How to Remove and Install a Kitchen Sink Strainer

Using a sponge with abrasive pad to clean sink around strainer hole.
Remove old putty and clean sink thoroughly around strainer hole.

Step #3: Clean Sink and Strainer

Use a putty knife or abrasive pad to remove any hardened plumber’s putty from around the strainer opening inside the sink. Follow this with a damp sponge and dishwashing liquid to remove any remaining putty reside or grime around the strainer opening in the sink.

If you’re reusing the existing strainer, clean the underside of it thoroughly as well. On new strainers, wipe off the underside of the strainer with a cloth or paper towel.


  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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