How To Remove Kitchen Sink Drain? 5 Steps To Get Your Job Done

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If your kitchen sink drain is leaking or gets damaged for any reason, it indicates that you should remove it and replace it with a new, functional one.

So how to remove the kitchen sink drain? You can pull off this task in only five steps. Let’s follow this guide to renovate your kitchen sink!

How To Remove Kitchen Sink Drain?

The kitchen sink drain, also known as a sink strainer, is the meal contraption that seals your kitchen sink from below and above. Over time, it will wear out.

To prevent it from affecting your plumbing system, please follow these steps to remove and replace it.

Step 1: Prepare the tools

Before taking your first step, let’s see what you need for this project. The required tools and supplies are:

  • A wrench
  • Pliers
  • A new sink drain
  • Oil
  • Plumber’s putty

Step 2: Disconnect the drain pipe

Now, loosen the nut that secures the sink drain to the pipe. It can be a metal or PVC coupling nut. You can turn it counterclockwise to loosen it if it’s PVC. However, the metal will be harder to remove, but the pipe wrench will help.

You must hold the sink drain firmly from above if it starts rotating counterclockwise while you release the nut.

You can hold the sink drain with one hand while using the other to release the nut. If it sounds tricky for you, ask a friend for help.

Next, check which type of sink drain you have. Most modern kitchens use locknut strainers. Other options are bell washer strainers and locknut strainers with screw attachments. We will discuss them in detail in the next section.

Start by disconnecting the pipe
Start by disconnecting the pipe

Step 3: Loosen and remove the sink drain

If there are threads on the largest section of your sink drain where it attaches to the sink, you must use a locknut strainer.

The sink drain may have three to four screws; you need to remove them before disconnecting it. A screwdriver will help you do it easily.

After removing the screws, work on the locknut. You can loosen it by hand by turning it counterclockwise until it falls off the threads and drops on the sink drain.

If the drain spins or moves when you remove the locknut, use the pliers again to immobilize it. Even after you secure the sink drain and the screws are hard to release, you can apply WD40 to them.

Screws don’t secure the locknut; you should loosen it using a wrench before removing the sink drain. So, turn the locknut counterclockwise until it can spin freely.

Sometimes, your locknut has eroded, and the rust makes it hard for you to release it. Then, you need a cutting wheel attachment to slice through it.

At this point, you can wiggle the sink drain to remove it from the sink. First, break the connection between the sink’s rim and the upper part of the sink drain with a little twist and jiggle.

Then, push the drain upward with one hand and pull it out of the kitchen with the other hand.

The sink drain may not break free that easily. In this case, you can use a mallet to tap it until it comes loose. Be careful not to push too hard, as you may damage your sink.

Carefully remove the sink drain
Carefully remove the sink drain

Step 4: Install the new sink strainer

Now, it’s time to install the new sink strainer. First, take some plumber’s putty and roll it into a ring shape around the sink opening. Then, position the ring on the putty you have applied.

Next, extract a little putty from the container and knead it in your hands to soften it and increase its flexibility.

When the putty becomes pliable, shape it into a cylindrical shape resembling a snake. Then, place it over the top side of your sink’s opening rim and use your fingers to press it down evenly around the rim.

Then, push the new sink strainer securely into the putty ring you have set. Whether you use a locknut or bell washer drain, this process will be the same.

Applying enough pressure to squeeze the putty around the rim and secure the strainer is important.

Apply the putter to secure the new sink drain
Apply the putter to secure the new sink drain

Next, place the gaskets and washers that come with the new strainer. Then, you can secure the strainer into position from below.

Now, remember the pipes you disconnected in step 1? Reinstall them to complete your new kitchen drain system.

Step 5: Test the new system

After inserting the plug, pour water into the kitchen sink. Then, set a paper towel along the pipe. If it gets wet, you need to reinstall the drain. And if the towel stays dry, your installation is good.

What Type Of Basket Strainer Do You Have?

As aforementioned, different types of strainers are needed in your kitchen sink. The most common ones include the following:

  • Locknut strainer: Most houses use this type. It resembles a ring surrounding the threads. The rubber washer connects the strainer to the head and seals gaps between them.
  • Locknut strainer but with screw attachments: This strainer has a plate over the threads. There are three to four screws in the corner to let you attach the plate to the kitchen sink.

Bell washer strainer: This enclosed strainer has a nut that secures its housing to the sink.

There are different types of sink drains
There are different types of sink drains


You can easily remove the kitchen sink drain in five steps. Please pay attention to details because one mistake may ruin the whole system.

Feel free to ask if you have any issues when following our guide. We are always ready to help you out.

Thank you for reading!