Every homeowner can benefit from some basic knowledge about plumbing, starting with learning how to remove a bathroom sink stopper for cleaning. No tools are strictly necessary, making this a beginner-friendly project that will help your bathroom sink drain faster and potentially alleviate odors.
Getting Your Bearings
Remove items from under the sink before starting this project to give yourself plenty of room to maneuver. You might find it's best to lie on your back with your head toward the back of the sink cabinet. However, most of the parts you need to access can be reached just by kneeling in front of the sink cabinet. Place the flashlight in a corner of the cabinet, facing the bottom side of the sink so you can see what you are doing.
Locate the plunger rod coming down from the back of the faucet. Notice the clip that the plunger rod slips through to hold another rod that leads to the sink drain. This rod enters the drainpipe directly under the sink drain and before the "P" trap.
The rod runs through a hole at the bottom of the sink stopper. When the plunger rod is pulled up, the rod in the drain pipe drops and pulls the sink stopper with it, sealing the drain. When the plunger rod is pushed down again, the rod in the drain pipe lifts up and releases the sink stopper.
Removing the Bathroom Sink Stopper
Locate the nut on the side of the drainpipe. Reach up with your hand to see if you can remove it by hand. If it doesn't turn, use pliers to remove the nut, but do not apply a lot of pressure. The pliers can damage the nut if excessive force is used.
Then go back to the clip and squeeze the ends together. This will allow you to push the plunger rod out. This will free up the rod leading to the sink stopper.
Remove the rod from the sink stopper and set it aside. Climb out from under the cabinet, remove the sink stopper and clean it. If you cannot lift the dropped sink stopper by hand, you may need to carefully lever it out with a small screwdriver. Avoid flushing any debris from the sink stopper down the drain; discard it in the trash to help prevent a clog.
Replacing the Bathroom Sink Stopper
To replace the stopper, the rod that enters the drain pipe must be threaded through the hole at the bottom of the sink stopper. Ask a partner to hold the sink stopper in the correct position if this task proves tricky. Then adjust the spring clip and hand-tighten the retaining nut. Overtightening this nut could compromise the seal and cause a water leak.
When the sink stopper is replaced, check to make sure it functions properly and that no water leaks out by the retaining nut. If something seems amiss, check the clip and the nut that are a part of the sink stopper mechanism to make sure everything is correctly installed.
Michael Straessle has written professionally about the construction industry since 1988. He authored “What a Strange Little Man,” among other books, and his work has appeared in various online publications. Straessle earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in professional/technical writing.