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How to Fix a Leaking Kitchen Sink: 5 Ways to Solve the Problem

A leaking kitchen sink is more than a nuisance. The constant drip seeps down, soaking cabinets, walls and floors.

At ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, we’ve restored water-damaged kitchens across Chicago for over 25 years. We know firsthand how a small leak can create big problems.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide for fixing kitchen sink leaks. Read on for smart tips to add to your DIY toolbox.

Before You Get Started

If you’re working on the faucet or sprayer hose, turn off the water supply lines on the wall under the sink. Otherwise, turn off your home’s main water supply.

Keep a bucket, towels and these tools within easy reach.

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Basin wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Silicone caulk

How to Fix a Leaking Kitchen Sink

leaky faucet

1. Leaky Faucet

Problem – When you turn on the water, the sink faucet leaks around its base.

Solution – There are several ways to fix this type of leak. Start with the O-ring that holds the faucet in place. Use your wrench to loosen the faucet coupling nut.

Remove the faucet, and tighten the exposed O-ring stem screw, or replace the O-ring disc.

Dry the area around the faucet base, and then turn the water on. If you still see leaking, you may need to clean or replace the valve seat connection between the spout and faucet.

Power Tip – Diana Rodriguez-Zaba recommends, “Protect the faucet finish as you work by wrapping a single layer of duct tape around your wrench.” 

2. Leaking Spray Hose

Problem – Water leaks from the spray head assembly or the hose.

Solution – Using a small screwdriver, disconnect the spray head from its slide nut. Remove and replace the washer. If the spray head still leaks, disassemble it again, and pry off its C-clip. Replace with a new spray head.

If the leak is coming from the spray hose, you’ll need to disconnect and replace it. Slide the new hose in place, hand-tighten it to the faucet stem, and then secure the connection with your wrench

Power Tip – A basin wrench makes it easier to work in tight spaces under the sink.

3. Leaks Around the Sink Strainer

Problem – The strainer assembly connected to the drain leaks water into the cabinet below the sink.

Solution – Tighten the connection between the sink strainer and the strainer basket.

If this fix doesn’t stop the leak, pull out the strainer, and clean away the old plumber’s putty. Apply fresh putty, and reconnect the strainer. If the assembly still doesn’t stop leaking, replace it with a new sink strainer and basket.

Power Tip – Small strainer leaks can be fixed by applying silicone to the area between the sink and strainer.

4. Leaky Hot and Cold Supply Lines

Problem – Water constantly drips and pools under the sink.

Solution – Tighten the nuts that connect the hot and cold water supply lines to their cutoff valves. Depending on your kitchen sink’s plumbing configuration, there may be several connections to check on each line.

Kitchen sink supply lines that are older than five years probably need replacement instead of repairs.

Power Tip – Make sure your home’s main water supply is turned off before working on the sink supply lines.

5. Leaking Sink Drain Pipe

Problem – When you empty the sink, water drips from the drain pipe.

Solution – This type of leak isn’t as dramatic as a dishwasher leak, but it can cause just as much water damage in the kitchen. Start repairs by tightening the pipe slip nuts, beginning with the one nearest the sink.

If the pipe still leaks, try sealing around the slip nuts with epoxy putty or silicone tape.

Stubborn leaks may require replacing the pipe’s rubber gaskets. Loosen the first slip nut so that you can access the gasket. Replace it, tighten the slip nut, and repeat with the remaining slip nut connections.

Power Tip – When you work on the drain pipe, keep your bucket and towels handy.

Know When to Call Water Damage Pros

water damage restoration equipment

It’s always satisfying when you can take care of a leak with your DIY skills. It’s even better if you can clean up the water damage from a leaky kitchen sink.

There are situations that call for help from water damage professionals, like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore. These are just a few reasons why you may want to bring in our restoration pros.

  • The leak damaged sink cabinet walls and doors.
  • Flooring adjacent to the sink begins to peel or buckle.
  • Drywall under the sink appears stained or crumbled.
  • You notice mold growth that doesn’t go away after cleaning.
  • The kitchen takes on an unpleasant musty odor.

How to Prevent Kitchen Sink Leaks

  • Keep the sink faucet, spout and valve seat connections clean.
  • Inspect supply lines and drain connections once a month.
  • Use a leak detector under the sink, and program it to generate text alerts.
  • Pay attention to unusual odors or sounds in areas around the sink.
  • Don’t crowd the sink cabinet with items that can be stored somewhere else.

Have Water Damage in Chicago, IL or the Suburbs? We’re Here to Help!

You’ve done a good job. You fixed the leak. Now, you just want your kitchen back to normal.

We can help. We take care of all types of water damage with industry-certified restoration expertise. Don’t try to tackle it by yourself. Let ServiceMaster of Lake Shore do the heavy work.

Our teams are standing by, ready for your call: 312-707-8597.

Helpful Resources for Homeowners

WaterSense Tips – EPA

Detecting Household Leaks – EPA

10 Facts About Mold – EPA


Can I use silicone to seal a sink drain?

Yes. Clear silicone is a good choice around a leaking sink drain because it’s very durable. Always work with a product labeled 100% silicone caulk.

Can I use regular household items to fix a leak?

Duct tape can stop a kitchen sink leak, but it’s not a permanent fix. You can take care of most leak repairs with simple tools and supplies, such as a wrench, screwdriver, pliers and plumber’s putty or silicone caulk.

Is it necessary to turn off the water supply when fixing a leak?

If you’re working on the hot and cold supply lines under the sink, turn off your home’s water supply lines directly under the sink.