How To Remove A Broken Drain Stopper?

A broken drain stopper can prevent you from draining your sink and cause you much trouble while handling it. It might look simple, but a fractured drain stopper is one of the most troublesome and irritating problems you’ll face in your bathroom. Finding your bathroom sink stopper stuck adds to the misery of finding clogged particles inside the drain and makes it more difficult.

In such cases, removing the broken drain stopper and replacing it is the only solution you’ll be left with, and a few techniques can help you throughout the entire process. With our guide, you can get your work done without the assistance of a plumber.

How Do Drain Stoppers Work? and How To Remove A Broken Drain Stopper?

If you have rubber stoppers, then those are the simplest form of drain stoppers. You place them right on the center of the space that you see on either the bathtub or sink, and it will hold tight not to let water escape. When you observe this rubber stopper, you will notice a metal ring that is a simple pull chain that makes it easy to remove and let water drain.

But, the use of this rubber stopper might seem traditional, and you will find it in old sinks and bathtubs. Suppose you have this type of rubber, then you have an added advantage because you can easily replace it by buying a new one. Also, you can get it from local hardware and are pocket-friendly.

You can easily recognize these plunger drain stoppers because of their large handle and sliding device. When you press the plunger drain stopper into the drain, that will push the seal that will allow it to stop water from passing into the drains. If you pull the lever, you will trigger the second sliding device that will break the seal. Sometimes you may find the drain stopper detached from its position, and you will need to reconnect back to its original place for it to work.

Criteria to Remove a Drain Stopper on Your Own

There are actual drain stopper removers in a plumber’s kit to remove the broken drain stoppers, which is almost like an easy job for them.

But when you want to fix things at home, you cannot rely on what’s inside a plumber’s kit. You have to figure out how to remove drain stoppers without the kit. Considering the type of drain stopper your tub has, some basic methods can help you remove and replace it. These are:

  • Keep in mind what kind of drain stopper your tub has.
  • Arrange the instruments to remove your stopper based on your drain’s structure.

Which Category Does Your Drain Stopper Fall In?

While there are many varieties of drain stoppers, they perform the same function with little or more advantages than one another.

Removing a Trip-Lever Tub Drain Stopper

Triple Lever Mechanism

A triple lever drain stopper contains an internal plunger that, when down, forces the stopper to be in an open position and, when up, forces it to be in a closed position.


These stoppers do not have an internal plunger but contain a knob that regulates the opening and closing of the stopper by twisting up and down, a center set screw for installation, and a cap that is more like a cover on the top.


This stopper also has a knob that regulates the opening and closing of the stopper by pushing and pulling, a center set screw, and a cap. It is a lot easier to operate since it has no complex property of twisting.


The toe-lift has a screw that requires pushing or pulling with your toe and a mechanized spring body which might require replacing a few times in a year. It is more convenient than the others listed above.

Instruments Required:

  • Liquid wrench
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver (flat-head preferred)
  • Drain Wrench
  • Knife
  • Plumber’s putty

Removing A Drain Stopper

Bathroom Sink Pop Up Drain Assembly Faucet Vessel Basin Sink Drain Stopper Strainer w/ Overflow

Don’t know how to remove drain stoppers? Read through the steps below and find out.

Removing A Triple Lever Drain Stopper

A clip is located at the site, which holds the cover plate to the plunger. Removing this clip eventually helps pull the plunger up slowly, and spraying some liquid wrench over the drain pipe loosens up the plunger so it can get out freely.

If it’s still stuck, use pliers to get the rod out by pulling in a straight manner and apply a forceful pull to get it out.

Removing Lift-and-turn Drain Stopper

Use a screwdriver to remove the set screw below the cap of the stopper and pull the stopper out. If it’s still stuck, apply a little more pressure to pull it out.

Removing a Toe-Touch Drain Stopper

Unscrew and lift the top cap of the stopper in a counterclockwise direction, and once it’s removed, pull the stopper out using pliers. In that case, a flat-head screwdriver is more convenient for use.

Removing A Push-and-pull Stopper

A push and pull stopper consists of a knob on the top of the stopper. Unscrew the knob turning it counterclockwise using a flat-head screwdriver, and pull the knob out.

How Do You Clean Drain Stoppers?

Bathroom Sink quick fix: How to remove and clean the Stopper - unclog sink - pop up Drain - YouTube

Now that you can remove a stopper, it helps to understand how you should remove any dirt from it. Fortunately, there is now a unique process to clean for any type of drain stoppers, but the process is the same. You need to assemble items, including screws and any loose object, in a safe place to avoid losing them.

After that, you can now decide on the method that you can use to clean your stoppers. You will need to rely upon one of these methods.

