how to remove a sink stopper

How to Remove a Sink Stopper: A Quick, Easy Guide

There are few household tasks more frustrating than trying to remove a stuck stopper from a sink. Whether you have an overflow, clogged drain, or just need to get the water running again, there are some simple steps that can help make this process less frustrating. Listed below are our favorite methods in how to remove a stopper from a sink. We hope you find your solution!

What is a Sink Stopper?

A sink stopper is a small round-shaped ball or circular body that can be placed inside the hole of the sink. The basic purpose of the sink stopper is the prevent the flow of liquid through it. It is placed either in the new sinks when the drainage system is yet not ready to use or when some construction work is being done. Once everything is clear and there is no harm in using the sink, you can easily remove the sink stopper and start using the water system.

You May Like: How to unclog a shower drain | 7 Ways to Unblock the Clogged Drain

What are the Types of Sink Stoppers?


Though it has a very similar design and look to a twist and pull stopper, the push-pull works by pushing down to close and pulling up to open instead of twisting to open and close it. A push-pull bathroom sink drain stopper has a very straightforward stopper mechanism design, making it very easy to remove and clean.

push-pull sink stopper

Twist and Pull

A twist and pull stopper has a small knob on the cap of the bathtub drain stopper. This small knob is used to twist the stopper in order to open and close it. 

This stopper is closed by turning the knob on the top of it until it goes down, and it can be opened by lifting and turning its knob in the opposite direction. Just like the push-pull stopper, it also has a very simple mechanical design.

twist and pull sink stopper

Flip it Drain Stopper

The flip-it drain stopper is known for its ease of installation since tools are not needed to install it. You can open and close it through the toggle level linked to its right. Just push it into the drain, and it is installed. Its built-in O-rings will keep it in place and prevent water from draining.

How to Remove a Sink Stopper

Flip Lever Drain Stopper

The flip lever drain stopper is one of two types featuring a lever found on the overflow plate at the front of your tub. This one doesn’t have a visible pop up sink stopper in the drain but just a strainer. It works using a plunger in the tub overflow pipe, which moves up and down to open and close your tub’s drainpipe. 

flip lever sink stopper

The plunger rod is linked to the flip lever utilizing a connecting rod found inside the overflow tube. With the flip lever down, the plunger is lifted, and the drain is opened. But if the flip lever is up, the plunger is forced down, and the drain is closed.

The flip lever drain stopper is quite tricky to remove for cleaning since it should be removed by pulling it up through the overflow tube and out of the overflow plate. Compared to its other variation that doesn’t use a lever, this one uses a twist cover on the overflow plate that rotates left and right to lower and raise the plunger.

How to Remove a Stopper from a Sink: Easy Instructions for Each Type Of Stopper

Before trying to remove a stopper from a sink, you must assemble some basic tools. Here’s what you need:

Equipment Required for the Job

  • Pliers, Screwdrivers or Wrench – You may need a plier or wrench, or a flathead screwdriver to loosen the pivot retaining nut, depending on how tightly fastened it is.
  • Plumber's Putty – This tool might be helpful if you need to seal some part of your stopper sink.
  • Flashlight – If you’re working beneath the sink, you might not be able to see what you’re working on, so you might need a regular hand-held flashlight.
  • Rubber Gloves – If you don’t want to touch your bathroom sink stopper with your bare hands, we advise you to wear rubber gloves.
  • Brush – Though not needed to remove a bathroom sink stopper, you might still need a brush if you want to clean it.
  • Regular Detergent – Alongside the brush, a regular detergent can be useful for cleaning the stopper if you want to.
  • Vinegar – Just like a regular detergent, vinegar can be useful for cleaning the bathroom sink stopper.
  • Bucket – It will be useful just in case the sink leaks after you unfastened the slip nut.
  • Hair Clog Removal Tools – After removing the stopper, you might want to use a hair removal tool in order to pull out any gunk and hairs that are blocking your sink. Hair clog removal tools are cheap tools, usually in the form of long pieces of plastic with hooks for pulling the hairs out of your sinks.
  • Drain Cleaner Liquid – This one is not needed for removing the stopper, but after you remove all the gunk, you can clean inside the drain flange before putting everything back in its place.
  • Hot Water – Though not necessary for removing a bathroom sink stopper, you can use hot water for finalizing your cleanup.
How to Remove a Sink Stopper

Steps Required to Remove Flip-Lever Stopper

Unlike toe-touch stoppers, which are spring-loaded, push-pull drain stoppers are simply raised and lowered by hand through a small knob on top of the stopper. Here’s how to remove a push-pull stopper:

  1. Lift the stopper.
  2. Remove it by holding the stopper’s body firmly with your hands, then twist the knob counterclockwise to remove it. Normally, you can easily do this with your hands, but if the knob is hard to twist, you may want to grip the stopper using a pair of pliers while twisting the cap with another pair.
  3. After you removed the cap, unfasten the mounting post under the stopper counterclockwise to sort out the stopper from the drain fitting.
  4. Now start removing the gunk or hair you see in the drain opening.
  5. Use the regular detergent and a brush to scrub the stopper, getting rid of any gunk or hairs.
  6. Polish the chrome surfaces of the stopper’s cap and body using vinegar or better if you have a commercial chrome polish product.
  7. Pour some hot water to finalize the cleanup.
  8. Then, you can now fasten the mounting post of the stopper back into the bottom drain fitting.
  9. Then reattach the knurled knob on top of the stopper.
  10. And lastly, test the stopper to make sure that it is working correctly.

