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Updated June 13, 2022


Most of us have experienced a blocked sink. Blocked sinks usually happen when the drain stoppers become clogged with scum. And unless you know how to clean a sink drain stopper, these could cause your sink to start running slow, or even reach a point where water does not drain at all.

How to Clean a Sink Drain Stopper

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Sink drain stoppers are usually clogged by soap scum, hairs and sediments. Such clogged drain stoppers not only reduce the functionality of a sink, but they also act as breeding grounds for bacteria, mold and fungi which could pose serious health issues. Therefore, to ensure both your good health and the perfect functionality of your sink, you should make it your goal to regularly clean the drain stoppers.

sink stopper

However, before you can clean them, you need to first remove them. In this article, we discuss how you can remove four different types of sink drain stoppers and clean them in the easiest, yet most effective way possible. Read on!


How to Clean a Lift and Turn Stopper

The lift and turn drain stoppers are popular for their low maintenance costs. They operate by turning the knob to open or close them.

Materials Needed:


The Process:

1. Place the lift and turn stopper in the open position. Then, loosen the top handle using Channellock pliers, or even manually if you can. Stick the screwdriver into the hole at the top part of the stopper, then unthread it. Pull the drain stopper out.



2. Fill a bucket (or tub) with water and vinegar; both in equal parts. Drop the drain stopper into the water-vinegar solution and allow it to soak. Using needle-nose pliers, remove all hair out of the drain.

cleaning bucket

3. Mix baking soda (or hydrogen peroxide) with water, so that it forms a paste. Apply a generous amount of the paste on the drain stopper. Using a clean toothbrush, scrub the drain stopper to remove all dirt and sediments.


4. Pull out the drain stopper. If it still has any remaining stains or debris, scrub again using the baking soda/hydrogen peroxide paste. Once the stopper is completely clean, screw it back into the drain and replace the top.


How to Clean a Push and Pull Stopper

push sink stopper

A push and pull stopper has a similar appearance to that of the lift and turn stopper. However, contrary to the latter, the push and pull stopper works by pulling up and pushing down to plug the drain.


Materials Needed:
The Process:

1. Place the push and pull stopper in the up position. Using the Channellock pliers, remove the top cover. Then, push the drain stopper downwards until you see a post. Loosen this post using the Channellock pliers and pull out the sink drain stopper.

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2. In a clean bucket, add equal amounts of water and vinegar. Drop the drain stopper into the solution and let it soak it for several minutes. Using the needle-nose pliers, remove all hair and gunk from the drain.


3. Pour another vinegar-water solution down the drain. Let it sit for a few minutes, then remove the drain stopper from the bucket. Using a toothbrush, scrub off any remaining gunk and sediments.


4. Replace the stopper into the drain and use the screwdriver to tighten it in place. Also, put back the screw top of the drain stopper.


How to Clean a Toe-Touch Stopper

A toe-touch drain works in a similar operation as the push and pull stopper. To plug it, all you need to do is push in down. On the other hand, to drain it you will have to pop it up. Toe-touch drain stoppers usually have a spring that can be easily pushed with a toe to pop it up.


Materials Needed:
  • Screwdriver With a Flat Head
  • Washcloth
  • Clean Toothbrush
  • Baking Soda
  • Needle-Nose Pliers


The Process:

1. Using the flat-head screwdriver, unscrew the cap of the sink drain stopper. You can loosen the remaining part with your hands. Pull out the drain stopper then check for any cracks or loosened pieces. If there are any, it would be best to replace the sink drain stopper.


2. Using a clean toothbrush, scrub off all debris and sediments on the drain stopper. You can also make a baking soda paste to remove all stubborn stains and gunk, if there are any. Rinse and wipe off the sink drain stopper with a clean washcloth.


3. Using a needle-nose pliers, remove all hair sediments in the drain. Apply a generous amount of baking soda paste in the drain and scrub it using the toothbrush. Rinse the drain and then put back the drain stopper. Using the screwdriver, tighten the top of the drain stopper.


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How to Clean a Flip-It Stopper

Just like its name suggests, a flip-it stopper works by flipped either to the right or left to drain and plug the sink. Unlike other sink drain stoppers which require to be screwed down, the flip-it stopper is only pushed to put it back. Therefore, this drain stopper does not require any tools to remove or put it back.


Materials Needed:
  • Water
  • Baking Soda
  • Needle-Nose Pliers
  • Washcloth
  • Toothbrush


The Process:

1. Place the toggle at the left side. Then, grabbing the drain stopper at its top, pull it out from the drain. Make a paste using baking soda and water. Dip the clean washcloth into the paste, then scrub the drain stopper until it is clean.


2. Using the needle-nose pliers, remove any hair and sediments on both the stopper and the drain. Also, using the baking soda paste and a toothbrush, scrub the drain, paying keen attention to the opening and walls of the drain.


3. Thoroughly rinse the drain stopper then put it back into the drain. Ensure that the toggle is at the left side while putting it back. Then, turn the drain stopper to the right, so that the O-ring and gasket make a tight seal.



There are few things as annoying as a sink that doesn’t drain. Yet, you can completely avoid this inconvenience by regularly cleaning the drain sink stoppers. The above different methods on how to clean a sink drain stopper will help you clean these effectively, so that your sink never blocks or drains water slowly ever again!



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