How to Remove Stuck Kitchen Sink Drain Baskets


A network of pipes beneath your sink guides waste water from the sink to the main drain. Before arriving at any of the pipes water passes through the drain basket, or basket strainer. The basket prevents larger bits of food and other items from reaching the drain and potentially clogging the pipes. Removing the drain basket proves difficult when corrosion binds the drain basket body to its locknut. Tackling the problem with the proper tools frees the stubborn locknut while preventing any damage to your drain assembly.

Things You'll Need

  • Penetrating lubricant
  • Spud wrench or groove-joint pliers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Chisel (as needed)
  • Hammer (as needed)
  • Apply penetrating lubricant thoroughly around the locknut on the underside of the drain basket. Access the underside of the basket from beneath the sink. Give the lubricant between an hour or two to work its way into the locknut threads.

  • Attach the jaws of a spud wrench around the locknut. Alternatively, select a pair of groove-joint pliers large enough to fit around the locknut.

  • Enlist a helper to insert the tips of a pair of needle nose pliers between the cross piece on the topside of the drain basket. The pliers prevent the body of the drain basket from turning during loosening of the locknut.

  • Turn the spud wrench or pliers counterclockwise to loosen the locknut. If the locknut fails to loosen, strike the edge of the locknut to the left using a hammer and chisel. After striking the locknut use the wrench or pliers to resume loosening the locknut.

  • Push the underside of the drain basket up through the top of the drain.

Tips & Warnings

  • If all previous attempts at loosening the locknut fail, cut the locknut using a hacksaw blade. Before using the blade, wrap one end with a thick layer of tape to provide a safe grip.

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