How to Remove Drain Stopper From Sink

How to Remove Drain Stopper From Sink

Dealing with a clogged sink can be a frustrating experience, and a malfunctioning or obstructed drain stopper often plays a role. Fortunately, removing a sink drain stopper is a task that can be accomplished with ease, provided you have the right tools and a basic understanding of the process. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps for both pop-up and lift-and-turn drain stoppers, offering detailed instructions to help you navigate the process successfully.

Removing a Pop-Up Drain Stopper:

Clear the Area:

Begin by clearing the sink and its surroundings to provide ample space for the task at hand.

Access the Drain Stopper:

Navigate under the sink and identify the horizontal rod connected to the back of the drain pipe.

Loosen the Clevis Screw:

Locate the clevis screw attached to the horizontal rod and use pliers or an adjustable wrench to turn it counterclockwise. This action will loosen the screw.

Disconnect the Rod:

With the clevis screw loosened, disconnect the horizontal rod from the clevis strap. This step frees the stopper for removal.

Remove the Stopper:

Lift the pop-up stopper out of the drain carefully, ensuring you avoid any unnecessary force.

Clean and Inspect:

Take the opportunity to clean the stopper and the surrounding drain area. Additionally, inspect for debris or damage that may be contributing to drainage issues.

Removing a Lift-and-Turn Drain Stopper:

Clear the Area:

As with the pop-up stopper, clear the sink and surrounding area to create a conducive work environment.

Identify the Stopper Type:

Determine whether your stopper has a set screw or if it’s a threaded stopper.

Set Screw Stopper:

If a set screw is present, use a screwdriver to loosen and remove it. This step is crucial for releasing the stopper.

Twist and Lift:

For set screw stoppers, twist the stopper counterclockwise to unscrew it from the drain, then lift it out. Ensure you execute these actions with gentle yet firm movements.

Threaded Stopper:

In the case of threaded stoppers, unscrew them counterclockwise. This can often be accomplished by hand, eliminating the need for additional tools.

Clean and Inspect:

Following stopper removal, take the time to clean the stopper and the drain area thoroughly. Conduct a visual inspection for any signs of blockages or damage.

General Tips:

Gloves: Wear rubber gloves to shield your hands from potential debris and dirty water.

Plunger: Before embarking on stopper removal, try using a plunger to clear any blockages in the drain. This preliminary step may resolve the issue without the need for further disassembly.

Bucket: Position a bucket or basin under the sink to catch any water that might spill out during the removal process. This prevents potential messes and simplifies cleanup.


Q1: Can I use any pliers or wrench to loosen the clevis screw on a pop-up stopper?

A1: Yes, adjustable pliers or a wrench will work. Ensure you turn it counterclockwise to loosen the clevis screw.

Q2: Do I need special tools to remove a lift-and-turn stopper?

A2: No, a screwdriver is usually sufficient for stoppers with set screws. For threaded stoppers, you can often unscrew them by hand.

Q3: What if I encounter difficulties or am unsure during the process?

A3: If you’re unsure or face difficulties, it’s recommended to seek professional plumbing assistance to avoid potential damage to your sink or plumbing system.

By following these detailed step-by-step guides and tips, you can confidently remove different types of sink drain stoppers, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free plumbing experience. Regular maintenance and prompt attention to drainage issues will contribute to the longevity and efficient operation of your plumbing system.


In the quest for a well-functioning sink and a smoothly flowing drainage system, mastering the art of removing sink drain stoppers proves to be an invaluable skill. Whether dealing with a pop-up or lift-and-turn mechanism, the outlined step-by-step guides provide a clear roadmap for homeowners to tackle common plumbing issues.

By taking the time to clear the area, identifying the stopper type, and following the appropriate steps, you can successfully remove a drain stopper without the need for professional assistance. The added tips, such as wearing gloves, using a plunger, and placing a bucket for water containment, ensure a tidy and efficient process.


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