The issue with my sink is that the drain stopper cannot be removed, so I'm not sure how I can insert the drain snake to unclog it.

I've included a picture of the sink and drain stopper.

How can I unclog this sink when the drain plug cannot be removed?

picture of my sink

  • 2
    I have similar looking sink drains. There are actually a couple of ways around this, depending on where the clog actually is. Key is pictures under the sink showing all the pipes/fittings/etc. Sep 27 at 13:57
  • 6
    The stopper/plug CAN be removed. To clean that drain a plumber or savvy DIY'r would go under the sink and disconnect the plug lever from the stopper rod assembly to remove it, or would disassemble the trap piping under the sink. Sep 27 at 14:07

4 Answers 4


You could use a plunger - I find it helps to block the overflow with a rag or something similar.

  • Doesn't work if you don't cover it. Pull the stopper first.
    – Mazura
    Sep 28 at 1:48
  • 1
    @Mazura works fine - I have 3 sinks with those fitted and they will stay open unless you slam them shut with the plunger... Bit of common sense and control...
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 28 at 5:09
  • 1
    If common sense and toilet plungers went hand in hand I'd be out of a job.
    – Mazura
    Sep 28 at 5:11
  • 1
    @Mazure - just remember half the population are less intelligent than the "average" person... :)
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 28 at 5:12

For the usual "hair clog" affecting that type of sink, there's also a long narrow flexible barbed tool that can be shoved down the drain to pull things that snag on it back up for disposal in trash.


Look under the sink, if applying a plunger to the top fails you.

You can either disconnect the linkage so the stopper can be removed, or (in most cases) remove the trap (sometimes not possible, if an annoying plumber has done a glued-in-place trap to ensure future business by making the trap difficult to service.)

Many of those stoppers can be installed to be removable (typically by twisting 1/4 turn) or not removable by where the drain-rod is inserted on the bottom part. If yours is one of those, you'd only have to disassemble the drain rod to get it out once, if you put it in the other part when reassembling.

Stopper removed

The side that's up is removable by twisting counter-clock-wise. The side that's down is removable only by removing the drain rod. Pardon the appearance, it must be 50 years old. Again, annoying plumbers like to put them in the non-easily-removable way. Though sometimes there's a valid case for limiting the size of what children can easily drop in the drain, if they are the sort of children that learn to pull the stopper out...

  • I've only ever seen these with a single hole
    – Tiger Guy
    Sep 27 at 15:30
  • My narrow flexible barbed tool in this sort of situation is generally not very flexible because it's a length of copper wire (the earth core from UK twin & earth domestic cable works well). But it takes a bit of care to use
    – Chris H
    Sep 28 at 9:26

For completeness, similar looking stoppers exist that can be unscrewed by turning the round cap. These tend to be of a push-to-open, push-to-close ("popup") type, without a lever, though I have come across a lever type with a removable cap.

You can sometimes get a plunger on there even with the cap, and that might be enough. Caustic soda (lye, sodium hydroxide) drain cleaner can also break up clogs caused by hair (or grease).

  • 1
    I had one that looked like that and it definitely /was/ removable: it lifted out relatively easily with a push mechanism activating it from below. After all, if it's not removable there will not only be no way of removing hair etc., but there will be no way to replace the seal (which in my case was a simple O ring) when necessary. Sep 28 at 8:44

You could avoid the need to put a tool down there by using a drain unblocking liquid instead. Different ones are available for hair clogs, and for fat clogs. In my experience they work very well.

  • Chemicals can also be very harsh on pipes and are not recommended for frequent use.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 28 at 11:22

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