How to Remove Bathroom Sink Drain in 6 Easy Steps

How to Remove Bathroom Sink Drain in 6 Easy Steps
Picture of Ben Brzovic
Ben Brzovic
Ben has over 15 years of experience in the home renovation industry and over a 30-year background in carpentry.

How to Remove Bathroom Sink Drain in 6 Easy Steps

Hey, I get it. You’re eyeing that jammed-up bathroom sink in Vancouver, fretting over tackling that drain without turning your place into a swimming pool. Been in those shoes myself. Here’s the scoop: mastering the art of yanking out a bathroom sink drain is a must-have trick for any DIY-savvy homeowner.

Why? It can save you a boatload of cash on plumber visits, for one. There’s a genuine buzz in rolling up your sleeves and diving into a home improvement task, using nothing but your own skills. So, are you ready to learn how to remove that pesky bathroom sink drain once and for all? Let’s do this!

Types of Bathroom Sink Drains

When it comes to bathroom sink drains, you’ll encounter a few common types.

Pop-up drain stoppers

The most popular type is the pop-up drain stopper. This consists of a drain assembly with a pop-up stopper connected to a pivot rod. When you push down on the stopper, it seals the drain opening. 

Lifting up the stopper allows water to flow down the drain pipe. I’ve installed my fair share of these over the years. They’re pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. The key is making sure the pivot rod is properly connected to the clevis strap under the sink.

Push-pull sink stoppers

Another type is the push-pull sink stopper. As the name suggests, you simply push down on the stopper to block the drain and pull up to open it and let water through. These are a bit simpler than pop-ups since there’s no hidden pivot rod mechanism. But they can still get stuck or clogged with hair and gunk over time, so you’ll need to clean them periodically.

Lift-and-turn drain stoppers

Finally, there are lift-and-turn drain stoppers. These have a knob on top that you lift and twist to open and close the drain opening. Turning the knob raises or lowers a rubber gasket inside the drain pipe to control water flow. I find these are less prone to clogs than pop-ups. But the gaskets can wear out and need replacing after a while.

Tools and Materials Needed

Alright, before you dive into removing or replacing your bathroom sink drain, let’s make sure you have the right tools and materials on hand.

Adjustable wrench

An adjustable wrench is a must for loosening and tightening the slip nuts and drain pipe connections under the sink. I prefer a 10″ wrench for good leverage without being too bulky to maneuver in tight spots.


A pair of needle-nose pliers will help you grip and pull out the sink stopper and pivot rod. Channel-lock pliers are useful for turning the drain flange if it’s stuck.


You may need a flathead screwdriver to remove the fastening screw connecting the clevis strap to the pivot rod. This allows you to fully remove the drain assembly.


Place a bucket under the P-trap to catch any water that drains out when disconnecting the sink drain pipes. Trust me, you don’t want that dirty water all over your vanity cabinet.

Cleaning supplies

Have some rags or paper towels ready to wipe up spills. An old toothbrush is perfect for scrubbing built-up gunk off the stopper and flange before reinstalling. A bit of an all-purpose cleaner helps cut through soap scum and grime. 

Some other materials that may come in handy: a drain snake for clearing clogs – A replacement rubber gasket or washer – Plumber’s putty for sealing the drain flange – Teflon tape for wrapping pipe threads

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing a Bathroom Sink Drain

Now that you’ve gathered your tools let’s walk through the process of removing that pesky bathroom sink drain.

Prepare the work area.

Start by clearing out the items stored under your sink so you have room to work. Place an old towel on the bottom of the cabinet to protect it. Set your bucket underneath the P-trap.

Remove the pop-up stopper.

With pop-up stoppers, you first need to disconnect the clevis strap from the pivot rod. Look for a small fastening screw and undo it. Then, squeeze the spring clip to release the pivot rod. For lift-and-turn stoppers, simply rotate the knob to the open position and pull the whole assembly up and out.

Disconnect the pivot rod.

