How to Remove a Stopper From a Bathroom Sink

How to Remove a Stopper From a Bathroom Sink: Simple Steps to Remove the Stopper

If you’ve ever had to remove a stopper from a bathtub or sink, you know that it can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. However, there are ways to make the process easier and faster. The key is knowing the best way to remove the stopper. To help, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to remove a stopper from a bathroom sink with as little fuss as possible.


Types of Bathroom Sink Drain Stopper

If you want to know how to remove a stopper from a bathroom sink, you must learn first that there are different kinds as they might affect the removal process.


A Push and pull stopper is quite similar to the lift and turn stopper in terms of design.

push and pull stopper

The difference is that you open it by pulling it up, and you push it down if you want to close it. Hence, it is called a push-and-pull bathroom sink stopper.

Similar to the lift-and-turn stopper, it comes with a screw under the stopper’s cap.

One good example of a push-and-pull stopper is the Kohler bathtub drain stopper. Just in case you need to replace your stopper, I highly recommend a Kohler stopper.


A pop-up bathroom sink stopper has a lever on top of the overflow plate and a spring. These components operate the stopper by opening and closing it.

pop-up stopper

This type of stopper is quite difficult to remove and clean because they tend to accumulate a lot of hair. 

If you’re planning to replace your pop-up stopper, I suggest you opt with Moen bathroom sink stoppers as they are famous when it comes to top-quality pop-up sink stoppers.


Flip-it bathroom sink drain stoppers feature a toggle lever right of the stopper’s top that moves from side to side.

flip-it bathroom stopper

This movement opens and closes the stopper. Normally, you can mount and remove flip-it bathroom sink stoppers without using any tools.

Trip Lever


Trip lever or flip lever bathroom sink stoppers come with a lever found at the front part of the tub. It also comes with a strainer. This type of stopper has a plunger in the overflow pipe. To open and close the sink’s drainpipe, you need to move it up and down.

Fact: Among the other bathroom sink stoppers on this list, the trip lever stopper is probably the most difficult to remove.

After knowing these different types of bathroom sink stoppers, you now know what to pay attention to.

What Blocks this Drainage Hole?

Many bathroom sink clogs result from a combination of skin flakes, dirt, and hair that binds with the gooey soap scum that gets caught on the stopper or pivot ball rod of the drain or builds upon the walls of the drain pipes.

Because we’re talking about bathroom sink, you can also add in stuff such as hand lotions, toothpaste, and even phlegm! This amalgamation of gunk garners bacteria on it, which is why when you remove the stopper out of the bathroom sink, there’s a buildup of what looks like black slime on it. And it’s not a very pleasing sight!

What Can I Do to Prevent this In the Future?

The most basic thing you can do to prevent a clogged drain is to clean it regularly. We tend to neglect our bathroom drains when thinking of regular home cleaning, but maintaining them clean and clear of gunk is just as crucial to your family’s health as well as your home’s comfort.

Typically, if you are conscious of what you put down your bathroom drains, you don’t really have to clear them of debris frequently; once a month will do. But, some bathroom drains must be checked on more frequently because that’s normally where hair becomes an issue.

Hair loss while shaving or shampooing is a natural everyday thing, but it doesn’t take much for hair to accumulate and block your bathroom sink. When added to all of the toothpaste and soap you’re using, it is easy to know why clogs can happen easily.

Here are some of the things you can do to prevent bathroom sink clogging in the future:

  • Put mesh screens over all of your bathroom sinks to catch food particles, hair, and other gunk. This is the easiest but most effective thing you can do to keep your drains clog-free.
  • Brush your hair first before taking a bath or showering to help remove some of your loose hair. Some hair will still fall off down the bathroom sink, but this should lower that amount.
  • When the weather is warm enough, you should wash your pets outside. When it turns cold, if they have to take a bath indoors, place a wash cloth over the shower drain to catch loose hair and dispose of the hair later in the trash. You can also consider using a washtub rather than your shower or bathtub. This way, you can empty it outside and avoid throwing pet hair down your bathroom drain.
  • Don’t depend too much on the trash disposal and start using a compost bin. It doesn’t only help save energy and water, but you are putting less solid, sticky matter down the drain to potentially create a blockage. Even if you don’t have a lawn or garden, a lot of community gardens as well as garden co-ops will be glad to pick up and use your compost.
  • Teach your kids the importance of maintaining your house’s drain system, and the effects misuse of bathroom drains can have on the environment and especially on municipal wastewater systems. Be sure they understand that toys must never be flushed, and any toy smaller than the bathroom drain shouldn’t be played in the bathroom.
  • Get a good plunger or auger, or sometimes known as drain snake, and learn how to use one. There are instances that clogs will just happen, no matter how much you try to avoid them. Someone flushes a lot of toilet paper, or you accidentally drop something down the sink, and so on. But you can save a lot of bucks by simply handling small blockages instead of calling a plumber. Of course, I don’t suggest using any harsh chemical cleaners, especially if you have metal pipes that might get corroded.

