Click-clack plugs can be great when they work and a real pain when they don’t. If you have ever had the unfortunate experience of having a click-clack plug get stuck in your sink then we hope this article will be helpful. There are several easy solutions for fixing your push button plug so that you will never face such frustration again. First of all – DO NOT hit it with a hammer; doing so could cause damage and lead to expensive repairs down the line, especially if you do any damage to the sink itself.

Click clack plug

What is a Click Clack Sink Plug?

A click clack sink plug is a device that can be found in sinks to prevent the water from going down the hole. It has an internal mechanism that when depressed once, the plug will stay down and then when depressed a second time, it will pop back up.

It is named click clack because of the noise it makes when it is popped into the open and closed positions. They are also known as push plugs and push button plugs.

Why Do Click Clack Plugs Get Stuck?

A dirty sink plug can be caused by countless things, but the most likely reason for a stuck click clack plug? It’s covered in dirt and grime. When you use your sink plug, it will accumulate debris such as food waste or soap scum which can cause it to stick. Another common cause is sand or grit from hand washing when the small particles get stuck in the mechanism.

If this is not cleaned out well enough then it could lead to your plug not working properly so, be sure that you rinse down the sink after use because leaving dirt and debris in the sink can cause problems with the build-up of residue.

How to Free a Stuck Click Clack Plug

We use our sinks daily and in that time they take some punishment. They can wear down or become covered in mould and other grime so your push button plug getting stuck can be quite a common problem. We will have a look at how to free a stuck click clack plug, but the same process can also be followed as part of a regular maintenance routine to keep it clean and germ-free.

What You Need

  • Rubber Gloves
  • Wire Wool
  • Old Toothbrush
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Hot Water
  • Washing-Up Liquid
  • Small Bowl
  • WD40

Step 1 – Remove the Plug and the Click Clack Mechanism

If the plug is stuck in the open position or if you are removing it for maintenance, this is relatively easy. If, however, you are trying to remove the plug that is stuck in the closed position, it may be a little more difficult. The mainstay of the actual plug is the central chrome disk that plugs the hole and if you were not aware, this will unscrew – as I mentioned, this is easy if the plug is in the open position.

  • Unscrew the plug by hand anti-clockwise until it lifts off. This will either expose the mechanism underneath, or it will lift straight out with the mechanism still attached.
  • If the plug is stuck in the closed position, you will need to put on the rubber gloves and apply some downward whilst trying to turn it anti-clockwise.

Note: If you do not have rubber gloves, you will need something else that will provide an appropriate grip on the chrome surface.

Step 2 – Remove the Mechanism

In many cases, the mechanism will not lift straight out along with the plug itself and if it remains in place, this will need to be removed too. Take your pliers and grip the mechanism (gently) and this too should unscrew anti-clockwise.

Step 3 – Clean Thoroughly

Now we get to the dirty bit – cleaning the mechanism.

  • Add some washing-up liquid to a small bowl and fill it with hot water. Then pop the mechanism into the bowl to soak and leave for around an hour.
  • After soaking for around an hour, take your wire wool and give the mechanism a good clean. Now is also a good time to take the old toothbrush and scrub off any grime and mildew that may be inside the plug hole.

Step 4 – Lubricate and Test

Now everything should be nice and clean, you will want to give the mechanism a spray with WD40 or equivalent lubricant and work it into the mechanism by popping it up and down a few times. Repeat this as necessary, you may find that doing this also releases more grime, so you may need to give it another clean and a wipe. If you have reached this point and the click clack plug will still not pop, there is a good chance that it has seized, and it may need replacing with a new one (Amazon link – opens in a new tab).

If the click clack plug does need replacing, we have another article here showing you how to do just that.

Step 5 – Reassemble

Step 5 is just step number 1 in reverse. Insert the mechanism and screw it in clockwise and if it is in 2 pieces, screw on the chrome disk. Ensure that you only do these up finger tight – overtightening can not only cause damage but will make removal in the future more difficult.

Now give it a few pops to make sure that the mechanism is working and then add some water to the sink to ensure that it has been replaced correctly. The plug should create a watertight seal preventing water from draining.

How to Stop Click Clack Plugs from Getting Stuck

Click clack plugs are notorious for getting stuck due to dirt getting into the moving parts but there are a few things that you can do to prevent them from getting stuck in the future.

Rinse Regularly

One of the primary causes of build-up in your plug is soap scum. A sticky residue that is left behind when draining your sink. It is a good idea to rinse through any bathwater, dishwater, or anything else that contains soap with hot water.

After draining the sink, run the hot tap for 15 to 30 seconds to allow the clean, hot water to drain immediately which will help keep the plug clean.

Sink and Drain Unblocker

Personally, I am not a fan of this, and I try to reduce my use of needless chemicals, but you can use a sink and drain unblocked to dissolve any dirt and grime that may be in there. If you want to do this, it is a good idea to do it every few weeks when the sink and plughole are completely dry.

By waiting until the area is dry, when you add the unblocker, it will give the area a fresh coating that will not immediately wash away until you rinse it a short while later.


This one seems obvious, but it is something that most take for granted and do not think about until it is too late. Follow steps 1-5 every 3-6 months to ensure that your plug stays clean and in good working order.

Note: Every 3-6 months in a guide only, this frequency may need to increase depending on how much the area is used and what you are washing away.


There we have it, if your click clack plug is stuck, you should be able to tackle the problem yourself and have it as good as new in no time. Just unscrew it, give it a good soaking, and then scrub it clean and lubricate. In most cases, it really is as simple as that. Occasionally though, parts do fail due to wear and tear but with cleaning and regular maintenance, you can keep it in better condition for longer, if not, replacing it isn’t too difficult either.

How to Free a Stuck Click Clack Plug Infographic

Plumbing Wizard Tips

“Soak for at least an hour in washing-up liquid and very hot water!”

“Only do it up finger tight – overtightening will cause you more problems further down the line!”

“Remove the plug and give it a good clean regularly to improve the lifespan of the popping mechanism!”

“Once drained, rinse through with clean hot water for 15 to 30 seconds to keep any soap residue from building up!”

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you fix a click clack plug that won’t stay down?

A click clack plug that will not stay down will need the mechanism to be removed and thoroughly cleaned. Once the mechanism has been removed, there is a small retaining screw that may need tightening.

Why is my click clack waste not sealing?

If the click clack waste is newly installed or has been hit by something accidentally, it could be misaligned. If, however, the plug is seated correctly, the rubber O-ring that creates the seal could have perished. In this case, it is best to replace the plug.

What’s the difference between a pop-up waste and a clicker waste?

A click-clack waste is a plug that stays in place when depressed and then opens when pressed for a second time. Pop-up wastes are wastes that pops up when a lever (usually next to the taps) is depressed.


Lee Pearce is not just a master plumber; he’s a veritable Plumbing Wizard. With over 30 years of experience in the trenches of pipes and drains, Lee has become the go-to sage for DIY plumbing, saving homeowners thousands in potential call-out charges. As the founder of Plumbing Wizard, he’s dedicated to demystifying the complexities of home plumbing, offering easy-to-follow advice that stands the test of time and pressure. His online blog is a treasure trove of tips, tricks, and tutorials that empower everyday individuals to take charge of their home’s plumbing health. Lee’s practical wisdom is not just about fixing leaks; it’s about imparting confidence and self-reliance. When he’s not writing or elbow-deep in a plumbing project, Lee is passionate about educating the next generation of DIYers, ensuring that practical skills are passed down and preserved.

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