How to Remove and Install a Kitchen Sink Strainer

Using special locknut and basket wrenches to remove a sink strainer.
Using special locknut and basket wrenches to remove a sink strainer.

Step #2: Remove Sink Strainer Locknut

Using needle nose pliers to keep a sink strainer from turning.Use either a special locknut wrench or a large pipe wrench to unscrew the old sink strainer (turn counterclockwise).

To keep the sink strainer from turning, insert either a special basket strainer wrench (photo above) or needle nose pliers (photo to right) into the strainer opening.

Once the strainer locknut is loose, unscrew it by hand and remove the tailpiece and nylon washer.


  1. I removed excess putty from the bottom of the sink opening and strainer. However as I tightened the locknut washer some putty eventually came out between the sink and the top of the rubber gasket… when I used less of the putty (an earlier attempt) there wasn’t enough and water eventually leaked from that area. This might fail, too. Frustrating.

    • Katherine,
      Plumber’s putty should squeeze out all around the sink strainer when you tighten up the locknut. A little of the putty may continue to ooze out for a time, but it can be easily wiped off.

  2. Yes, I understand the putty squeezing out around the top of the strainer, but should any come out under the sink, around the gasket(s)?

    • Katherine,
      Putty didn’t squeeze out around the gasket under the sink when I replaced mine, but it should still seal OK if it does.


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