  • You can decide to remove the debris by hand. But this will only apply if you can see the trash and remove it by hand.
  • The second step is to rinse your stoppers with faucet water to get rid of debris.
  • Use a toothbrush to scrub the drain stopper with baking soda, then rinse with water to clear the debris.
  • Finally, it would be best to have a cap of white vinegar, cleaning vinegar, dish liquid, etc., where you will dip the drain stoppers for 30 minutes. After that, you will need to rinse it with water.

After completing the cleaning processes, you will need to dry the drain stopper using a paper towel. It will help if you can clean the drainpipe before closing and returning the stopper to its position. Ensure that you use a method that will clear everything that might pose your drainage system to block.

How Will You Reattach Drain Stoppers?

After removing the stopper and cleaning it, you will attach it back to its original process. The process will require you to do installation backward. To complete the process successfully, you will need to have a flat-head screwdriver or electric drill. After completing the reattaching process, you will need to turn on the water to observe any leaks.

Reattaching stoppers will require different techniques because of their design. It will help to understand some of this process to help you reinstall drain stoppers after removing them. It would be best if you considered the following ways.

Lift and Turn

Before starting the reinstallation process, it is essential to recall the method you used to remove the drain stopper. Get a knob and screw at hand. You can now insert the drain stopper back to the drainpipe, then start left and turn versions.

  • Removable knob. You need to grab any loose screws and insert them at the center of the knob. Next, use a screwdriver and then twist it clockwise so that you can tighten the stopper. Also, you will need to tighten the knob by turning it clockwise.
  • Screw-in base. Here it would be best if you had a flashlight to check on the drain. Then, use the screwdriver and tighten the shrews to the base.
  • Twist style. You will need a wrench to rotate the base as you tighten the drain stopper.


To use this method, you need to know the type of pop you are using. Depending on how you pulled out the stopper, that will determine how you will insert it back. Suppose it involved twisting the drain stopper in a counterclockwise direction before pulling out, and then you will need to rotate clockwise and tighten. It will be best to follow this process when reinstalling as you use a pop-up with a lever.

  • First, you will need to insert the drain stopper back into its position.
  • Then you will need to check on the drawer underneath the sink, which you need to screw to the sink drains. Ensure you position all the components the way you found them before removing them.
  • Finally, it would be best if you had a screwdriver or pliers to tighten to the drain.

Trip Lever

To reinstall the stopper looks much more manageable than removing them. This process will need you to have a screwdriver and screws around you. You need to follow this process to complete it.

  • You need to lower the cylinder into the drain hole.
  • Then lower the arm linkage.
  • Get the trip lever lid on the drain hole.
  • Ensure to align the lever with the screw holes.
  • After aligning then insert screws into the holes.
  • Ensure to insert all the screws into the holes.
  • Lastly, use the screwdriver to tighten the screws.

Toe Touch

Using this method to reinstall your drain stopper is easy as you used to remove it. It’s essential to have a screwdriver before you can begin this process. Let’s see how you are going to reinstall using this process.

  • You begin by inserting the toe touch into the drain as you screw it clockwise.
  • Get a screwdriver and insert it inside the opening at the center. At this point, you need to have the screws inside the holes.
  • Ensure to twist the screws clockwise as you position the drain stopper to avoid leaks after completing the process.
  • Finally, it would be best if you got a cap on top as you twist it clockwise.

Push and Pull

Ensure you have all the requirements close to you before re-inserting the device back to its position. These requirements include the knob, screw, and screwdriver. Follow this process.

  • Get the stopper and insert it back to the drain as you tight it clockwise to tighten it.
  • Insert the screws as you align them to the holes.
  • Get a screwdriver to tighten the screw by turning it clockwise.
  • Grab the knot and position it into the center of the hole as you turn it clockwise until it tightens.

The Advantage of Other Stoppers Over Triple Lever Stoppers

Other stoppers like lift-and-turn, push-and-pull, toe-touch stoppers are pretty convenient to use as they contain knobs and caps over the stoppers. This allows them to be pulled out easily, whereas in triple lever mechanisms, an additional plunger is present, and pulling out the plunger is a challenging task.

Among them, a push-and-pull stopper is more convenient than lift-and-turn models since the latter move up and down, and the perfect area is challenging to locate. In a push-and-pull stopper, there are no complications involved.

Points To Consider While Removing a Drain Stopper

How to Clean a Drain Stopper | LoveToKnow

Down below are some of the points that you should consider while removing the drain stopper.

