Bathroom Faucet Is Hard To Turn – How To Loosen It?

Is your bathroom faucet hard to turn? Do you struggle to get the water flowing in the morning?

Over time, the inside parts of the bathroom faucet can wear out. This makes turning the bathroom faucet handle really hard. Fixing a hard-to-turn bathroom faucet handle is not that tough.

You don’t need to replace the whole faucet. Replacing the damaged parts your bathroom faucet handle will turn smoothly again. With simple steps from this guide, you can repair the stiff bathroom faucet.

Why Your Bathroom Faucet Is Hard To Turn?

Why Your Bathroom Faucet Is Hard To Turn?

There are several reasons for a stiff bathroom faucet handle. Here are the most common causes for a hard-to-turn bathroom faucet:

  • With time, the handle of the bathroom faucet becomes stiff. Faucet age is a common cause for the stiff faucet handle.
  • The inner parts of the bathroom faucet such as O-rings and cartridge wear out due to exposure to air and heat from the hot water. Because of these wear-out parts, the faucet doesn’t turn as easily.
  • Mineral deposits can build up inside the faucet and make the faucet handle hard to turn.
  • Corrosion also causes bathroom faucet handles to become difficult to turn. Metal parts of the faucet and water or air react with each other and become the reason for the corrosion.
  • A damaged handle is another reason for a difficult-to-turn handle. This damage may result from a fall, a blow, or even excessive use of the faucet.

How To Loosen a Stiff Bathroom Faucet Handle?

How To Loosen a Stiff Bathroom Faucet Handle?

You can’t turn the bathroom faucet smoothly if its handle is stiff or tight. For a smooth working bathroom faucet, you need to fix its stiff handle. Follow these DIY steps to loose a tight bathroom faucet handle.

  • Start with prying off the decorative cap from the bathroom faucet handle.
  • Take a flathead screwdriver and gently insert it into the edge of the cap. You should slowly twist the screwdriver to pry off the cap.
  • Now, the screw on the handle is visible.
  • Use a Philips head screwdriver to remove the screw of the handle. Turn the screwdriver counterclockwise to loosen the screw. It will detach the handle completely. Set the handle aside in a safe place.
  • Spray penetration oil on the inner parts of the handle. Let the lubricant sit for 5-10 minutes. This gives time for the penetration oil to seep into crevices and loosen lime and calcium buildup.
  • Now take off any retaining clip or nut from the cartridge and valve to remove them. A plier or adjustable wrench will be the right tool to remove the retaining nut.
  • You should wiggle the valve back and forth while pulling straight up to remove it. For this, you can use a cartridge remover tool to get extra leverage.
  • Inspect the inner parts of the faucet. Look for cracks, wear, or damage. Replace any damaged parts. Before inserting any new part, apply silicone grease for their longer life.
  • Reinstall the valve and push down it firmly.
  • Screw the faucet handle back into place and tighten its screw.

How To Remove a Stuck Faucet Handle and Clean It?

Remove a Stuck Faucet Handle

To clean mineral buildup from the clogged parts of the faucet, you need to remove its handle. Once you remove the faucet handle, you can start cleaning the faucet parts. Here are simple steps to remove a stuck faucet handle to clean it.

Step 1 – Shut off Water Supply

It is essential to turn off the water supply for the faucet before starting to remove its handle. It will avoid any flooding of the water on the countertop.

To turn off the water supply, locate the shut-off valve under the sink area. Turn this valve in the clockwise direction until it stops moving. This will cut off the water supply to the bathroom faucet.

Step 2 – Remove The Handle

To remove the stuck faucet handle, start by examining the handle to identify the type of retaining clip or nut that holds it in place. There are three common types of clips: a flat retaining clip, a tabbed retaining clip, and a screw-on cap.

  • Flat Retaining Clip: Use a flathead screwdriver to pry the clip open and remove the handle.
  • Tabbed Retaining Clip: Use a thin object like a paperclip or straightened coat hanger to push down the tabs and remove the handle.
  • Screw-On Cap: Use a screwdriver to unscrew the cap and remove the handle.

Once the handle is removed, set it aside and prepare to clean it.

Step 3 – Soak Handle and Other Parts In Cleaning Solution

To make the cleaning solution, fill a bowl with warm water and add a tablespoon of baking soda or white vinegar.

Soak the handle and other parts in the cleaning solution for approximately 30 minutes to an hour. The baking soda or vinegar in the cleaning solution will help loosen any mineral buildup.


Step 4 – Scrub The Handle

When you take out the handle and other parts from the cleaning solution, some sticky buildup remains on them. Here you need to scrub the handle and parts to properly clean them.

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or scrubber to remove any remaining buildup and avoid damaging the handle. Rinse the handle and parts thoroughly with warm water to remove the cleaning solution.

How Do You Lubricate a Bathroom Sink Faucet?

When you lubricant a bathroom sink faucet and its parts, rust, and corrosion won’t occur on them easily. The lubrication also increases the life of the faucet.

You can use a penetration oil to lubricate the faucet such as WD-40 or plumber grease.

To lubricate the faucet, you need to remove its parts. Remove the faucet handle by unscrewing its screw. Now remove the cartridge, stem, and O-rings from the faucet.

Take a cotton swab and dip it into the lubricant. Now rub the cotton swab on all parts and joints of the faucet to lubricant them.

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