Steps Required to Remove Twist and Pull Drain Stopper

The twist and pull drain stopper (a.k.a. lift-and-turn) is actually a variation of the push-pull stopper. It can easily be recognized by a small knurled knob on the top of it. It is closed and opened by simply twisting the knob with your hands. Here’s how to remove it:

  1. Open the twist and pull drain stopper by pulling up on the knob and twisting until it is in the open position.
  2. Check for a visible clevis screw on the knob on top of the stopper. If you see the clevis screw, loosen it using a small screwdriver or, better, an Allen wrench. If you can’t find the set screw, then you can try twisting the whole drain stopper until a pin on the mounting post lign up with a release channel on the drain stopper. Then simply lift the stopper off the mounting post.
  3. Start unscrewing the mounting post from the drain fitting using a screwdriver or pliers based on the style of the stopper.
  4. Check the rubber seals on the stopper and see if they are worn out. If they are, then you must replace them first.
  5. Now the cleaning begins. Get a small brush, then start scrubbing the soap scum or gunk from inside the drain opening. If there are some hairs, just pull them out.
  6. Then use the scrub brush and a regular detergent to scrub the stopper body and mounting post, removing any soap scum or visible hair in the process.
  7. Then using the vinegar, you prepared, polish the visible chrome surfaces on the cap knob and on the stopper body.
  8. After cleaning everything, reattach the mounting post to the bottom of the base of the drain fitting, then place the bathroom sink stopper back onto the mounting post. Make sure to secure the clevis screw to anchor the bathroom sink stopper to the mounting post.
  9. And lastly, don’t forget to test your bathroom sink stopper if it’s working properly.

Steps Required to remove Flip-it Drain Stopper

Flip-it drain stoppers work very similar to a commercial wine cork device used to seal wine bottles after they’ve been opened. The toggle lever expands the lift rod of the stopper to secure a pair of O-rings and obstruct the drain. To remove a flip-it drain stopper, just follow the steps below:

  1. With the flip-it drain stopper in the open position, just hold the drain plug using your hand and pull upwards with a wiggling movement to remove the stopper from the drain opening.
  2. Then get your old brush to scrub the soap scum and gunk while removing the hairs along the way from the drain opening.
  3. Use the detergent you prepared and scrub the body of the stopper with your brush. This should remove any soap scum and hairs on the stopper’s body.
  4. Check the O-rings on the shaft of the stink stopper and see if there are any cracks. If you find some, then install new O-rings or just get a new stopper completely.
  5. And again, using the vinegar, you prepared, polish the chrome areas on the stopper body.
  6. After the cleaning, reaffix the sink stopper. With the drain stopper toggle lever in the open position, put the shaft of the stopper in the drain opening and push down firmly until it snaps down into position.
  7. Finally, you should test the sink stopper if it’s working the right way.

Steps Required to Remove Flip-Lever Drain Stopper

There are some bathtub sink stoppers that are operated by a flip lever mounted on the overflow opening on the tub. A linking shaft with a spring clip connected to the end moves up and down inside the overflow pipe. This lowers and raises a pivot arm that operates through a horizontal pipe arm and is connected to the stopper. Removing this kind of sink stopper is a bit different compared to other pop-up stoppers because it is linked to an articulated linkage arm that should be removed as you pull out the sink stopper from the opening. Here’s how to remove a flip-lever drain stopper:

  1. Set the sink stopper lever to the open position. Take note that in some cases, this is a rotating dial.
  2. Then slowly pull the sink stopper up from the drain opening, then pull the whole rocker arm linkage from the drain opening. You might need to do put some wiggling to remove it.
  3. Now you can start cleaning any gunk, debris, soap scum, or tangled hairs off the rocker arm and pop-up stopper. This style of sink stopper is more likely to accumulate debris compared to the other sink stoppers we’ve discussed above.
  4. If you see a lime buildup on the brass rocker arm, use the vinegar you prepared and soak it.
  5. Then polish the surfaces of the stopper body using the vinegar yet again.
  6. After polishing everything, slowly reinsert the rocker arm into the drain opening until the stopper fits well into the drain opening.
  7. Then finally, test the flip-lever sink stopper to check if it’s working properly.

Extra Pro Tips

Here are some tips that might help you when removing a sink drain flange.

Search for Exactly the Same Parts If You Need to Replace Some Faulty Parts of Your Sink Stopper

If you need to replace parts of your sink stopper and the entire thing, be sure you find parts that are exactly the same. You may need to remove the previous parts and take them to the hardware store with you to make sure you get the right parts you need.

How to Remove a Sink Stopper

Prepare a Container to Keep the Parts Safe While You’re Working

When removing a sink stopper, it is easy to misplace the small parts that you remove. This is the reason why you would want to prepare a tray ready to place all the parts in so they don’t fall down the sink or get lost.