Under the sink, you’ll see where the pivot rod connects to the clevis strap. Remove the retaining nut holding the clevis strap to the drainpipe. Then, the pivot nut was unscrewed to release the rod fully.

Unscrew the drain flange.

Next, use your pliers to loosen the slip nuts connecting the P-trap to the drainpipe and wall. Remove the P-trap and set it in the bucket. From above, you should now be able to unscrew the drain flange by turning it counterclockwise. If it’s stuck, apply some penetrating oil and let it sit before trying again. Once loose, lift out the flange and rubber gasket.

Clean the drain opening.

With the stopper and flange removed, take the opportunity to clean out any hair, soap scum, and gunk that’s accumulated inside the drain opening. An old toothbrush or drain snake works well for this. Give the flange and stopper a good scrub, too, before reinstalling. This will help prevent future clogs and ensure a tight seal.

Reassemble the drain

To put everything back together, start by applying a bead of plumber’s putty around the drain opening. Then, insert the cleaned flange and tighten it until it’s snug. Reattach the pivot rod, making sure the clevis strap is secured to the drainpipe. Reconnect the P-trap and tighten the slip nuts. Test it out by running the water and checking for any leaks. If all looks good, give yourself a pat on the back – you just removed and reinstalled your bathroom sink drain.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with the best intentions, working on sink drains doesn’t always go smoothly. Here are a few common issues you might run into and how to troubleshoot them.

Dealing with stubborn drain flanges

If your drain flange is really stuck in place, first try applying a penetrating oil like WD-40 or PB Blaster. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes to work its way into the threads. Then, use a basin wrench or a pair of tongue-and-groove pliers to better grip the flange. Turn it counterclockwise with firm, steady pressure. If it still doesn’t budge, you may need to cut through the drainpipe below the flange with a hacksaw. Just be careful not to damage the sink basin during this process. Slow and steady is the key.

Fixing a damaged pivot rod

Over time, the thin metal pivot rod can become corroded or bent, preventing the pop-up stopper from sealing properly. You can try to straighten a slightly bent rod with pliers. But if it’s heavily corroded or damaged, your best bet is to replace it with a new one. Bring your old pivot rod to the hardware store for a matching replacement. While you’re at it, replace the rubber gasket and washer, too, for a tight seal.

Preventing future clogs and buildup

The best way to avoid clogged drains is to be mindful of what goes down them. Always use a strainer or drain screen to catch hair, soap bits, and other debris. Regularly clean the stopper and flange to prevent gunk from accumulating and hardening. A monthly cleaning with baking soda and vinegar can help dissolve minor buildup. 

And if you do end up with a clog, resist the urge to reach for harsh chemical drain cleaners. These can damage your pipes over time. Instead, try a combination of plunging, snaking, and enzyme-based drain cleaners to break through the blockage. 

With a little care and maintenance, your bathroom sink drain will keep flowing freely for years. Just remember, if you get in over your head, there’s no shame in calling a plumber for backup.

Ready to Revamp Your Vancouver Bathroom Drain? Contact Us Today!

And there you have it, folks – a foolproof guide on how to remove a bathroom sink drain without breaking a sweat (or your bank account). By following these simple steps and using the right tools, you can tackle this common household problem like a pro.

Remember, learning how to remove a bathroom sink drain is just one of the many DIY skills that can save you time, money, and stress in the long run. So go ahead and give it a try – you might just surprise yourself with how handy you can be!

Now that you’ve got this knowledge under your belt, you’re one step closer to being the master of your domain (or at least your bathroom). Happy DIYing, my friend!

Upgrade your bathroom in Vancouver with Skilled Home Renovations. Contact us now to ensure your sink drains smoothly!

FAQs in Relation to How to Remove Bathroom Sink Drain

How do you remove a bathroom sink drain?

Start by unscrewing the pivot rod nut beneath the sink. Then, twist off the drain flange from above. Easy.

