A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Remove a Sink Stopper Easily

Dealing with a clogged sink can be a frustrating experience, but before you reach for the harsh chemicals or call a plumber, it’s worth trying to remove the sink stopper yourself. Whether you’re cleaning out debris or fixing a drainage issue, knowing how to take out a sink stopper can save you time, money, and hassle. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step, so you can tackle this common household task with confidence.

Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace

Before you begin, gather the necessary tools and materials. You’ll likely only need a pair of pliers or an adjustable wrench for most types of sink stoppers. Additionally, it’s a good idea to lay down a towel or bucket to catch any water that may spill during the process.

Step 2: Identify the Type of Sink Stopper

There are several different types of sink stoppers, including pop-up stoppers, push-and-pull stoppers, and twist-and-turn stoppers. Each type may require a slightly different approach for removal, so it’s essential to know which type you’re dealing with before you proceed.

Step 3: Remove the Stopper

For a pop-up stopper:

  • Reach under the sink and locate the horizontal rod connected to the pivot rod assembly.
  • Loosen the retaining nut securing the horizontal rod to the pivot rod assembly using pliers or a wrench.
  • Once the nut is loose, carefully slide the horizontal rod out of the pivot rod assembly.
  • With the horizontal rod removed, you should be able to lift the pop-up stopper out of the sink.

For a push-and-pull stopper:

  • Simply grasp the stopper firmly and pull it straight up out of the sink drain. Some stoppers may have a screw at the top that needs to be loosened before removal.

For a twist-and-turn stopper:

  • Twist the stopper counterclockwise to unlock it from the drain assembly.
  • Once it’s unlocked, lift the stopper out of the drain.

Step 4: Clean and Inspect the Stopper

With the stopper removed, take this opportunity to clean any accumulated debris or hair. A toothbrush or pipe cleaner can be helpful for reaching tight spaces. Additionally, inspect the stopper for any signs of damage or wear that may be contributing to your sink issues.

Step 5: Reassemble the Sink Stopper (if necessary)

If your sink stopper is in good condition and you’ve completed your maintenance tasks, it’s time to reassemble the stopper. Follow the reverse steps of removal, ensuring that all components are securely tightened and properly aligned.

Step 6: Test the Drainage

Once the stopper is back in place, run water in the sink to test the drainage. If water flows freely without any issues, congratulations! You’ve successfully removed and reinstalled your sink stopper.


Here are the FAQs Answers:

How often should I clean my sink stopper?

It’s a good idea to clean your sink stopper regularly to prevent buildup and maintain proper drainage. Depending on usage and the amount of debris that accumulates, cleaning it once a month should suffice. However, if you notice slow drainage or unpleasant odors, it’s best to clean it more frequently.

Can I use any lubricant for stubborn stoppers?

Yes, you can use a lubricant to help loosen stubborn stoppers. Silicone-based lubricants are often the best choice as they are safe for most materials and won’t damage the stopper or drain. Avoid using petroleum-based lubricants as they can degrade certain materials over time.

Is it necessary to turn off the water supply before removing the stopper?

In most cases, it’s not necessary to turn off the water supply before removing the stopper. However, if you’re unsure or if you suspect there may be a leak, it’s a good precaution to turn off the water supply to avoid any potential flooding or water damage.

Can I use the same removal technique for all sink stoppers?

While many sink stoppers can be removed using similar techniques, it’s essential to identify the specific type of stopper you have before attempting removal. Different types of stoppers may require slightly different methods, so it’s best to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a professional if you’re unsure.

When should I seek professional help for sink stopper issues?

While many sink stopper issues can be resolved with basic maintenance and DIY techniques, there are some situations where professional help may be necessary. If you encounter any of the following issues, it’s best to contact a plumber:
Persistent clogs that cannot be cleared with standard methods.
Damage to the stopper or drain assembly that requires replacement.
Leaks or other plumbing problems that occur when attempting to remove or reinstall the stopper.
Any other issues that you’re unsure how to handle or that require specialized tools or expertise.
Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to plumbing issues, so don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance if you’re uncertain or if the problem seems beyond your capabilities.


Knowing how to remove a sink stopper is a valuable skill that can come in handy for any homeowner. By following these simple steps, you can easily tackle common sink issues and keep your drains flowing smoothly. Remember to take your time, use caution, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. With a little effort and know-how, you’ll have your sink back in working order in no time.