Wearing Rubber Gloves

Drains usually become clogged because of gunk and tangled masses of hair, and when you remove the bathtub stopper, the sight can be very unpleasant. If you don’t want to touch such a mess with your bare hands, you should wear a pair of rubber gloves while working.

Do It Now

If you see that your sink is starting to drain more slowly, we sometimes wait and just hope that it will fix itself. But this is not always the case, and when a sink begins to drain slowly, the issue will only get worse until you do something about it. The takeaway here is to do it now than sorry later. If you leave it, it will just be more difficult and unpleasant later.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Clean Sink Stopper

Cleaning a sink stopper is very easy. However, you should know what type of sink stopper you’re going to clean before starting because you need to remove it first from the sink or drain.

We’ve already discussed the different types of sink stoppers above and how to remove them. Just follow those steps. After you remove your sink stopper, the easiest way is to scrub the stopper using a brush. Of course, you would want to use a regular or liquid detergent while scrubbing it off.

Then to further clean it, submerge it in vinegar or any commercial cleaning agents you trust. Wait for several minutes and polish the stopper by scrubbing it again. And there you have it, a clean sink stopper!

Why do we need to remove the sink stopper?

The sink stoppers are used to restrict the flow of water or any liquids through the sink to the drainage or sanitary pipes. It is placed in the sinks when some function is being performed on drainage or sanitary system. It is also placed in the sink when the sink is not ready to use and no liquid should be thrown in it.

In which sinks are sink stoppers used?

Sink stoppers can be placed in every type of sink. You can place it in your washroom sink or in your kitchen sink drain. You can also place it on the sink in your dining room or in any place. No matter where the sink is placed and what is its design and structure, sink stoppers are suitable for every type of sink. Furthermore, the size of the sink also doesn’t matter because you will find the sink stoppers for every size of the sink.

How to choose the right sink stopper for your sink?

When you go for buying the sink stopper, make sure you look at the following things in order to buy the right sink stopper.

  • Size: The size of the sink stopper is very important factor to be consider. The sink stoppers usually come in different sizes based on the type and size of the sink. Therefore, when you go for buying a sink stopper, make sure you take the correct measurement of your sink. Based on its drain hole, choose the right size of stopper that would fit into it. Keep in mind that by choosing the wrong size of the sink stopper, it might fail to control the flow of liquid through it.
  • Price: It is also an important factor in buying the sink stopper for your sink. Make sure to buy a good quality sink stopper that would firmly hold back all the liquids/water from passing through it. Although they are very simple and smaller in size, they are not costly at all. You can easily buy a good quality sink stopper within a price range of $5-$10 that is highly economical. However, don’t go beyond this limit because it would only add up extra cost to your budget.
  • Material: You must keep in mind that the sink stopper made up of rubber material is always the best one. Among all other sink stoppers, those that are made-up of rubber are highly recommended and widely selling ones. They work great in controlling the water-flow through them and don’t even allow a single drop of water to pass-by.
how to remove a sink stopper

How to remove the sink stopper properly?

In order to remove the sink stopper properly, make sure you follow these simple steps.

  • Look under the downside of your sink drain where you will find a horizontal pivot rode. This rode would be connected to the drainage pipe and the strap which is further connected with the drain lever.
  • Once you figure out where the pivot rod and drainage pipe are located, now try to figure out a small nut on the drainage pipe. It will be surrounded by the pivot rod. That small nut had been firmly carrying or supporting the pivot ball rod at the inner side of the pipe. Take a wretch and use it to rotate the nut in an anticlockwise direction.
  • When you are done with the above step, take the nut out once it is opened. Then, also pull out the pivot rod and ball from the drainage pipe. The end side of this pivot rod is connected with an opening in the sink stopper. When you pull out the pivot rod from the drainage pipe, it will also disconnect or detach it completely from the sink drain stopper.
  • Now the sink stopper would be free of any holdings inside the drainage pipes. At this stage, you can simply use your fingers to remove it from the sink drainage pipe.
  • Once removed from the sink, you can either clean this sink stopper to put it back or replace it with a new one. Usually, it happens that after using the sink drain stopper for a longer period, it starts getting damaged. If it gets damaged, it wouldn’t be able to hold back the flow of liquid through it properly. In such cases, it is recommended to use a new sink drain stopper if you need it.

Can I hire a service for removing the sink stopper?

Installing a sink stopper is an easy task that you can comfortably do without hiring any plumbing services. You can just follow the above steps to install it within just a few minutes. However, if you still think that the task is beyond your capabilities then hiring a plumbing service is a sensible solution.

How much it costs to hire a plumbing service for installing the sink stopper?

Since installing a sink stopper is a fairly easy task, plumbers would generally charge only $50 to $100 depending on the company and location. There are some high-end companies that may charge a high price for their services so it always pays to shop around.

Source : HowToWith GEO

You May Like: How To Unclog A Bathroom Sink Without Chemicals | 6 Steps How to Fix It!

Last update on 2022-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API