drain hole. Ensure that the hole in the stopper aligns with the position of the pivot rod. Now, slide the pivot rod through the hole in the extension bar and into the stopper’s hole. This connection is crucial, as the pivot rod is responsible for controlling the opening and closing of the sink stopper.

Before tightening the connection between the extension bar and pivot rod, verify that the stopper can be lifted and lowered smoothly. Make any necessary adjustments to the alignment of the pivot rod if needed. Once the stopper’s movement is verified, secure the pivot rod to the extension bar with the retaining clip or nut provided.

Lastly, check and tighten the connections at the pipe joint to ensure a leak-free seal. This may include tightening the locknut or adjusting the rubber gasket. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this could damage the components or create further issues.

With these steps completed, the sink stopper should now be properly reassembled and reinstalled. Test its function by running water in the sink and observing the stopper’s ability to hold water and drain effectively when lifted. A fully functioning sink stopper plays a vital role in maintaining a clean and functional drain system.

Plumbers Putty or Silicone To Seal A Bathtub Drain (1)

Fixing a Clogged or Broken Sink Stopper

A clogged or broken sink stopper can be a frustrating issue, but with a little knowledge and the right tools, you can fix it yourself. Start by disassembling the components under the sink. Make sure the horizontal pivot rod is connected to the clevis. Loosen the retaining nut that holds the horizontal pivot rod in place and remove it from the drainpipe1.

One of the main reasons for a clogged sink stopper is blockages caused by hair, soap scum, and other debris. To clear the blockage, use a drain snake or a straightened coat hanger to fish out the debris. Insert the tool into the drainpipe and gently push it further until you feel resistance. Slowly rotate the tool to snag the debris, then carefully pull it out2.

If the sink stopper is broken, you may need to replace it. Purchase a new stopper that matches the size and design of your current one. Unscrew the old stopper by turning it counterclockwise and lift it out. Place the new stopper into the drain hole and screw it in clockwise until tight3.

Once the blockages are removed or the new stopper is in place, reassemble the components under the sink. Reconnect the horizontal pivot rod to the clevis and tighten the retaining nut. Test the sink stopper by operating the lift rod to ensure it is functioning correctly4.

By following these steps, you can confidently and efficiently fix a clogged or broken sink stopper. Remember to maintain your sink regularly to prevent blockages and keep your sink functioning properly.

Maintaining Your Sink Stopper

Taking care of your sink stopper is essential for ensuring its proper functionality and extending its overall lifespan. Regular maintenance can also prevent buildup and potential clogs in your bathroom sink.

To keep your sink stopper clean and functioning well, incorporate a simple cleaning routine. Begin by removing any visible debris from the sink stopper and surrounding area. You can use a brush or an old toothbrush to reach crevices and remove grime effectively.

After clearing the debris, continue the cleaning process by using a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar. This natural solution is not only eco-friendly but also helps remove buildup without causing damage to your sink and stopper. Apply the vinegar solution using a sponge, and thoroughly clean the stopper’s surface, paying attention to any remaining residue.

For a deeper clean, you can dismantle the sink stopper and place the components separately into the vinegar solution. Let them soak for about 15 to 30 minutes to ensure all the buildup has been broken down. After soaking, use a brush to scrub off any remaining dirt before rinsing and reassembling the stopper.

Lastly, remember to keep your sink stopper dry after each use. This can prevent the buildup of rust, mold, and mildew, which can negatively impact the performance and appearance of your stopper. A regular maintenance routine will not only enhance the function of your sink stopper but also maintain the cleanliness of your bathroom space.

Remember to perform these maintenance tasks regularly – a proactive approach will help preserve your sink stopper, ensuring its optimal operation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to take out a pop-up drain stopper?

To remove a pop-up drain stopper, first, try lifting and twisting it by hand. If this does not work, locate the horizontal plunger rod beneath the sink and follow it to the connecting clip. Detach the clip, and the stopper should now be free to remove. For a detailed guide, check here.

Removing American Standard sink stopper?

Removing an American Standard sink stopper involves similar steps as removing a pop-up drain stopper. Start by attempting to unscrew or lift the stopper by hand. If this fails, locate the plunger rod, remove the connecting clip, and free the stopper. For specific instructions on American Standard sink stoppers, consult your user manual.

Methods for kitchen sink stopper removal?

Kitchen sink stoppers can usually be removed by turning them counterclockwise or lifting them straight up. If the stopper is stuck, you may need to use a flathead screwdriver to gently pry it open. Be careful not to damage the surrounding sink surface. For more information on removing kitchen sink stoppers, visit this guide.

Ways to remove sink stopper with pivot rod?

To remove a sink stopper with a pivot rod, locate the horizontal plunger rod under the sink and disconnect the pivot rod from it. Release the connecting clip and pull the pivot rod away from the stopper. The stopper should now be free to remove. For a step-by-step guide, check here.

Cleaning sink stopper without taking it out?

You can clean the sink stopper without removing it by using a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. Use a soft cloth or sponge to gently scrub the stopper and surrounding areas. For stubborn stains, you can use a toothbrush with baking soda and vinegar. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry with a clean cloth to prevent water spots.

How to unstick a closed-position sink stopper?

First, try gently tapping the stopper with your hand or a small object like a spoon to loosen it. If that doesn’t work, apply a few drops of lubricating oil around the edges of the stopper, wait a few minutes, and then attempt to lift it. If the stopper remains stuck, you may need to remove it following the methods mentioned in the previous questions.


  1. Lowe’s – How to Repair a Sink Drain Stopper
  2. The Home Depot – How to Remove a Sink Stopper
  3. Sunrise Specialty – 9 Easy Steps to Remove a Bathroom Sink Stopper
  4. Bob Vila – How to Fix a Bathroom Sink Stopper
author avatar
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


On Key

Related Posts

Is Drano Bad for Pipes? The Truth Revealed

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases. When it comes to dealing with clogged drains, many homeowners turn