How to Fix a Leaking Kitchen Sink Basket Strainer

A kitchen sink basket strainer plays a crucial role in keeping your sink drain clog-free by trapping food debris and preventing it from entering the plumbing system. However, over time, these basket strainers can develop issues such as leaks, loose fittings, or clogs, which can affect the functionality of your sink.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore common kitchen sink basket strainer problems and provide step-by-step solutions to fix them. By understanding the components, identifying the source of the leak, and following the proper repair techniques, you can restore your kitchen sink to optimal working condition.

Understanding the Kitchen Sink Basket Strainer

To effectively troubleshoot and fix any problems with your kitchen sink basket strainer, it’s important to understand its basic components and how they function. The basket strainer is a removable component located in the sink drain opening. It consists of a strainer body, a basket, and a gasket. The strainer body fits into the drain opening, while the basket catches debris and prevents it from entering the plumbing system. The gasket creates a watertight seal between the strainer body and the sink surface, preventing leaks.

Identifying the Source of the Leak

When dealing with a leaking kitchen sink basket strainer, the first step is to identify the source of the leak. Leaks can occur in various areas, including the connection between the strainer body and the sink, the basket-to-body connection, or the gasket itself. Signs of a leaking basket strainer may include water pooling around the sink, a musty smell, or visible water dripping from the underside of the sink. By carefully inspecting the strainer and the surrounding area, you can pinpoint the location of the leak and proceed with the appropriate repair method.

Tools and Materials Needed

Before starting the repair process, gather the necessary tools and materials. You will need a pair of pliers or a wrench to loosen and tighten connections, a screwdriver to remove screws, a bucket or towels to catch water, and a new gasket or plumber’s putty for sealing. It’s important to have these items readily available to streamline the repair process and ensure a successful outcome.

Step-by-Step Guide to Fixing a Leaking Kitchen Sink Basket Strainer

A leaking kitchen sink basket strainer can cause water damage, create a mess, and lead to further issues if not addressed promptly. Fortunately, with a few simple steps, you can fix the problem and restore your sink to its optimal condition. Follow this step-by-step guide to effectively repair a leaking kitchen sink basket strainer:

  • Gather the necessary tools and materials: Before you begin the repair process, make sure you have all the tools and materials you’ll need. This includes an adjustable wrench, screwdriver, plumber’s putty or silicone sealant, replacement gasket or rubber washer, and towels or a bucket to catch water.
  • Prepare the work area: Start by turning off the water supply to the sink. You can do this by shutting off the valves located under the sink or at the main water supply. Place towels or a bucket beneath the sink to catch any water that may leak during the repair process.
  • Empty the sink cabinet: Clear out any items stored under the sink to create ample workspace. This will allow you to maneuver comfortably and access the necessary components.
  • Disconnect the drain pipes: Use an adjustable wrench to loosen the slip nuts that connect the drain pipes to the basket strainer. Carefully detach the drain pipes from the basket strainer and set them aside.
  • Remove the basket strainer: Locate the locknut on the underside of the sink and use an adjustable wrench to loosen it. Once loosened, you can remove the locknut, allowing you to pull out the basket strainer from the sink.
  • Inspect the basket strainer and gasket: Take a close look at the basket strainer for any signs of cracks, damage, or corrosion. If you notice any issues, it’s necessary to replace the entire basket strainer. Additionally, check the gasket or rubber washer for wear, tears, or deterioration. If required, replace it with a new one.
  • Clean the sink surface: Remove any existing plumber’s putty or silicone sealant from the sink surface using a screwdriver or putty knife. It’s essential to have a clean surface to ensure a proper seal for the new basket strainer.
  • Apply plumber’s putty or silicone sealant: Take a small amount of plumber’s putty or silicone sealant and roll it into a thin, even rope shape. Apply the putty or sealant around the underside of the new basket strainer lip. This will create a watertight seal between the strainer and the sink.
  • Install the new basket strainer: Carefully place the new basket strainer into the sink opening, ensuring it sits flush with the sink surface. The putty or sealant should create a tight seal between the strainer and the sink.
  • Reassemble the locknut: From underneath the sink, position the rubber washer or gasket over the basket strainer threads. Then, secure the locknut over the gasket and tighten it using an adjustable wrench until it is snug. This will hold the basket strainer securely in place.
  • Reconnect the drain pipes: Reattach the drain pipes to the basket strainer, making sure the slip nuts are tightened securely. This will ensure a proper connection and prevent any leakage from occurring.
  • Test for leaks: Turn on the water supply to the sink and check for any signs of leakage around the basket strainer and drain pipes. Inspect carefully for any drips or water seepage. If you notice any leaks, tighten the connections further or adjust the position of the basket strainer as needed to achieve a watertight seal.
  • Clean up and restore: Once you’ve confirmed that there are no leaks, wipe away any excess plumber’s putty or silicone sealant using a damp cloth. Replace any items you removed from the sink cabinet and clean up the work area to complete the repair process.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Over-tightening: Applying excessive force when tightening the locknut or slip nuts can damage the basket strainer or cause cracks in the sink. Use just enough pressure to create a secure connection without over-tightening.
  • Using old or worn-out gaskets: Reusing old or deteriorated gaskets may result in leaks. Always replace worn-out gaskets with new ones to ensure a proper seal.
  • Neglecting to clean the sink surface: Failing to remove old plumber’s putty or silicone sealant from the sink surface can prevent the new basket strainer from sealing properly. Take the time to clean the surface thoroughly before installing the new strainer.
  • Incorrectly applying plumber’s putty or silicone sealant: Applying too much or too little plumber’s putty or sealant can lead to an improper seal. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and apply an even and sufficient amount to create a watertight seal.
  • Ignoring professional help when needed: If you encounter difficulties or the problem persists despite your attempts, it’s best to seek professional assistance. Trying to fix complex issues without the necessary expertise can potentially cause further damage.


Fixing a leaking kitchen sink basket strainer is a manageable task that can save you from the inconvenience and potential damage associated with water leaks. By understanding the components, identifying the source of the leak, and following the step-by-step guide provided, you can successfully resolve this common kitchen sink issue. Remember to practice preventive measures and perform regular maintenance to keep your kitchen sink basket strainer in optimal working condition.

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