Under 2 hours
If you've noticed the water won't drain in your sink (or is draining slower over time), it may be time to get rid of the build up beneath. The first step to doing this is by removing the sink stopper. A sink stopper is the part of the sink, usually circular and made of metal, that is elevated above your sink drain, and is controlled with a lever style mechanism near the handles to stay open or to close. This circular top is usually connected to a longer portion that dips into the drain itself. Removing the sink stopper is necessary to alleivate the build-up issue. Once the stopper is removed, you can easily clean the drain and the stopper itself. In this guide, we'll show you how to remove a sink stopper.
Try Removing Sink Stopper by Hand
Some sink stoppers can be removed by hand, without the need of special tools or equipment. Grab the stopper, lift and twist. If the topper does not come out, continue to Step 2.
Remove Items Under Sink
Before working under your sink, remove the sink cabinets of its contents, so you can more easily move around underneath. If there's not enough light in your bathroom, use a flashlight.
Find Horizontal Plunger Rod
The first step to removing your sink stopper requires that you find then remove the horizontal rod. This rod connects the stopper to the strap, which is a piece of metal with holes. If it's too dark to see, use a flashlight to help with the search.
Find Metal Clip
Once the rod has been located in the strap, you'll see the rod is held in place with a metal clip. Remove the clip so that the horizontal rod and strap are no longer connected. Be sure to remember which hole the rod was in. Or better yet, take a photo!
Tip: Place the clip somewhere it will not get lost.
Remove Pivot Nut
At the other end of the horizontal rod, there is a piece called the pivot nut that is still attached to the sink drain. Before you unscrew and remove the pivot nut entirely, get a bucket or a bowl and place it directly underneath to catch any water that may come out. If you can't unscrew the nut with your hand, a wrench, plumbing wrench or pliers may be needed.
Remove Sink Stopper
Now that the horizontal rod and pivot nut have been removed, you should be able to remove the sink stopper by hand. Simply pull it out. The stopper may be covered in build up and gunk, so while it's out, definitely clean it thoroughly.
Clean Sink Stopper
- Pull off the gunk by hand.
- Run it under warm to hot water and wash with soap.
- Use vinegar or regular detergent.
- Soak the stopper in a soap and water mixture for an extended period of time before cleaning with a rag.
Tip: If your stopper is dirty, it's likely your drain is dirty as well. Invest in a hair remover tool (sometimes called a drain snake) to dislodge hair from the drain. If there's still dirt and grime stuck in the drain, use a drain cleaning chemical or drain cleaning liquid. Follow the instructions on the product to use it effectively. Once you've followed these steps, run the water to confirm there's no more blockages.
Once everything is cleaned and water is running smoothly again, it's time to reassemble the pieces that were removed. Place the sink stopper back first, followed by the pivot nut. Make sure to tighten it well. Then, reattach the rod to the strap and place the metal clip back where it was. When everything is assembled, run the water to test, then put everything back under the sink that was removed.
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