How to Simply Fix Loose Faucet Handles

Fast fix for an annoying problem

A loose faucet handle will gradually grind away the valve stem that it's screwed to, and should be tightened. Here's a trick to use if the stem is already badly worn.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

TIME

Instant!

COMPLEXITY

Super Simple!

COST

Free!

Tighten a floppy faucet handle

If you have a loose valve handle—on a shower, bathroom or kitchen faucet—tighten the screw that holds the handle in place. With some faucets, you'll have to pry off the metal button at the center of the handle. With others, you'll find a setscrew near the base of the handle. Setscrews usually require a hex (or “Allen”) wrench. If tightening doesn't work, the stem inside the handle may be worn, especially if it's plastic. Here's a trick to tighten worn stems on most types of faucets: Wrap the stem tightly with Teflon pipe thread tape and slip the handle back over the stem. In most cases, a single wrap creates a snug fit.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Allen wrench

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Teflon plumber's tape