Haunted by the constant noise coming from your leaky sink? Tired of watching your money drip down the drain? Your faucet leaking is more than just an annoying inconvenience, the water waste can add up. There’s good news, though: Fixing a sink yourself is not only cheap, it’s doable for even the most inexperienced homeowner. So put down that phone and pick up some tools, it’s time to repair that dripping faucet!

Tools You’ll Need


  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Replacement parts: cylinder, cartridge and/or new washer/O-ring


  • Penetrating oil 
  • Needle nose pliers 

Before You Start

Step One: Not all sinks are created equal, so it will be up to you to figure out what sort of sink you have before you start with the repairs. A ceramic disk faucet will require you to replace the cylinder, while a cartridge faucet requires a replaced cartridge, and a compression or reverse compression faucet requires a washer/O-ring. 

Step Two: Unless you want to get soaked, you’ll need to turn off the water. Typically, this can be done using valves located under the sink. Unfortunately, if you can’t turn off the water to the sink, you need to turn off the water for your home.

Faucet Repair

Step Three: Remove the decorative handle. Depending on the sink, this can either be done by prying it off with a flat screwdriver, or unscrewing a small screw with a wrench. 

Step Four: Remove screw under cap with a Phillips screwdriver.

Step Five: Use a wrench to loosen and remove the packing nut. If it’s not working, consider using penetrating oil like WD-2 to help. 

Step Six: Once the packing nut is removed, you’ll need to take out the stem. Some can be taken out simply by pulling gently, while others twist out and still others require special tools. When removed, examine the stem to figure out what is damaged. If the rubber O-ring seems to be intact, it might be the cartridge or stem that is damaged. 

Step Seven: To replace an O-ring, carefully remove the old ring from the cartridge. When replacing an O-ring, it will be necessary to ensure your replacement is a perfect fit, so either bring your old O-ring to the hardware store to compare, or purchase a variety of sizes. Once you have your replacement, slide the O-ring onto the cartridge. If the O-ring is not the problem, the cartridge/stem itself might be damaged. In that case, you will want to replace that instead.

Step Eight: Make sure all of the parts are returned securely: return cartridge to its position, reattach packing nut with a wrench, screw cap back on and finally, replace the handle.

Step Nine: Turn back on the water and slowly twist the handle to test. You might have to give it time, water does not always immediately leak from the spout.

If your faucet is still leaking, there might be bigger problems at work. While it could be something as simple as loose parts, it might also be a sign that there’s something wrong with your plumbing. In this case, it’s probably worth calling an expert.

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