How to Remove a Bathroom Sink Stopper for Cleaning

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Things You'll Need

  • Flashlight

  • Pliers

  • Paper towels

One of the prerequisites of home ownership is some basic knowledge about plumbing. By learning a few tricks about how the different processes of plumbing work, frustrations can be alleviated. If a sink in your home is draining too slowly, removing and cleaning the stopper can often fix the problem. And there's no need to call a plumber to get the job done.

Step 1

Remove items out from under the sink before starting this project. Lie on your back with your head toward the back of the sink cabinet.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

Locate the clip that the plunger rod slips through to hold another rod that leads to the sink stopper. This rod enters the drainpipe directly under the sink drain and before the "P" trap.

Step 4

Locate the nut on the sidewall 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. 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.

Step 5

Remove the rod from the sink stopper and set it aside. Climb out from under the cabinet, remove the sink stopper and clean it. To replace the stopper, follow the previous steps in reverse order.


Use paper towels to wipe up any water that might leak while you are under the sink. This will prevent damage to the cabinet.

When the sink stopper is replaced, check to make sure it functions properly. If not, check the clip and the nut that are a part of they sink stopper mechanism to make sure everything is correctly installed.


Do not overtighten the nut that holds the rod that operates the sink stopper. This will compromise the seal and can cause a water leak.

Do not use pliers on the sink stopper nut unless necessary; then do not apply a lot of pressure. The pliers can damage the nut.


Michael Straessle

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.