I'm trying to remove my bathroom sink stopper so that I can clean out the drain.

I found these instructions for doing so but they talk about a pivot nut that can be loosened. Under my sink, in the place where a pivot nut is shown in the diagram on that link mine has this round fitting with grippy edges. I tried to use a needle nose pliers on it but it just slides and won't grip and I can't get leverage to turn it and loosen it.

What is the correct tool for loosening this fitting? Sorry I don't know much about hardware or plumbing so I don't know the proper term for the round fitting.

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3 Answers 3


Don't bother with all that, just remove the U shaped pipe (The Trap) which should be a pressure fitting that can be easily unscrewed without any tools. Most of the crap will be in that U part of the pipe, the rest you can get out by sticking something like a toilet brush or pipe cleaner up the exposed pipe.

Sink trap

BTW: Be sure to put a bucket under the pipe before you unscrew it, some nasty water will likely leak out.

As for that pivot nut, if you really want to remove it, it USUALLY is easy enough to unscrew with your bare fingers, but if it is rusted you can use a pair of channel lock pliers. If it is just spinning however, it may be all the way off the threads and you just need to pull it back. It is attached to a rod that pivots in the middle of the pipe. You might need to shake it a little to get it loose, it will also probably help to detach the rod that goes from the sink stopper pull to that nut since it will get in the way.

  • +1, and when you replace it, a lot of stoppers can go in two ways, one locked in via the rod going through a hole in the bottom, and another that just rests on top of the rod. I prefer the latter for this exact situation.
    – BMitch
    Aug 18, 2011 at 16:53

use a Zip-It Clean and don't worry about disconnecting anything.

enter image description here

  • A picture, link, or brief description of a zipit would help this answer.
    – Tester101
    Nov 21, 2011 at 21:37
  • it's pretty easy to google. here is a link though. zipitclean.com
    – Zach
    Dec 9, 2011 at 14:07
  • Two different clogs in these sinks, one is garbage buildup in the trap, the other is hair catching around the stopper mechanism. This device truly is the least invasive and least damage prone method. Run down the plughole twice and you usually are through vs. hard water clogged threads, channel lock ovalled cap nut, eventually leading to crossed threads, damaged ball pivot seals, the annoyance of spending your weekend under a sink with sewage water dripping in your face and the eventual need for replacement of the sink tailpiece when your damage makes it necessary. For me the choice was easy. Jul 13, 2013 at 17:16

I had the same problem today. Found your post. Eventually found pliers that looked like this in my garage and it worked just fine. Also found I was trying to unscrew it in the wrong direction. plumbers pliers

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