Tools You Will Need to Remove Stopper From Bathroom Sink

Before you move on to removing a stopper from the bathroom sink, you must prepare some basic tools first.

But don’t worry, you actually only need one tool for removing a stopper from a bathroom sink because you’ll mostly be using your hands.

The tool you might need can be one of the following:

Amazon Basics Hex Key Allen Wrench Set with Ball End - Set of 26
Channellock 442 Tongue and Groove Pliers, 12 In, Black, Blue, Silver
6' Mini Needle Nose Pliers with Comfort Grip Handles,2 Pliers Set for Handmade Craft

You might also need a flashlight, so prepare one just in case.

How to Remove a Push Pull Drain Stopper from a Bathroom Sink -Step-by-Step

This type of stopper is pretty similar to toe-touch styles, but instead of being spring-loaded, they are raised and lowered using hand through a small knob on the top. 

Here’s how to remove a push pull drain stopper from a bathroom sink:

Step 1: Lift the Stopper

Lift the push pull stopper to its open position.

Step 2: Take Out Stopper Knob

Hold the stopper’s body tightly with your hands, and twist the knob stopper counterclockwise to extract it. Normally, you can easily do this with your hand, but if it’s a stubborn knob, you may want to grip the stopper using a plier while twisting the cap with another plier.

Step 3: Take Out the Stopper from Drain

With the cap extracted, unfasten the mounting post beneath the cap counterclockwise to separate the push pull stopper from the drain fitting.

Step 4: Clean it

Since you’ve removed the stopper, you might as well clean it.

Step 5: Return the Stopper and Fasten It

Fasten the mounting post of the push pull stopper back into the bottom drain fitting.

Step 6: Reconnect the Stopper

Reconnect the knurled knob on top of the push-pull stopper.

Step 7: Test the Stopper

Finally, to ensure that everything is working, test the stopper.

How to Remove Twist and Pull Drain Stopper from a Bathroom Sink

The twist and pull drain stopper is another very common type of drain stopper. In fact, it’s a variation of the push-pull stopper and sometimes also referred to as the lift and turn stopper. A twist and pull drain stopper can easily be recognized because of its small knurled knob on the top of the stopper. It can be opened and close by simply twisting the knob with your hand.

Here’s how to remove a twist and pull drain stopper from a bathroom sink:

Step 1: Open the Stopper

Open the twist and pull drain stopper by pulling up on the knob and turning until the stopper is in its open position.

Step 2: Unfasten Set-Screw from the Stopper

Search for the visible set-screw on the knob that sits atop of the stopper. If there’s a set screw, unfasten it using a small screwdriver or an Allen wrench. However, if you don’t see any set screw, twist the entire stopper until the pin on the mounting post alights with the release channel on the strainer. Now, lift the twist and pull stopper off the mounting post.

Step 3: Unfasten the Mounting Post

Unfasten the mounting post from the drain fitting with the use of a screwdriver or pliers.

Step 4: Check the Rubber Seals

Check the rubber seals on the stopper. If they look like they are working out, you should replace the stopper.

Step 5: Clean It

It would be best if you cleaned the stopper before putting it back.

Step 6: Reconnect the Mounting Post

Reconnect the mounting post to the bottom of the drain fitting, then put the stopper back onto its mounting post. Fasten the set-screw to anchor the twist and pull stopper to the mounting post.

Step 7: Test the Stopper

And as usual, make sure to test the stopper to make sure it’s working properly.

How to Remove a Flip-It Drain Stopper from a Bathroom Sink

Flip-it drain stoppers are an exclusive design that works very similar to a commercial wine cork tool used to seal wine bottles after they’ve been opened. Its toggle lever expands the shaft of the stopper to seal a pair of O-rings and block the bathroom drain.

To remove a flip-it drain stopper from a bathroom sink, follow these steps:

Step 1: Remove the Stopper

With the flip-it drain stopper in its open position, grasp the drain plug with your hands and pull upwards with a bit of wiggling motion to extract it from the drain opening.

Step 2: Check the Stopper

Check the O-rings on the stopper’s shaft. If they are broken or cracked, you need to put new O-rings or replace the whole stopper.

Step 3: Scour It

Don’t forget to clean the stopper while it is still out from the drain opening.

