How To Loosen A Stuck Faucet Stem

Faucets can be pretty convenient to use at home. One annoying thing is when one of the bolts becomes stuck and refuses to budge, it leaves a leaking faucet. While some people will replace it, you can remove a stuck bolt easily with the right tools handy.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult with older hardware because sometimes it is almost impossible to remove a faulty part. So, you need to use more extreme measures such as cutting out the part. However, this is not ideal since it can damage your hardware and lead to further issues, which make you pay lots of money for repair costs.

In this article, we will show you how to loosen a stuck faucet stem. You only need to follow it step by step to solve this problem. Let’s explore!

How To Remove A Stuck Faucet Stem
How To Remove A Stuck Faucet Stem

Why Does It Happen?

If you use a faucet for a long time, you are probably familiar with this green or black-colored sewage water coming out of your faucets. The natural processes that occur when water enters into contact with pipes, especially older ones, have led to the buildup of limescale, rust, and other deposits. 

All of them can clog your plumbing lines and avoid the flow of fresh and clean water. In the long term, this can cause damage to your plumbing system, including expensive repairs and replacements.

It can be hard to disassemble if the faucet handle is damaged seriously. In this case, you should loosen the faucet, or else you must use some more stringent measures.

How To Loosen A Stuck Faucet Stem 

Tools Needed 

You will need to prepare some tools to loosen a stuck faucet stem but there is no need to worry about them. These tools can be available at home or easy to buy at some local hardware stores. You can use them rather than buy something expensive or sophisticated. Here are some tools that can help you:

  • Screwdriver (Flathead and Phillips)
  • Pump pliers
  • Core puller
  • Drills
  • Screw extractor

However, you may not need all of these tools depending on each kind of faucet. It would help if you spent time checking whether tools and devices are compatible or not. Or you can bring some old parts to the store so that you can buy the right one. 

Faucet dripping
Faucet dripping

Detailed Steps

Firstly, you need to shut off the water supply, or else it can spray out when you loosen the faucet. To do that, you can turn off the valves that are under the sink.

The next step is removing the faucet handle. There may be water stuck on the pipes, so you should be careful to avoid spilling or accidents. To remove the cap of most faucets, you will need to find a screwdriver and insert it into the gap between the cap and the handle. 

The size of the screwdriver does not matter in this case, but since most capping holes are very small, using a smaller one can make things easier for you (there is less risk of slipping in these smaller gaps). The majority of water faucets have caps located at either the top or near the bottom of them (but not on all models).

In the next step, you need to use a Phillips screwdriver to open the inside. If the faucet does not have Phillips screws, you can loosen the other screws on the two sides. After that, you will see the stem inside. 

At this time, you need to use pump pliers to loosen the nuts. However, there are many kinds of stems, so you need to use different ways. You need to use pump pliers to loosen the nuts if they are cartridge stems. For compression stems, loosen the packed nuts and take the stems out.

How Do You Lubricate a Faucet Stem?

When the faucet is stuck or squeaky, you can use a lubricant to solve this problem. It is also cheap and safe so you can find it in any hardware store near your house.

Using lubrication is one of the effective ways to dissolve rust in the bolt. Rust can make the threads hard to move. You can use WD 40, which is a special lubricant to avoid uncomfortable squeaks and make rust go away. 

In particular, you also need to turn off the water supply, disassemble the faucet handle and expose the inside. After that, you spray the lubricant WD 40 into the entire faucet; wait for some minutes so that the lubricant can penetrate it, and then you can take the faucet away.


It is easy to learn how to loosen a stuck faucet stem so that everyone can do it themselves. This article shows you the detailed instructions, and you only need to follow it step by step. You should prepare all the needed tools or buy them at the nearest store. We hope that you can repair the faucet successfully. If you have any questions, feel free to ask

Rate this post
Photo of author
Edvian Berrios is a homeowner who has become a plumbing expert through self-study and practical experience. Despite not being a professional plumber, Berrios's deep understanding of fixtures and do-it-yourself techniques has enabled him to successfully handle even the most challenging plumbing problems in his own homes.