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As Alure Home Improvements Chief Operating Officer Doug Cornwell points out from firsthand experience no doubt, those pop-up drains in the sink do indeed tend to get choked up—and we don’t mean emotionally.

They get stuck with stuff. They can’t help it. Imagine what they have to put up with, day in, day out.

Cornwell gets right down to it during a recent episode of Alure’s “60-Second Fix: How To Unclog Your Sink Drain.”

“Today we’re talking about sink drains,” he says. “They’re prone to clogging. I’m going to show you why they clog and how to clear the clog.”

First, look at the underneath assembly of the drain.

According to Cornwell, those hooks and wires that help to attach the drain stopper to the sink act as a kind of net that grabs all the debris that you really want to wash down the drain. Think of these things like a little trap or a kind of miniature metallic octopus. It lets liquid flow through, as it’s intended to do, but objects are a different story.

So if there’s hair, food particles, detritus, sticky soap residue, insoluble substances of all kinds (we don’t want to know!), they can all add up to trouble: blockage, big time.

To solve this conundrum of congestion, you have to look under the sink. In this simple demonstration, Cornwell holds up the pop-up drain so you can easily see what he’s getting at.

On the underside of the pop-up drain body is a collar around a protruding knob that’s called a retaining nut. Unscrew this nut and expose the horizontal pivot rod that raises and lowers the drain stopper. It’s connected to the vertical sink-top lever descending from the faucet assembly. Once you’ve loosened the retaining nut on the pop-up drain, you should be able to easily grab the pivot rod and remove it. Doing that should release the pop-up stopper so you can take it from the sink and inspect it.

Now, examine the parts you have at your disposal, so to speak, and clean off all extraneous matter until they’re spic and span, or at least as clean as you can make them.

Once you’re satisfied with their condition, simply reverse the process.

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Slip the pop-up stopper back into the drain. Then insert the underneath pivot rod and make sure it works properly when it’s attached to the sink-top lever.

Next, tighten up the retaining nut so the pop-up stopper is back in place where you started. Except this time, there’s a welcome difference. The water should flow freely down the drain as it’s meant to do.

And if you want to stop the flow, you can do that, too, because the stopper functions without a hitch. When you want to stop up the sink, the stopper seal fits the drain like a glove. Remember, another major problem with a clogged drain is that if the pop-up stopper doesn’t sit properly when it’s closed, it wastes water, and you don’t want to do that, whether you live in a drought or in the middle of a rain forest.

But thanks to the expertise of Alure Home Improvement’s Doug Cornwell, your pop-up drain stopper is clean as a whistle! Now you have the chance to go out and learn how to clog dance!

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