Step 4: Reattach the Flip-It Stopper

With the stopper toggle lever in its position, put the stopper’s shaft in the drain opening and press down firmly until it snaps down in its places.

Step 5: See If It’s Working the Stopper

Don’t forget to test the flip-it stopper if it’s working properly.

How to Remove a Flip-Lever Drain Stopper From a Bathroom Sink

There are bathroom drain stoppers that are operated by a flip lever fixed on the overflow opening on the tub. Hence they are called flip-lever drain stoppers.

A connecting lift rod with a spring linked to the end moves up and down inside the overflow pipe. This increases and lowers a pivot arm that runs through a horizontal pipe arm and is linked to the stopper.

Extracting a flip-lever drain is slightly different from other stoppers because it is linked to an articulated linkage arm that should be extracted as you extract the drain stopper from the opening.

So, here’s how to remove a flip-lever drain stopper from a bathroom sink:

Step 1: Set the Flip-Lever Drain to Open

Set the drain stopper lever to the open position. Some drain stoppers can be set with the use of a rotating dial.

Step 2: Extract the Drainer Stopper Out

Slowly pull the drain stopper up from the drain opening, and extract the whole rocker arm linkage from the drain opening. You might need to apply some wiggling to remove the arm.

Step 3: Clean the Flip-Lever Stopper

Just like the other stoppers we’ve discussed above, you should clean the flip-lever stopper while it is still extracted.

Step 4: Put It Back

After cleaning, slowly put back the rocker arm into the drain opening until it fits.

Step 5: Test the Tub Stopper

Test the flip-lever stopper to ensure that it operates properly.

How to Clean Bathroom Sink Stopper

If you have a slow draining sink, you don’t have to go out and purchase a new stopper.

Instead, get down on your knees and hands, and clean it.

In this section, you’ll learn how to clean a push pull stopper, twist and pull stopper, flip-it stopper, and a flip lever stopper.

What You Need to Clean Your Sink Stopper

Just scrubbing the sinker stopper won’t do much. So, make sure to prepare the following cleaning tools:

How to Remove a Stopper From a Bathroom Sink

How to Clean a Push Pull Bathroom Sink Stopper

Step 1: First of all, remove the push pull stopper.

Step 2: Then, once extracted, remove the hair using any hair clog removal tool. 

Step 3: As for gunk, get your old, unused toothbrush and a cleaning detergent mixed with water, then start scrubbing the drain trap.

Step 4: Then polish the chrome surfaces using a commercial cleaning detergent or home-available cleaners such as vinegar, baking soda, or lemon.

Step 5: Put it back.

How to Clean a Twist and Pull Bathroom Sink Stopper

Step 1: Of course, you need to extract the stopper first.

Step 2: Then, get your old toilet brush and remove the gunk from inside the drain opening. You can use any hair pulling tool for the accumulated hair.

Step 3: Now, use your old toothbrush and clean the stopper’s body and mounting post using a liquid cleaning solution. Make sure to get rid of any gunk or visible hair buildup.

Step 4: Now, just like what we did on the push pull stopper, polish the visible chrome surfaces on the twist and pull drain stopper, as well as its cap knob. You can use any commercial chrome polisher, or some house cleaners will do such as vinegar, baking soda, or a lemon.

Step 5: Put it back to the drain opening.

How to Clean a Flip It Drain Bathroom Sink Stopper

Step 1: Extract the flip it bathroom sink stopper from the drain opening.

Step 2: With a hair clog removal tool and your old toothbrush, remove the hair and the gunk.

Step 3: Use the old toothbrush along with a cleaning detergent and scrub the stopper’s body to remove any soap scum or hair.

Step 4: Polish the chrome surfaces of the flip-it stopper’s body using any commercial chrome polish product or vinegar, baking soda, or lemon.

Step 5: Put it back.

How to Clean a Flip Lever Bathroom Sink Stopper

Step 1: Take out the flip lever bathroom sink stopper from the drain opening.

Step 2: Clean any debris, soap scum, or hair off the stopper and its rocker arm. A flip-lever stopper is more likely to accumulate debris compared to any other type of bathroom stopper.

Step 3: If you found a lime buildup on the brass rocker arm, clean it off using a commercial lime cleaner. A cheap alternative option is to soak it in vinegar.

Step 4: Polish the visible chrome surfaces of the flip levers body with a commercial chrome polish product. You can also use vinegar, baking soda, or lemon as cheap alternatives.

Step 5: Put it back and test if it’s working properly.

How to Reattach the Drain Stopper

Reattaching drain stoppers is pretty easy. Just follow the steps below, and you’re good to go.

