What Sealer Works Best for a Kitchen Strainer Basket?

pink glove holding a sponge and cleaning a sink

Most sink strainer assemblies that are installed by plumbers will be installed using plumber’s putty. This material works fine with most sinks. However, there are some reasons why you might use some other type of sealant. The primary reason for using something other than plumber’s putty is because of the material of the sink. Some sinks aren’t compatible with putty and require the use of other types of sealers. Read on to determine the best option for your sink.

1. Plumber’s Putty

a container of plumber's putty

Plumber’s putty is the choice of every professional plumber. It is readily available and creates a seal that lasts a long time. Plumber’s putty is not water soluble and can withstand the wear and tear of a busy kitchen sink. To install a sink strainer using plumber’s putty, you have to remove a golf ball size amount from the container. You should form that small amount into a snake-like shape and wrap it around the opening to the sink. You will then push the strainer down into the hole and apply even pressure to press the strainer down into the putty.

2. Stainless Plumber’s Putty

If you have a porous sink or one that is easily susceptible to stains, you can use stainless plumber’s putty. The makeup of stainless plumber’s putty is pretty much the same as the original product except is not as greasy and won’t leave stains on your sink. To install a sink strainer with stainless plumber’s putty, you follow the same directions as regular plumber's putty.

3. Silicone Sealant

Some newer sinks, even stainless steel ones, are not made for use with plumber’s putty. You won’t have to wonder about this, however. If plumber’s putty is not compatible with your sink, there will be a clear warning on the packaging. To install a sink strainer for this type of sink, you should use a silicone sealant. The sealant will come in a tube similar to caulk and you will use a caulk gun to apply it. Insert the tube of sealant into the caulk gun and cut the tip of the nozzle. You will apply a large bead of the sealant to the flange of the strainer. You’ll then place the strainer into the sink and apply even pressure around the flange to help adhesion. Make sure to wipe the excess sealant from around the strainer flange.

4. Rubber Washer

A kitchen sink.

Some newer sink strainer assemblies come with a large rubber washer that will fit under the flange of the strainer and on top of the opening to the sink. This rubber washer will actually act as the sealer when installing the sink strainer. This method is easy for do-it-yourselfers and allows for replacement of the washer if it begins to fail. To install a sink strainer using a rubber washer as a sealer, you have to first place the washer on the opening to the sink. The opening should be clean and the washer should sit flush. You will then place the strainer in the opening and attach it from beneath the sink.