How To Fix A Stiff Faucet Handle

Here is how to Stiff Faucet Handle ? When the faucet handle becomes stiff and hard to turn, you know it’s time get this fixed as soon as possible. If you can’t turn the handle and have to shut off the water all together, then it could cause your home or work to run out of water. A seized faucet can create a significant water damage & mold outbreak problem. Don’t wait until it’s too late, call a professional to help fix it.

The faucet handle usually stuck because of corrosion, rust or mineral buildup. Hard Water, years old faucet are the main reasons for these buildups. Don’t worry because I will cover each step with subtle details, from removing the handle to the cartridge and cleaning or replacing it to fit everything back as it was.

Tools You’ll Require To Loosen Stiff Faucet Handle:

Here is the list of tools and other things you require to fix a stiff faucet handle issue.

  • Flat screwdriver
  • Allen Wrench
  • Needle nose pliers / cartridge puller
  • White vinegar
  • Plumber’s Grease
  • Towel / piece of cloth
  • Replacement parts

Step By Step Procedure To Fix A Stiff Faucet Handle:

Follow this step by step guide or process to fix a stiff faucet handle. So let’s get started.

Shut off the water supply:

Shut off the water supply before starting the faucet handle removal procedure; otherwise, the whole area will be messy, and you won’t do your job.

Locate under the sink and turn the valves of the faucet water supply lines off. If you aren’t able to find valves under the sink, you can also turn off your home’s main water supply line.

Cover the drain:

Don’t forget to cover the drain before diving into the procedure to remove a stiff faucet handle. 

Use a towel or a piece of cloth to cover the drain.

Because the nuts and screws you remove while doing your job can be lost in the drain if you don’t cover it. Always keep in mind if you lose any nut or screw, you have to purchase a new one that will waste your time and money.

Remove faucet handle:

First of all, you have to understand which type of handle your faucet has. I mean single, double or lever style handle. After that, locate the button or cap on the side or top of the handle. Now use a flat screwdriver to remove the cap or button from the handle. Use gentle force to remove the cap or button; otherwise, it can break. And if it breaks, then you have to purchase a new one.

After removing the button or cap, you will find a screw, now use a perfect size Allen wrench or screwdriver to remove that screw. Now you can easily remove the faucet handle. If you want to read about all the types of handles and how to remove them if they are stuck, then don’t forget to read our guide on how to remove a stuck faucet handle.

Remove the cartridge:

After removing the handle, now remove the cartridge. Use needle-nose pliers to remove the cartridge. If needle nose pliers do not seem to work, then you have to use a cartridge puller to remove the cartridge.

Suppose you use a cartridge puller to remove a cartridge. In that case, you have to purchase a matching cartridge puller that will pull your cartridge off. Gently remove the cartridge with the perfect tool; otherwise, it can break. So apply gentle force to stay away from any inconvenience.

Clean or replace the cartridge with the new one:

Now clean or replace the cartridge with a new one. If you want to use your old cartridge, then take some white vinegar, mix it with water and apply the mixture on the cartridge and leave it overnight.

White vinegar breaks mineral buildup, and your cartridge starts working perfectly. If your cartridge is extensively damaged, then you have to replace it with a new one. You can also claim replacements of damaged parts if the warranty of your faucet is still valid. And if the warranty is not valid, you have to go to a nearby hardware store to buy a new cartridge. 

Put back everything as it was:

Before putting everything back, apply the plumber’s grease on all the inner parts to save them from corrosion and rust buildup in future. Now put back everything as it was and then turn on the water supply. After that, turn on the faucet and check if there is something wrong.

If there is any leakage, shut off the water supply and apply glue to that particular connection and give it some time to soak properly. After that, turn off the water supply; now you will see everything is working perfectly. That’s it you have done.

How To Fix A Stiff Faucet Handle (video tutorial)


Hard to turn faucet causes inconvenience in doing our daily kitchen jobs. So take a step to fix a stiff faucet handle. Don’t call the plumber for this easy and effortless job. As you have read how to fix a stiff faucet handle, now you can do this yourself.

Once you’ve cleaned the cartridge or purchased a new one if necessary, use the included tool to reinstall the parts. Starting from where it was last removed make sure that you tighten the nut according to the original orientation of your faucet. Replace your handle and tighten that by hand. You need some tools and courage to do this job. So mustered up some courage and gathered all the essential tools to start fixing a hard to turn faucet handle issue.

How do you loosen a stiff faucet handle?

  • Locate the button or cap on the side or top the faucet
  • Use a flat screwdriver to remove the cap or button
  • Now remove the screw which you find inside with a Phillips screwdriver or an Allen wrench
  • After removing a screw, now pull off the handle