How to Reattach a Push-Pull Drain Stopper 

Step 1: Fasten the mounting post of the push-pull stopper back into the bottom drain fitting.

Step 2: Then, reattach the knurled knob on top of the stopper.

Step 3: Lastly, don’t forget to test it to see if it’s working correctly.

How to Reattach a Twist and Pull Drain Stopper from a Bathroom Sink

Step 1: Reattach the mounting post to the bottom of the drain fitting. Then put the twist and pull stopper back onto the mounting post. Fasten the set-screw to anchor the stopper to the mounting post.

Step 2: Then test if it’s operating properly.

How to Reattach a Flip-It Drain Stopper from a Bathroom Sink

Step 1: With the flip-it drain stopper’s toggle lever in its open position, put the shaft of the stopper in the drain opening and push down firmly until it snaps down into place.

Step 2: Test it and see if it’s properly working.

How to Reattach a Flip-Lever Drain Stopper from a Bathroom Sink

Step 1: After cleaning the stopper, slowly reinsert the rocker arm into the drain opening until the flip-lever stopper fits into the drain opening.

Step 2: Finally, test it and see if it’s working the right way.

How to Fix Bathroom Sink Stopper

Water may refuse to drain around a bathroom sink drain flange for many reasons. The cause is usually a buildup of hair around the base of your stopper. 

In many bathroom sinks, crud and hair build up around the body of the stopper, which eventually clogs the drain. You need to remove the stopper to clean it. On some bathroom sinks, you may need to pull it right out. 

Here’s a detailed step by step instructions to fix a bathroom sink stopper:

Bathroom Sink Drain, Vessel Sink Pop Up Drain With Detachable Basket Stopper,Anti-Explosion And Anti-Clogging Drain Strainer, Sink Drain Assembly Without Overflow Polished Chrome, REGALMIX RWF082A

Step 1: With a small twist, try to take out the stopper.

Step 2: Lift the stopper from the drain opening and clean off all the dirt. Remove the hair build-up as well. If you see that the stopper’s seal is worn down or it is broken, I advise you to replace it.

Step 3: Now, face the hole at the bottom of your stopper toward the plunger rod’s location, and put the stopper back into the drain hole. Then put the plunger rod so that it engages the hole in the bottom of your stopper, and fasten on the retaining nut with the stopper in its up position. Once the drain is closed, the plunger rod should slope a little bit upwards from the clevis strap to the tailpiece.

plunger rod

Step 4: Then untighten the set screw on the clevis and adjust the strap up or down so that it works the pivot rod to open and close your stopper. Refasten the set screw.

Step 5: If adjusting the clevis screw didn’t work, rest the pivot rod by compressing the spring clip and freeing the pivot lever. Position the clip up to the next clevis hole and put the rod. You may have to keep tweaking this a bit to locate the right hole on the clevis.

Step 6: If you see that the water drips from around the pivot ball, fasten the pivot slip nut that holds the ball in position. You may also have to replace the washer or gasket, or both of them inside the pivot ball-and-rod assembly or stopper assembly.

What’s the Best Drain Cleaner for the Home?

When it comes to drain cleaner for the home, Drano is the best brand. 

Drano drain cleaners are top-rated because of their exceptional versatility while being very effective and affordable.

One good example of Drano drain cleaners is the Drano Max Gel Clog Remover that comes in an 80-ounce bottle. It is safe to use on septic systems, garbage disposals, metal pipes, and PVC. 

Drano Max Gel Clog Remover

Its thick formula cuts through standing water, enabling it to immediately dissolve any clogs, including those caused by soap scum and hair buildup.

More than 12,000+ of positive feedback online-only proves why it is the best drain cleaner for the home.

What’s the Best Homemade Drain Cleaner?

There are many best homemade drain cleaners you can use. But the best of them is the combination of dish soap and hot water. It is cheap and easily available.

You need to boil around two liters of water and mix in a small amount of liquid dish soap. Take the mixture and carefully pour it down to the sink.

This homemade drain cleaner may take a few tries, but it will work very well on great clogs since it’s heating the grease back to a liquid so it can move all the way out of the pipe.

Another best homemade drain cleaner that is on par with the dish soap and hot water mixture is the baking soda and vinegar mixture.

baking soda

Clear the area around your sink and pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain. Then follow that by pouring ½ cup of vinegar. Then plug the drain and allow it to sit for at least an hour.

After one house, unplug the drain and pour a bucket of boiling water down it. Keep on pouring boiling water down the drain until it’s clear of clog. To finalize it, open your bathroom faucet and fill a large bucket with water, then pour it down the drain.

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