How to Replace a Kitchen Sink Strainer


Replacing a kitchen sink strainer is a relatively easy DIY project that can help keep your sink working and draining properly. A strainer catches food scraps and debris, preventing them from clogging the drain. Over time, strainers can corrode or accumulate buildup, necessitating replacement. By following a few simple steps, you can remove your old strainer and install a new one. This guide will walk you through the entire process of how to replace a kitchen sink strainer.

What You’ll Need

Before starting this project, make sure you have the necessary supplies:

  • New sink strainer (also called a sink basket)
  • Pipe wrench
  • Plumber’s putty or silicone sealant
  • Rag
  • Bucket
  • Screwdriver

You’ll also want to turn off the water supply lines under your sink before removing the old strainer. Locate the shut-off valves and turn them clockwise to close. Have a bucket handy to catch any water left in the pipes.

Removing the Old Strainer

Start by removing the strainer basket. Lift it out of the strainer body and set it aside.

Next, use a pipe wrench or pliers to loosen and unscrew the strainer body counterclockwise. You may need to apply quite a bit of force to break the seal. Twist it all the way out.

Have a rag ready, as there will likely be some water still sitting in the sink drain. Allow it to drain into your bucket.

Thoroughly clean the sink drain hole and surrounding area with a scrub brush or rag. Remove any old plumber’s putty residue or buildup.

You want a clean surface for the new strainer to adhere to. Wipe the underside of the strainer as well.

Installing the New Strainer

Once prepped, you’re ready to install the new sink strainer.

Start by applying plumber’s putty or silicone sealant around the drain hole. Form it into a rope and press it into place, sealing off the opening.

Insert the new strainer into the drain hole and press down firmly.

From underneath, slide on the friction ring (also called a backup flange) and retaining nut. Tighten the nut several turns clockwise until snug.

Next, screw on the strainer body by hand from above the sink. Make sure the strainer body lines up properly with the nut below.

Use your pipe wrench to finish tightening, securing the strainer body into place. Tighten it about another quarter turn past hand-tight – you don’t want to overtighten.

Give the plumber’s putty about 30 minutes to set.

Finally, insert the basket strainer into the body. You may need to twist it a bit to get it positioned correctly.

Turn your water supply lines back on and check for leaks! You want to verify that the strainer was installed properly without any drips.

How to Maintain and Clean Your New Strainer

To keep your new kitchen sink strainer working properly:

  • Empty the basket regularly and dispose of any collected food waste and debris. Don’t let buildup accumulate.
  • Occasionally fill the basket with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. Let it soak to dissolve grime, then rinse clean.
  • Scrub the strainer basket with a brush as needed to remove stuck-on gunk and residue.
  • Watch for a loose strainer body, which can allow leaks. Tighten with pliers if needed.
  • Replace the plumber’s putty seal if any moisture appears around the strainer.

Following these maintenance tips will help prevent future clogging and drainage issues! Your new strainer should give you years of service.

FAQs About Replacing a Kitchen Sink Strainer

What size strainer do I need?

Measure your sink drain diameter to select the right sized strainer. Standard sizes are 1 1/4″, 1 1/2″, and 3 1/2″, but taking a measurement is the best way to ensure a proper fit.

My strainer won’t come off, what should I do?

Apply penetrating oil around the strainer body, let it soak in for 10-15 minutes, and try unscrewing it again with your wrench. You can also try tapping it gently with a hammer to help break the seal.

Do I need plumber’s putty for under the new strainer?

Yes, plumber’s putty helps create a watertight seal between the strainer and sink. Make sure to apply fresh putty before installing the new strainer.

What if my strainer is leaking after installation?

First, confirm the strainer body is fully tightened. You may need an extra quarter turn with a wrench to completely snug it. Also check for gaps in the putty seal and re-apply if needed.

Can I replace just the basket part?

The strainer basket can be replaced separately if it’s damaged and the strainer body is still in good shape. Match the basket size to your existing unit.

My new strainer doesn’t fit, what’s wrong?

Double check you purchased the proper drain size for your sink. There are adapters available if needed to convert between drain sizes. The sink may also have an odd or custom size.


Replacing a worn-out kitchen sink strainer is a fairly straightforward task that most DIYers can tackle. With the right tools and materials, along with following the proper steps, you can complete the job in less than an hour. Pay attention to prepping the sink surface, making a watertight seal with putty, and securing the new strainer tightly. With routine cleaning and maintenance, your new strainer should serve you well for years before needing another replacement. Just be sure to turn off the water lines first and have a bucket ready – otherwise, expect a big mess!