Why does my sink make a dripping sound in the drain or wall? (ANSWERED!)

After using the sink or your kitchen or bathroom, you hear a dripping sound. What is going on?  There are a number of possible causes, let’s go over them. Luckily most of these issues are quite easy to solve.


Your faucet is dripping.

It is possible that your faucet drips and that this creates a dripping sound. It can take a while before these drops of water fall as they have to come together before they are heavy enough to fall to the bottom of the sink. You can replace the faucet or replace parts inside it. This should fix the issue and you shouldn’t hear any drips after this.

Your water supply pipe is leaking

It is also possible that the water supply pipe under your sink is dripping. Tightening the valve can already solve the problem. You can use a wrench to do this. Turn it clockwise to do this. Don’t overtighten the nut as it can crack if you do this. You might have to open up the wall if the water supply is dripping behind it as it is harder to access this.

If the pipe itself is broken, you will have to repair or replace it. The best approach depends on the material that is used for the pipe. We have outlined how you can do this for copper (red pipe) here and PEX (white pipe) here.

The drain of the sink is leaking

Under your sink, there is a plastic tube that drains the water away. It is possible that a small leak occurs there and this can create a dripping sound. Look under your sink to see if you see wet spots. You can also use your hands or a moisture meter to check if there are water drops in this area. 

If you detect a leak, you can open up the drain and replace the broken part. A common issue is a leaking basket strainer. This is a piece in your sink that holds the drain.

Example of a sink. Image by PlumbingInstantFix. All rights reserved.

This can degrade over time and needs to be replaced or reattached. This is outlined in the video above. You have to remove the drain and turn the basket strainer to remove it.

If the leak is in the drain itself, we will have to take other steps. Typically the leak will occur where two parts meet (the fitting). How you replace this depends on the type of material that is used. If you have metal rings that can turn around, tightening might help already. Just turn the rind clockwise.

If you have a (grey) PVC drain, you will have to cut it open with a saw and use primer and glue to add a new piece. We have discussed how you can connect PVC pieces HERE. Other drains use rubber rings that slide in each other, you just have to slide a new piece in it. 

Be careful when you do this as the drain that runs in the wall can be quite fragile. If you break this, you will have to open up the wall. It is possible that the problem is situated there as well. You might want to call a plumber to get this fixed as this issue can cause a lot of damage such as mold


If you live in a hot climate, it is possible that moist air is building up in your room. These small water droplets can add up and create condensation on your sink and drain. You can hear these droplets fall during summer.

To avoid this, you can get a dehumidifier. This device removes water droplets in from the air and makes sure that the air is not too moist. This problem occurs less frequently during the winter as the air tends to be drier during this season. 

Condensation is generally not a problem but can lead to water damage if there is a lot of moisture in the air. You can get a moisture meter to make sure that the air is not too humid. 

The P trap is siphoning water

Every drain under the sink should have a P trap. This is a bent tube that holds water. The goal of the P-trap is to make sure that bad smells and dirty water stay outside. Water can flow back from your drains but the P-trap stops this from happening. 

It is possible that your P-trap is not big enough or that it is broken. Listen where the sound comes from. If you notice that it comes from the P-trap, you might want to call your plumber to get it fixed if the sound bothers you. Most local codes have requirements for the P-trap so it is important that yours follows the local rules. 

Water seeps out of the overflow drain

Most sinks have an overflow. If the water comes too high in the sink, this overflow ensures that water doesn’t flow out of the sink. It is typically a small hole in your sink. Often there is some water standing in this part of your sink as well.

It is possible that you hear some water moving in this part of the sink. Each sink is unique and some designs tend to make noise. This is harder to fix and you will probably have to replace your sink if the sound really annoys you.

Other problems: water leaks in the wall

Every house is unique and there might be another problem in yours. Plumbers have advanced instruments to see what is going on. For example, they can run a camera through the drain of your sink to see if there is a specific problem.

This makes it easier to find and fix the problem. Water doesn’t need a lot of space and a small gap can already create a leak. Some plumbers are specialized in finding water leaks so it is best to call someone that has experience with this issue. These problems can often be fixed in a few hours. 

Look around your sink to make sure that nothing else is making this dripping noise. Finding a water leak behind a wall can be challenging.

To conclude, if you hear a dripping sound next to your sink, it can have multiple causes. From a leaky drain that needs to be fixed to less severe problems such as a noisy overflow drain. Most of these issues are quite easy to solve though.

In some instances, such as a big leak, you will have to call a plumber to get it fixed. Water can cause a lot of damage and lead to dangerous situations so this problem should be addressed as soon as possible. Plumbers can address this issue in a few hours as most leaks are quite easy to repair. 

It can be quite challenging to find the cause of a water leak near your sink. A small gap can already make water drip. You can use your hands to feel where there is a wet spot. Often the sink will also start to smell if there is a smell leak.

You can also look around for wet spots and stains near the sink. Solving this can be as simple as tightening a fitting or making sure that everything is level.

If there is a big leak, you might have to install new drains. Most stores have kits for this so this can be a DIY project if you are interested in it.

If it is a portable sink, make sure to check if the connections are properly made. A small hole in the pipe can already lead to water leaks and drips.