why won't my sink stopper stay up
Kristina Davis

So your sink stopper has fallen out of the way and you are wondering why won’t my stopper stay up? 

Because you can’t seem to get it back in place. Maybe you’ve tried everything under the sun, but nothing works.

There are only two ways this could have happened: either there is a problem with the stopper itself. The stopper might be loose, or there is something wrong with one of its parts like it has been bent.

Why Won’t My Sink Stopper Stay Up?

sink stopper won't stay up

Sinks often come with a drain stopper that allows you to remove water from the drain body and then reinsert it when you’re done. 

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But sometimes, even though this works fine most of the time, some issues could hamper its effectiveness.

If you have a stopper that doesn’t stay up on its own, there are a few things to check.

Step #1: Check The Stopper

First, make sure the stopper isn’t broken or loose. If it’s loose, then tighten it with an Allen wrench until it fits snugly into place. 

You can also use pliers. Next, check that the sink handle is still in good condition and free from cracks or breaks; if not, replace it immediately! 

sink stopper drainage

Step #2: Drop The Stopper

If you’re able to get the stopper down, that’s great. But if not, there are a few other things you can try.

Use a screwdriver or wrench to push down on the top of your sink drain and restart its flow.

You can also use pliers (or plumber’s pliers) directly around where it meets with your sink opening. Do this so that when you pull upward, it lifts as well.

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Step #3: Check The Stopper Lift Rod

If the stopper lift rod is bent, you will need to replace it. The procedure for replacing the rod is very simple. 

Remove the sink stopper.

Then inspect both ends of the lift rod for cracks, dents, or other damage that may have caused it to break off at one end or another. 

lift rod

Step #4: Tighten The Pivot Nut With A Wrench

The pivot nut can be tightened with a wrench. You don’t want to over-tighten it, but you should be able to feel some resistance when turning it.

If you tighten all the way and your sink stopper still won’t stay up, then there may be more work to do!

Tip: If there is any debris caught under your new sink stopper, remove it by wiping it down around its base with a damp cloth before trying again.

Possible Reasons Why A Sink Plug Won’t Stay Up

reasons why sink stopper won't stay up

The first step is taking off the stopper so that you can see what’s going on inside. And then fixing it so that everything works properly again.

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Reason #1: The Chain Is Too Long, Causing It To Unwind

The first thing to check is the length of the chain.

If your sink plug won’t stay up when you try, it could be because the chain is too long for your sink and drain body.

Reason #2: The Drain Plug Is Stuck In The Drain Body

If the sink plug is stuck in the drain body, you may be able to loosen it by using a wrench. 

drain plug is stuck

The stopper is also likely to be stuck in there too and needs to be removed before any more effort can be put into removing it from your sink.

Not loosening it makes lifting back up difficult.

Reason #3: The Plug And Lift Rod Have Failed

The plug and lift rod are two separate parts of the same mechanism.

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The plug is the part that goes into your drain, while the lift rod is what connects to it and forces it up. 

One or both of these may have failed, so you’ll need to replace them both before you can fix this problem.

Steps To Fix These Problems

steps to fix problems

Fixing a sink plug can be done by following the steps below:

Step #1: Remove The Stopper To Try And Unstick It From The Drain Body

Remove the stopper from the drain body. Use a screwdriver to pry it out. Don’t use your hands or tools that are too sharp, as they could damage the drain body.

Step #2: Clean The Stopper, If Debris Or Gunk Buildup Got On It

If you’ve gotten to this point, your sink plug is probably stuck. To get it out and prevent further damage, we’ll need to do some cleaning.

You can use a toothbrush and clean the stopper. You can use any kind of soap or detergent that you like—just make sure not to use anything too harsh on it!

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Then with a small brush or even your finger, clean the drain body itself in several different spots around where it meets with other components.

clean any dirt or debris

Step #3: Reattach The Chain So That It Doesn’t Unwind When You Raise The Stopper

To ensure that the chain stays in place when you raise the stopper, make sure it is in the correct position.

The chain should be taut, but not too tight. If it’s loose and can slip from side to side, then it won’t stay put when used as intended:

Tip: If the chain is too tight, it will break when used as intended because of its lack of flexibility.

Step #4: Adjust Both Ends Of The Linkage 

You can adjust both ends of the linkage (the cord that attaches the lever to the plug) to make sure they’re in line with each other. Make sure it’s not too long. 

If you have a long cord, it will be difficult for you to pull up on it when trying to open and close your sink plug.

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adjust linkage ends

Also, make sure it’s not too short. If your cord is too short, then you won’t be able to reach all parts of your sink plug.

Tip: Ensure that whatever length you choose doesn't get stuck inside either side wall once installed properly.

Step #5: Replace Damaged Parts, Including Plugs And Lift Rods

Replace the damaged plug with a new one if it’s still in good shape.

If you have to replace it because it is broken, use a cordless drill to remove old nuts from the inside of the dishwasher before installing new ones.

Remember to take out all of your stopper bolts.

Tip: Unclog your drain line from its connection at the back of the dishwasher cabinet and pull out all three bolts holding up your lift rod assembly.

How To Fix A Sink Stopper That Won’t Stay Up?

how to fix sink stopper

The sink stopper is a very important part of your kitchen. It keeps your sink from flooding, but if it doesn’t work properly, then you’re in trouble!

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If your sink stopper is stuck, try the following steps:

Step #1:  Adjust The Rod

If you’re using a plastic stopper, make sure it’s snugly in place before you adjust the rods on either side of it. 

You can do this by inserting a screwdriver between each rod. And turning them both until they move freely but don’t fall out. 

If your sink is metal or has some type of rubber material around it, then use pliers instead. 

Step #2: Adjust The Stopper

Adjusting the stopper to make sure it is not rubbing against the sink.

You need to check that there is enough space between your sink and your home wall for an appropriate gap between them.

A small amount of extra room will help keep everything in place.

adjust stopper

Step #3: Add More Screws

If you’ve already tried the previous steps and they didn’t work, then it may be time to add more screws.

To ensure that everything stays in place during use, we recommend adding at least two extra screws per side. These should be longer than what was originally used.

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Step #4. Try A New Drain Plug

If your drain plug is broken, it may be time to replace it. You can do this by removing the old one and installing a new one. 

try a new drain plug

There Are Several Types Of Drain Plugs That Could Be Used

Type #1: A standard pin type (preferred)

Type #2: An Allen-type keyway (if you’re comfortable with using tools)

Type #3: A hexagonal bolt with rubber grommets around its periphery

Tip: If all else fails and nothing works, try using a little grease on the pivot nut or lift rod.


Are wondering why won’t my sink stopper stay up? The good news is that fixing a sink stopper is not as hard as you might think. 

Most of the time, this problem can be fixed with minimal tools and some common sense.

You don’t need to be an expert in plumbing or household repairs; all it takes is a little attention to detail and patience!