How to get a stuck bathroom sink drain out?

To loosen a stuck drain, apply penetrating oil around it. Wait, then use pliers for extra grip and turn.

How do you unscrew the drain cover in the bathroom sink?

Grip firmly with pliers and twist counterclockwise. If it’s screwed on, switch to using a screwdriver instead.

How to remove the pop-up sink plug?

Lift the plug slightly; look for a set screw underneath. Loosen it with a screwdriver and lift out the plug.

Exploring Innovative Bathroom Layout Trends and Future Designs

Bathroom designs and trends continue to evolve, offering new possibilities for optimizing space, enhancing aesthetics, and improving functionality. Staying updated with these trends can inspire innovative layouts.

Embracing Innovative Designs:

  • Smart Technology Integration: The integration of smart technologies, such as motion-sensor faucets or heated flooring, adds a modern touch while enhancing convenience.
  • Luxury Features in Bathroom Design: Consideration of luxury features like freestanding bathtubs or walk-in showers contributes to a spa-like ambiance in larger bathrooms.
  • Efficient Water and Energy Usage: Sustainable bathroom designs incorporate fixtures that minimize water consumption and energy usage, contributing to environmental conservation.
  • Multi-Functional Fixtures: Innovative designs often include fixtures that serve multiple purposes, optimizing space without compromising on functionality or style.

Maximizing Space and Functionality: Single Wall vs. Two Wall Bathroom Layouts

The arrangement of fixtures along one wall versus two walls significantly impacts the flow, accessibility, and perceived space within a bathroom. Understanding the nuances between these layouts helps in making informed design decisions.

Differentiating Single Wall and Two Wall Layouts:

  • Single Wall Layout: Opting for a single wall layout concentrates all plumbing fixtures along a single wall, optimizing limited space in smaller bathrooms while maintaining a streamlined design.
  • Two-Wall Layout: Utilizing fixtures along two walls offers better distribution in larger bathrooms, providing a more balanced layout with separate zones for specific functions like bathing and grooming.
  • Space Considerations: Deciding between these layouts often depends on available space, with single-wall layouts being suitable for tighter spaces and two-wall layouts offering more flexibility in larger areas.
  • Fixture Placement Impact: Understanding how fixture placement affects movement and accessibility helps in determining the most suitable layout for efficient usage.

Tailoring Bathroom Layouts for Accessibility and Safety

Creating an accessible and safe bathroom layout is crucial for individuals of all ages and abilities. Incorporating design elements that prioritize accessibility into the best bathroom layout ensures a functional and inclusive space.

Ensuring Accessibility in Bathroom Design:

  • Clear Opening and Maneuverability: Designing with clear openings and adequate maneuverability allows easy access for individuals using mobility aids or those requiring more space.
  • Consideration for Grab Bars and Support: Installing grab bars strategically near showers, tubs, and toilets provides support and stability, enhancing safety within the bathroom.
  • Accessible Fixtures: Choosing fixtures with accessible features, like higher toilets or curbless showers, accommodates diverse needs and promotes independence.
  • Water Closet and Handwashing Areas: Designating specific zones for the toilet area and handwashing stations contributes to a more organized and user-friendly layout.

Elevate Your Vancouver Home with Expert Bathroom Renovations!

As we conclude this comprehensive guide on optimizing bathroom layouts, it’s evident that a well-designed bathroom significantly contributes to the comfort and functionality of any home. From considering space constraints to prioritizing accessibility and aesthetics of guest bathrooms, the rules of thumb for creating the ideal bathroom layout are diverse and nuanced.

Exploring innovative design trends, considering varied space layouts, and understanding essential elements, such as fixture placement and accessibility features, equips you with all the plumbing knowledge to craft a bathroom tailored to your needs.

Let’s collaborate and transform your bathroom into a functional, stylish oasis that perfectly complements your lifestyle and adds value to your home. Experience the difference with Skilled Home Renovations in Vancouver, BC!