What to Do When Your Sink Drain Stopper Gets Stuck

Before beginning, clear out all items in the cabinet under your sink. Doing so will make working around its mechanisms simpler.

Get a bucket to collect any water that may seep out while disassembling the stopper, and wear rubber gloves as protection.

Now, with a clear cabinet and your trusty bucket in hand, you’re all set to tackle that sink stopper issue; click here for an in-depth list of tricks and tips.

1. Remove the nut

If your sink stopper remains stuck despite your best efforts, removing the nut that secures its strap may be necessary to remove its obstructions. Thankfully, this task should be manageable and efficiently completed using essential tools.

Before removing the nut, carefully clean around the drain opening and collar to remove any gunk that might have been collected there. This step is essential if your drain has become blocked; a drain cleaning product should help loosen and dislodge anything caught there.

Place a bucket underneath the trap to capture any leaks, loosen and remove the P-trap as needed, and then use a nut splitter on the lock nut.

Usually, this can be accomplished using hand tools, but pliers or adjustable wrench may simplify this task; alternatively, you could use chisels and hammers to break off this piece – once completed, you should be able to move the pivot rod up/down without obstruction!

2. Remove the strap

If your stopper has become stuck due to build-up of hair, soap scum or other gunk, now is the time to clean it thoroughly. A toothbrush or similar tool should do just fine to brush away as much build-up as possible, while an alternative method would be soaking the stopper in a mixture of one part vinegar to one part water for about five minutes before immersing back in your stopper’s case.

Once you’ve cleaned out the plug and sink parts, it’s time to address the horizontal rod attached to your drain pipe. Look under your sink to locate it; there should be a retaining nut holding it securely in place – try loosening this by hand first, but if that proves futile, consider using pliers for greater control of this challenging nut.

Once you’ve removed the nut, you should be able to locate a hook at one end of the rod that connects to a metal strap. Pull this out, and remove both the vertical strap and horizontal rod from its positions on either end.

3. Remove the stopper

Remove your P-trap from beneath your sink to thoroughly clear out its drain pipes, and use a drain cleaner product according to its directions on its container.

Under your sink, take a flashlight and shine its beam on the area underneath it. Locate the horizontal rod that connects to the strap (it should be the same as a piece of metal with holes) and any metal clips that secure this part together and locate their small metal clips for removal – keeping the latter somewhere safe so it can be reused later.

Now, you should be able to remove the brass rod by hand; this is the stopper rod you use when opening or closing your sink drain. Replace it into its vertical strap before replacing its spring clip and reattaching its spring clip, securing its rod to its clevis. Reassemble and tighten down its gray nut (you may require a pipe wrench if tightening is difficult). Ensure it covers its ball.

4. Clean the drain pipes

Certain substances like soap scum, crumbs and hair can have difficulty passing down the drain efficiently and thus become trapped in its drain trap over time, potentially leading to clogs.

To avoid such instances, routinely clean the drain trap using an approved drain cleaning product as directed on its label. Remove non-liquid substances from the trap before disposing them in your trash can.

Hot water can help clear drains by dissolving grease and other substances that clog them while breaking them down into digestible forms that don’t impede flow.

If your sink stopper becomes stuck, use pliers to gently pry it free – being careful not to damage the finish on your sink in the process. If this doesn’t solve the issue, replacing its entire assembly may be necessary; these can usually be found at most home improvement, hardware, or discount stores.