How to Replace a Bathroom Sink Plug

Updated February 21, 2017

As one of the most frequently used pieces of plumbing in a bathroom, the sink plug can often stop sealing sufficiently to hold water in the sink or break and hold water when draining is desired. You can solve the problem easily by replacing the failing sink plug, and the procedure can be completed in just a few minutes, returning your bathroom sink to its proper operation.

Disconnect the vertical sink drain control rod from the sink plug pivot arm by removing the small metal connector clamp that attaches the two beneath the sink. This small clamp can be V-shaped, in which case you can release it by squeezing the open end together to free the control rod, or cylindrical, in which case you should loosen the screw in its side with a screwdriver.

Remove the sink plug pivot arm from the drain pipe by turning the locking nut, located on the rear side of the drain line, counterclockwise to remove the nut and then pulling the pivot bar horizontally out of the drain pipe. Use adjustable pliers, if necessary, to free the locking nut.

Remove the old sink plug from the drain by lifting it straight up and out of the sink drain.

Insert the new sink plug into the sink drain and turn the elongated hole in the sink plug’s flat lift arm to align with the pivot arm hole in the drain pipe.

Reinsert the sink plug pivot arm into the hole in the rear of the drain pipe and through the elongated hole in the sink plug’s lift arm, then tighten the pivot arm locking nut onto the drain pipe fitting. The locking nut need only be hand-tightened.

Align the vertical sink drain control rod with the sink plug’s pivot arm and replace the clamp removed in Step 1, adjusting the clamp position on the control rod to ensure that the new sink plug lowers completely to seal the sink drain.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable pliers
  • New sink plug
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About the Author

Paul Massey has been writing since 2009, drawing on a 35-year career in the construction industry. His experience includes 15 years as a general building contractor specializing in architectural design, custom homes, commercial development and historic renovations.