  • A flat-head screwdriver is convenient to use since they turn slotted screws and are thus more functionally active in push-and-pull and toe-touch stoppers.
  • Spray some vinegar and baking soda onto the drain hole, where dirt and hair may accumulate and block the hole. It may interfere with pulling out the drain stopper and push the stopper to get stuck in a more complex manner.
  • When installing a new drain, a plumber’s putty must be used to seal around the drains by rolling into a long slender shape to wrap comfortably and tighten the drain basket deeper using a wrench and finally screw it to the drain hole by inserting the plunger. In this case, a flat-head screwdriver will work best.
  • Excess putty may tend to stick to the drain basket and cause it to clog the hole again, so it should be wiped off as soon as possible. A knife can be used to scrape this off rapidly.
  • Take care so that the drain has been sealed properly and make sure there are no leaks. To check the leakage, a cellophane tape can be used to test by placing it on the bathtub wall. If the tape is above the water, it will indicate draining of water.
  • While working with a triple lever drain stopper, the plunger should be appropriately pulled out. If the plunger gets stuck, it will create more difficulty in pulling it out.
  • Sanitize the drain hole properly once a month to avoid bacteria and mold accumulation.
  • Use a drain snake or bend the hooked wire to unclog the drains so that the stopper does not get stuck inside.
  • Use push-and-pull stoppers for your convenience as they have no complex mechanism like the triple lever and do not have any difficulty regarding plungers.

Ways To Recognize Problems with Your Drain Stoppers

Drains are essential to seal water from passing bathtubs or sinks when you place them correctly. However, many debris might bring issues that you need to get rid of for your stopper to work well. Some of this debris include hair, dead skin cells, soap, and other bath products that are likely to block it.

To avoid clogging in your drains, you must clean them regularly. Failure to perform this will mean the stopper will prevent water from flowing down the strain. Also, depending on the age, your stoppers are subject to wear and tear that will cause the rubber seal to crack.

Suppose you have a crack on the rubber seal, then it won’t work correctly, sealing the water from running down the drains. At this point, you will need to replace it with another so that you won’t be hiring a plumber to repair it every time. Sometimes you might make simple adjustments to get the rocket arm into position, which will ensure your system will run to your expectations.

Do I Need a Plumber to Fix Drain Stoppers?

Sometimes you may not have the tool necessary to carry out a DIY project. It would be best if you were keen on how you are going to do the task successfully. Suppose you don’t feel confident over handling such an issue, then you will need a professional to help you fix the drain stopper.

Even though doing such a project seems you will save money from hiring a plumber. But you need to know that if you make any mistake while removing and reinstalling your drain stopper, you will likely call for help. So, with such an issue extending to another level, you will spend more dollars than you could have spent before.

However, while hiring a professional, you need to be vigilant on the type of plumber you will need to help you. Ensure you get a plumber from a reliable company or someone who has the experience and license to work in this sector. Here are some reasons you need to hire a professional rather than do DIY when removing drain stoppers.

  • Safety

When operating with tools, you don’t know how they might lead to injuries. To avoid such, you need a professional who has all the tools necessary and can use them without any case of damage.

Plumbers have the proper tools and materials. When you call for a plumber to come to help, you will see them coming with their tools. This is essential to save the time of ordering tools that might take some time for delivery.

Handle Emergency

Sometimes you might be busy handling other business, and back at your home, your bathtub or sink water can’t flow down the drain. This means you won’t have to set aside time out of your business to handle plumbing issues. And this would be the best time to call for a professional drain cleaner.

A blockage may occur at odd hours, and you lack the appropriate tool to open your stopper. This will be the time you have to think of a professional to help you. It might take some time for you to secure the relevant tools for the DIY project because the condition might worsen. Hiring a plumber means you will save on the time you will take to do the project yourself.

Pinpoint Structural Issues

Suppose your drain stoppers aren’t working or keep getting blocked, then there is a high chance of structural issues. This is the reason you will need a professional to help you pinpoint such problems. You will need to have the equipment and be an expert to notice such issues. This will ensure you won’t be able to face similar problems again.

Handle Nasty Smell

Drain stoppers might not be working, resulting in the accumulation of water and waste that produce a nasty smell. This helps if you don’t know how to handle the project yourself to drain the debris. Everything from flushable wipes to food and hair can lead to the production of such nasty odors.

As a result, you will have to call a plumber to help, and they will know what to look for. A professional plumber has experience in handling such situations both in commercial and residential buildings. Having them for your work is an added advantage because their work is guaranteed results.

Your Job Will Be Done in A Better Way

It will be best to go the extra mile to get your job done by a professional. For instance, the plumber will understand how to remove, clean, and reinstall the drain stopper. Furthermore, they will be able to inspect your drain pipes if there is a need to clean them.

Not only will the professional check on your drain stopper, but there might be another situation they will need to remove the trap arm. The idea here is to view what is in the drains system that might cause clogging. So, they will know what to do and help you will fix the issue from happening.


Drain stoppers can be troublesome to remove and replace since they require continuous monitoring throughout the day. But if you can figure everything out, then your work will be far more comfortable than expected.

It will save you the trouble of calling plumbers for such jobs and let you do it all by yourself. If taken correctly, you can regularly protect your drains from getting clogged and remove or replace the stoppers. It will not only help you save some expense but help you learn how to keep your tub all tidy and managed.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.