kitchen faucet

How to Replace a Cartridge in a Faucet: A Comprehensive Guide

Faucets are essential in our homes, and they need regular maintenance and repair to function properly. One of the most common problems with faucets is the cartridge, which controls the flow and temperature of the water. If you notice a leak or a decrease in water pressure, it’s time to replace the cartridge. In this…

Faucets are essential in our homes, and they need regular maintenance and repair to function properly. One of the most common problems with faucets is the cartridge, which controls the flow and temperature of the water. If you notice a leak or a decrease in water pressure, it’s time to replace the cartridge. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover step-by-step instructions, materials, tools, safety precautions, troubleshooting, and helpful tips.

Materials Needed to Replace a Cartridge in a Faucet


  • Cartridge: Purchase a replacement cartridge that fits your faucet. You can find it at your local hardware store or online.
  • O-rings: These rubber rings create a watertight seal and prevent leaks. Make sure to get the right size for your faucet.
  • Plumbers grease: This lubricant helps the O-rings slide into place and prevents corrosion.
  • White vinegar or lime remover: These cleaners dissolve mineral buildup and make it easier to remove the old cartridge.
  • Clean rags: You’ll need them to clean and dry the faucet and its components.


  • Adjustable wrench: This tool is used to loosen and tighten nuts and bolts. Buy one that fits the size of your faucet.
  • Basin wrench: A basin wrench has a long handle and a swiveling jaw that allows you to reach tight spaces under the sink.
  • Pliers: You may need pliers to grip and twist metal parts that are corroded or stuck.
  • Screwdriver: You’ll need a screwdriver to remove screws that hold the handle or faucet in place.

Safety Precautions for Replacing a Cartridge in a Faucet

Before starting any repair, make sure to take the following safety precautions:

  • Turn off the water supply: Locate the water shut-off valve under the sink and turn it off. If you can’t find it, turn off the main water supply to the house.
  • Wear eye protection: Safety glasses or goggles will protect your eyes from debris or chemicals.
  • Wear gloves: Gloves will prevent cuts, scratches, and exposure to dirt or bacteria.
  • Protect the countertop: Lay a towel or a mat on the countertop to prevent scratches or damage.
  • Keep the area well-ventilated: Open a window or turn on a fan to prevent inhalation of fumes or dust.

Instructions for Replacing a Cartridge in a Faucet

Now that you have the right materials and tools and have taken the necessary safety precautions, follow these step-by-step instructions to replace the cartridge in your faucet:

Step 1: Remove the Handle

Use a screwdriver or an Allen wrench to remove the screw or set the screw that holds the handle in place. Depending on your faucet model, the screw may be located under a cap or a button. Once you remove the screw, pull the handle off the faucet. If the handle is stuck, use pliers to twist it gently back and forth until it loosens. 

Step 2: Remove the Cartridge

Use an adjustable wrench to loosen the nut that secures the cartridge to the faucet body. Turn the wrench counterclockwise and remove the nut. If the nut is stuck or corroded, use pliers to grip it firmly and twist it gently. Once you remove the nut, pull the cartridge out of the faucet body. If the cartridge is stuck, use pliers to wiggle it back and forth until it comes loose.

Step 3: Clean and Inspect the Faucet

Use white vinegar or lime remover and a clean rag to clean the inside of the faucet body and remove any mineral buildup. Inspect the O-rings, the springs, and the valve seat for damage

Step 4: Install the new cartridge

Now that the old cartridge has been removed, it’s time to install the new cartridge. Carefully place the new cartridge into the faucet and make sure it is oriented in the correct direction. You should be able to feel the cartridge click into place.

Step 5: Tighten the cartridge

Using the basin wrench, carefully tighten the cartridge in place. Be sure not to over-tighten, as this can damage the cartridge and cause leaks.

Step 6: Re-install the handle

Once the cartridge is securely in place, reattach the handle to the faucet. Use the adjustable wrench to tighten the handle in place. Again, be careful not to over-tighten the handle.

Step 7: Test the faucet:

Before turning the water supply back on, test the faucet to make sure it is functioning properly. Turn the handle on and off a few times and check for any leaks. If everything looks good, turn the water supply back on and test the faucet again.

Related: How to Remove a Single Handle Kitchen Faucet


If you encounter any problems while replacing the cartridge, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot the issue:

  • Make sure the O-rings are properly installed: O-rings are used to make a tight seal between the faucet and the cartridge. If the O-rings are not installed properly, they can cause leaks. Check to make sure the O-rings are in the right place before tightening the faucet.
  • Make sure you’re using the right size wrench: Using the wrong size adjustable wrench can cause you to strip the nuts or bolts, making it difficult to remove or tighten them. Make sure you’re using the correct size wrench for your faucet.
  • Check all connections: If you’re experiencing leaks, check all connections to make sure they’re tightly secured. Leaks are a common problem when replacing a cartridge, so make sure everything is tightly in place.
  • Clean the O-rings: If you notice any dirt or debris on the O-rings, clean them before re-installing. This will ensure a tight seal and prevent leaks.

Related: How to Remove a Kitchen Faucet with a Sprayer

How to Remove a Stuck Faucet Cartridge

Removing a stuck faucet cartridge can be a difficult task but there are some things you can do to fix this problem.

First things first, turn off the water supply and remove the faucet handle. If the cartridge won’t budge, you might need to use a  tool called a cartridge puller. This little gadget can help you extract the cartridge from the faucet body.

And, If you don’t have a cartridge puller, you can try using some WD-40 spray to loosen things up. Simply apply the lubricant to the valve stem and cartridge, wait a few minutes, and then try again.

If all else fails, you might need to get out the big guns and remove the entire valve assembly to access the stuck cartridge.


Replacing a cartridge in a faucet is a simple and cost-effective way to fix a leaky faucet. With the right materials, tools, and safety precautions, anyone can do this repair themselves. Follow the instructions carefully and take your time to ensure the repair is done properly. With patience and attention to detail, you’ll be able to enjoy a properly functioning faucet for a long time.



  • vikram-2-1 How to Replace a Cartridge in a Faucet: A Comprehensive Guide

    My name is Vikram and I have a genuine passion for plumbing and faucets. I've spent countless hours researching and experimenting with different techniques and products to find the most effective solutions for common plumbing problems. My goal is to share my knowledge and experience with homeowners, so they can save time, money, and stress by tackling plumbing issues themselves.

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