How to Remove a Stopper From a Bathroom Sink

Updated on January 3, 2022

Is the stopper stuck in your bathroom sink? No problem, there are several techniques available to remedy the solution depending on your technical abilities and how it’s stuck.

Depending on how it’s stuck you can use a piece of gum, or, if it’s metal, a magnet, and, if that doesn’t work you can go underneath the sink and remove the stopper by undoing the pipe and pushing up on it with a long implement, such as a skewer, flat-head screwdriver, or coat hanger.

Related: 18 Types of Bathroom Sinks

Assess the Situation and Your Abilities

Before you get frustrated and begin cursing the stars and the plumbers that installed the sink, take a quick look at and underneath the bathroom sink.

Once you have a sense of the problem, if it’s just clogged or if the stopper is broken, decide whether you are willing to and able to perform the necessary repair.

Methods to Remove a Broken Stopper

Sometimes the stopper gets lodged in the bathroom sink because it breaks. If this has happened to you, here a few options you can use to try and remove it.

Use Your Hands

Assuming you have the fingernails for it, you can wedge them into the tiny gap between the stopper and the drain and pull the stopper up and out of the drain.

Use a Piece of Gum

Aka, sticky fingers.

If it’s just a matter of the hook popping out of position, which causes the stopper to drop down, use a piece of gum to pull the stopper back up. You’ll still need to reinsert the stopper into place, but at least your bathroom sink can now drain.

Use a Magnet

If you’re lucky enough to have a stopper with a metal top, some are just painted plastic, try using a magnet to pull the stopper back up. Just like the above technique, this one only works if the stopper has popped out of place.

Not just for refrigerators and ruining televisions, magnets can prove quite useful for all kinds of tasks.

Normal Method to Remove a Stopper

If the drain in the bathroom sink is clogged because the stopper is all covered in gunk, then you’ll just need to remove it the normal way.

removing an old sink

Get Hands-on

If the stopper has become lodged for another reason, you might need to undo the drain pipe and dislodge it.


  1. Assemble your tools, a pair of pliers or channel locks, a brush, a bucket, and a poking implement to clear out any debris in the drain.
  2. Go under the bathroom sink and place the bucket underneath the drainpipe, to catch water.
  3. Next, remove the horizontal rod from the plunger and undo the clip that attaches it to the vertical strap.
  4. Pull out the stopper and gaze upon it in disgust and horror.
  5. Clean the stopper thoroughly with soap and water, vinegar, etc., and scrub it with a brush, set it aside when clean.
  6. Stick your poking implement (flat-head screwdriver, etc.) up the pipe and push up on the stopper to remove from the drain.
  7. Reinsert the stopper into the drain.
  8. Reattach the horizontal rod to the vertical strap via the clip and then slide the horizontal rod into the end of the sink stopper.
  9. Test the stopper to ensure that it’s functioning properly and seals the drain.

If All Else Fails

Assuming you’ve exhausted your options and still haven’t been successful, worry not because help can easily be on the way.

Call a Plumber

If you still can’t figure out how to remove the stopper from the bathroom sink, just call a plumber. After all, there’s no shame in needing someone’s help.

Though it may not be the route most of us would prefer to take, you can still classify it as a victory by proxy.

Read Also: How to Fix a Leaking Single-Handle Bathroom Faucet


Assuming you’re unsure of how to approach the issue, start with the easiest solution and work your way down.

Another great approach is to search for a YouTube video where somebody addresses the same problem. Remember to watch the video fully and check the comments for validity. Although not common, sometimes people post false tutorials that can cause more harm than good.

There’s nothing quite as annoying as discovering your bathroom sink stopper is lodged in place. Fortunately, the techniques listed here a great way to fix the problem and demonstrate your prowess. If you’re really in doubt and at your wit’s end call a technically inclined friend or professional.