How to Remove and Clean 3 Types of Drain Stoppers

Cleaning a Drain Stopper May Cure a Clog

Bath plug
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Drain stoppers prevent clogs, but like any home element, they need some TLC. No matter how good your drain stopper is, hair is bound to make its way through. Sadly, if you do not clean your drain stopper every so often, clogs will occur. An easy way to not only prevent a clog, but cure an existing clog is to remove and clean the drain stopper.

Toe-Touch Drain Stoppers

Perhaps the simplest stopper of them all, toe-touch drain stoppers are easy to remove and easy to clean.

As the name suggests, these stoppers can be pushed down and up with your toe. However, when removing and cleaning, your hands may come in handy.

Remove

First, you have to remove the outer cap. In the open position, simply turn the top section counter-clockwise. Sometimes, it may be stuck to the screw beneath it. If that is the case, you’ll have to grab a screwdriver and unscrew just the cap or top section of the stopper.

Next, unscrew the shaft cylinder, or section in the actual drain. You should see a large screw that can simply be unscrewed. Once completed, all should be removed from the drain.

Clean

More often than not, your drain stopper will have a good chunk of hair attached to it. Before cleaning it, try removing as much hair as possible and throwing it in the garbage. Do not throw your hair down another drain. Before opening the drain, take a paper towel and grab as much hair as possible.

Once most of the hair is removed, close your sink drain and run hot water over the stopper. Again, we don’t want to put any hair down the drain. If you do, a sink clog will occur. Clearing such a clog is not a fun process!

Now, we can deep clean the actual stopper. Most are made of metal or chrome. No matter what you use, first try old-fashioned soap and hot water.

Apply a mixture to a hand towel and gently clean the tub stopper. If that doesn’t work, apply some elbow grease.

If the stopper still looks dirty, go for a lightweight cleaner. Some popular chrome cleaners are:

First, mix all options with a little hot water. Apply the mixture to a towel and gently rub the entire drain stopper. Any of these cleaners should remove most, if not all, grime.

Reattach your squeaky clean toe-touch drain stopper.

Twist-and-Turn Stoppers

Another very prevalent drain stopper are twist-and-turn stoppers, also known as lift-and-turn stoppers. They’re easily recognizable by a small knob on the top of the stopper. You can open and close the stopper by twisting the knob.

Remove

Removing a twist-and-turn stopper is a little more difficult than a toe-touch stopper. To start, open the drain stopper. Then, hold the body of the stopper and turn the stopper knob. Once it goes up, you should see a screw on the knob. If not, keep turning.

If you see a screw, you’ll have to unscrew it. Use either a screwdriver or allen wrench to loosen. Most twist-and-turn stoppers don’t require you to remove this screw. Loosening it should let you remove the stopper.

Once the stopper is removed from the post, you can unscrew the post from the strainer.

Clean

The first step in cleaning any drain is to remove as much hair as possible. Follow the steps to cleaning a toe-touch drain stopper. Remember, do not throw hair down another drain. Dispose in the garbage.

Then, try your standard hot water and soap solution. Dip a hand towel in the water and get to work. If the stopper is still dirty, try the following alternatives:

  • Calcium Mineral Deposits (spray)
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Lemon & baking soda
  • Coke

Mix non-spray solutions with hot water. For the calcium deposit, spray directly on the drain and rinse with a rag. For others, apply the mixture to towel and gently rub the entire drain stopper. Follow the steps above, in reverse order, to reattach the drain stopper.

Push-and-Pull Stoppers

Finally, many homeowners also own push-and-pull stoppers. These stoppers look very similar to twist-and-turn with one key difference: Rather than twisting the stopper, you just push and pull. Removing and cleaning, fortunately, is very similar to the two stoppers mentioned above.

Remove

Just like the twist-and-turn, push-and-pull stoppers have a screw beneath the stopper body. To start, open the stopper. Hold the stopper body in place and turn the top counterclockwise to remove. Then, unscrew the brass insert with a flathead screwdriver. Now, you can easily remove the rest of the stopper from the drain. If you want to remove the drain body (not required to clean), use a drain key.

Clean

Like always, remove all hair from the drain stopper. Mix hot water and soap and gently rinse off the entire stopper. Don’t be afraid to apply some force. Since most are made of metal, it can handle it.

Like the other stoppers above, if grime is still present, try any of the following solutions:

  • Calcium Mineral Deposits (spray)
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Lemon & baking soda
  • Coke

Follow directions above to get your drain stopper looking like new again. When you’re done, simply reattach the stopper using the steps above in reverse order.