I was replacing the sink plug. It did not screw in, but rather fall into the plug. And now it's stuck, not moving.

As you can see, the plug lever is fully pushed in and is not raising the plug.

I don't have access under the sink. The plug is completely sealed; water is not draining at all.

I don't have access behind the wall.

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • 11
    No access under the sink is unusual, usually need access to attach the plumbing/shut off valves, when putting the sink in. Might there be access from the wall behind?
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 18:31
  • 5
    Somewhere there is a removable panel to get to the under sink plumbing. When the guys get there, watch watch what they do to open it up - that way, you'll know how to do it next time, in case you should ever need to get under there again. ;)
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 12:39
  • 4
    The middle tile beneath the sink should be removable somehow in order to allow access. Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 13:10
  • 2
    I'd agree, @JackAidley. It appears to be sitting just proud of the wall - the grout lines around it look different than the rest of them, and the tile color looks a bit different too. It may just be a friction fit which leaves the OP with a new version of the original question: "How do I get this access hatch/tile out of the wall?" :)
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 13:29
  • 2
    Incidentally, my mother in law was visiting and managed to pry out the plug with the knife! I wasn't at home so I can't assess damage (if any) to the plug but issue is resolved! Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 14:08

8 Answers 8


Use a small suction cup on it or a utility knife to pry it up from the rim.

Now that you have added the additional photo and comment that there is no access behind the wall (assuming it is drywall which would have to be cut out and replaced after repairs)

I suggest: When you do remove the plug, instead of using that type of plug, use a bathroom sink strainer to prevent items from going down the drain on a daily bases and when you need to stop up the sink use a rubber stopper!

This website has a great animation on the inner workings of this mechanism. https://www.landmarkhw.com/resources/plumbing/how-does-a-sink-pop-up-mechanism-work/2/20#:~:text=SO%20HOW%20DOES%20A%20SINK,down%2C%20effectively%20sealing%20the%20sink.

You didn't state whether the back lever can move up and down freely??Put your fingers on the top of the plug and try twisting the plug around if you can. Some of them have a locking mechanism in them that can get stuck on the pivot rod.

Most likely what happened:

enter image description here

  • 4
    A suction cup is actually a really good idea!
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 18:59
  • I'll have to go out and buy one and hope it works... I'm hoping for a solution that doesn't involve an additional day. Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 20:12
  • Ahmed if you don't have a utility knife you could try using the tip of one of your kitchen knives with a very thin tip to pry it up!
    – SOHR
    Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 21:05
  • Already tried with a thin kitchen knife. Didn't work. It's sealed tight. Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 23:46
  • Ahmed I added more info to answer. Just remember your not in this alone! LOL
    – SOHR
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 1:08

Use the big suction cup you should have on hand... a toilet plunger. You can apply a large amount of vacuum force with a good tug.

Barring that, just about any double-stick foam tape or gob of duct tape should do just fine unless the hardware is really jammed in the pipe, in which case you'll need to establish plumbing access.

  • Ahmed you need a sink plunger not a toilet plunger. Sink plungers have a flat rim. Some toilet plungers are designed to collapse down into a flat rim.
    – SOHR
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 9:31
  • 4
    LOL. No one does until they do. I would buy a toilet plunger. It's a much more useful tool to have around in an emergency.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 13:57

There should be some linkage behind or under the sink for a permanent fix. Get some bubble gum and stick it onto the dry surface of the plunger and lift up.

  • Good idea with bubble gum. (10 minutes later) I just tried that now. The bubblegum didn't stick to the chrome surface of the sink plug... Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 20:12
  • @AhmedTawfik try Blu-Tack or equivalent
    – Rsf
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 11:19
  • Perhaps if I hadn't tried rotate it or move it around it would've worked fine. But now it's lodged in tight. It's good for anyone else who gets in this situation though. :) Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 12:27
  • @Rsf you may be interested to learn that most countries do not have Blu-Tack or anything like it! Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 16:13

Use a vacuum hose, place it directly on the stopper, and pull up. It should be too big to get sucked into the hose and should give you enough suction to lift it.

  • It was a good idea. It didn't work. Any suggestions for additional suction? veed.io/view/… Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 20:19
  • 2
    Shop vac :) :) )
    – rogerdpack
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 23:19

Something of a last resort: you can drill into the plug and pull it out using the drill. You'll need to get a new plug then, but it may be cheaper than opening a wall...

  • Good idea! If you want to be destructive, think of what might be easier to fix! :) Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 9:02
  • 3
    Probably not recommended since the OP seems to live in a rental location. However, it's a possibility for owners.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 12:40

You will not get around removing the tiles under the sink to get access.

Even if you manage to remove the plug, the mechanism that was moving it up/down is disconnected and only accessible from back under the sink.

The little handle in the back of faucet was moving the arm to move the plug up/down. It looks like it is totally disconnected and not repairable from outside.

Consider using Dremel tool with diamond blade to cut precisely along the tiles joints so you can replace them.

  • 2
    Yes, I fear this may be the the only way. Since this is a rental though, I'm hoping such an activity falls under the landlord's remit. This is in the UK. Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 7:39
  • @AhmedTawfik This clearly is a failure of the mechanism that's not your fault, which absolutely puts it onto the landlord. And if they haven't allowed any way for this to be fixed, it's even more their problem.
    – Graham
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 17:44
  • I think the internal mechanism is sound. Rather, I had initially taken the plug out to clean (I noticed a chunk of bar soap peeking under the plug) and when I placed it back, it must've not attached to the mechanism correctly. I'm hoping none of the internals have dropped into the trap though... Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 18:01

How about using hot glue to stick a handle to it.

  • I'd try this if I had hot glue. Although any suggestions on how I'd remove the hot glue after I got it out? Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 20:22
  • 1
    Most hot glue doesn't stick tremendously well to smooth, shiny metal, and those brands that do are still soft and would be easy to clean.
    – spuck
    Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 21:25
  • It's a good idea, but most hot glue won't stick well enough to a smooth, shiny, chromed surface well enough to be effective in the first place. If it did, though, it would clean up pretty well afterward.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 13:09

When you get it fixed, replace it with an old-fashioned rubber plug on a chain.

These have never gone wrong, whilst the pop-up variety are an accident waiting to happen. All those levers and things are unnecessary.

Hope that isn't a electric socket with an appliance plugged in? Anything bigger than a special shaver socket shouldn't be in a bathroom.

  • An appropriate suggestion for those who can. 👍 As for the appliance, that's an electric toothbrush. 😉 Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 11:30

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