How to Tighten a Shower Handle

Updated: Feb. 01, 2024

Fast fix for an annoying problem

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An hour or less






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.

Tools Required

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Allen wrench

Materials Required

  • Teflon plumber's tape

Project step-by-step (3)

Step 1

Tighten a floppy faucet handle: Worn stem problem

Add more years of life to a worn plastic valve stem by wrapping it with Teflon plumber’s tape.

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Step 2

How to Fix Shower Knob: Tighten the screw that holds the handle in place

wrench BonNontawat/shutterstock

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.

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Step 3

How to Fix Shower Handle: Use Teflon pipe thread tape

tapeWeerameth Weerachotewong/shutterstock

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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