How to Fix a Leaky Kitchen Faucet: 12 Steps to Follow

How to Fix a Leaky Kitchen Faucet 12 Steps to Follow
  • Author: Amanda Arnold
  • Posted On: May 17, 2023
  • Updated On: August 21, 2023

A leaking faucet in a kitchen indicates lack of care and maintenance in the heart of your home. It results in increased water bills and let’s not forget the potential damage it may cause to the kitchen cabinets. You can quickly get it fixed with the help of a professional expert. But if you are a DIYer, you can change the kitchen faucet yourself. Talk about saving money!

This post will point out the common causes behind the faucet leakage, and the steps to take care of it. 

5 Causes of Kitchen Sink Faucet Leakage

5 Causes of Kitchen Sink Faucet Leakage

Here we have discussed the main problems that can cause a leaking kitchen faucet easily. Sometimes homeowners can be pretty oblivious to these issues. 

1. Damaged Kitchen Faucet Handles

Got any loose, corroded, or worn-out handles on the kitchen faucet? If so, it’s about time you inspect the leak at the base of the faucet. Because of the frequent use, wear, and tear at the base is pretty common and ignored more than often. It can cause small gaps at the base of the faucet and the sink. 

2. Broken Sealing Faucet Washers

A faucet washer functions like a barrier to control or stop the water flow from leaking out. That’s where sealing the washer is important. In case it’s broken or worn out, chances are the watertight seal is not workable any longer. 

3. Rusted Valve Seat

A valve seat acts as the bridge between the faucet and the spout. If corroded or rusty, water leakage is one of the common problems besides metal particles in the water. The purpose of the valve seat is to compress the mechanism and keep the tight seal on the spout. 

4. Worn Out O-Rings

Have you ever seen small rubber o-rings fall in the sink? Wondering where it may have come from? Inside the spouts, o-rings are used to support the seal. They are exposed to the water flow almost every other hour of the day. Hence, the reason it easily wears out. Once their longevity surpasses, they do not hold their position and can become loose. 

5. A Faulty or Loose Cartridge

The cartridge is one of the components that play a primary role in controlling the water flow to the spout. It also controls the temperature of the water. With time, cracks may appear and so does the leakage. Because of the mineral buildup the cartridge becomes corroded over a long passage of time. 

6 Steps to Fix a Leaky Kitchen Faucet with One Handle

6 Steps to Fix a Leaky Kitchen Faucet with One Handle

Did you know within an hour you can fix a leaky kitchen faucet for good? Follow these steps carefully. 

1. Learn the Basics of Kitchen Sink Faucet

If you are thinking about how to fix a leaky kitchen faucet, then you need to start with the basic mechanism. Before beginning the repairing process, pile up the tools and equipment before you. Arrange them step by step so that you know which tools to use first and so on. Every kitchen faucet is different, so study the model and design installed in the kitchen. 

2. Turn Off the Water Supply

Whenever you are working on the kitchen faucet, always shut the water supply. The same rule applies when fixing the leaky kitchen faucet. Now, you need to turn off the valve under the sink. They are usually covered with the base cabinet. Once you are confident, the water flow is broken, pat the surface dry. 

3. Use a Wrench to Remove the Faucet’s Handle

When removing the kitchen faucet handle, understand how it was assembled beforehand. You will be working anticlockwise to remove it.  If the faucet is single-handle, the cartridge is under it. To remove it, first, pry off the decorative yet worn-out plastic cap using a wrench. Now the holes for hot and cold water will be exposed. 

4. Take Out the Bonnet

After the cartridge, you need to remove the bonnet. But do it carefully so as not to scratch the chrome over the cartridge. For this purpose, it’s recommended to use slip-joint pliers. They look like needle-nosed pliers and best work for U-shaped retainer clips. 

After you’ve taken them out, line them up aside so that nothing is mixed up. 

5. Install New Cartridge 

At this stage, you will find some resistance from the rubber O-rings in the form of suction. When replacing the kitchen sink handle, do not twist the unit, instead, slide it straight. If it’s a dripping spout issue, then the cartridge is most likely the culprit behind the leak. However, fit the retainer clip and do so snuggly.

6. Reassemble Faucet Handle 

Now you can reassemble the faucet in reverse. Once done, make sure that all parts of the faucet align and nothing is loosened up. Turn on the water supply to check for any further leakage. If you find none, then viola! 

 6 Steps to Fix a Leaky Kitchen Faucet With Two Handles

6 Steps to Fix a Leaky Kitchen Faucet With Two Handles

Most two-handled kitchen faucets are commonly found. Each faucet handle carries a separate cartridge for hot and cold water. To fix a traditional leaking two-handle kitchen faucet, follow these steps.

1. Turn Off the Water Supply

Before fixing any under-the-kitchen sink leaks, shut off the valves to disconnect the water supply.  Within the exterior cover of the handles, is a football-shaped handle (lever). Rotate it clockwise until the water stops flowing. In case you have levers (but no knobs) you will need to rotate the levers. They must be perpendicular to the water pipes. 

In dire circumstances, if water keeps flowing, it’s best to shut off the main valve. Wait for the water to drain out first. 

2. Remove the Faucet Handle for Repair

Before removing either or both handles of the kitchen faucet, examine them for leakage. You may find set screws on the side of the handles. But sometimes a decorative cap is used to conceal them. Most faucets also have a removable lever that you can use to unscrew the base. For this purpose use a screwdriver with an Allen wrench. Do not twist it, instead pull just straight up and remove it from the faucet. 

3. Unscrew Retaining Handle’s Nut

With the help of the pipe wrench or tongue-and-groove pliers, loosen up the cartridge retaining nut. Unscrew the nuts and remove them. In case the faucet has a brass screw you can reuse it for the new cartridge. Because they are old-fashioned trends and may not be easy to locate in the market. 

4. Remove Old Cartridge 

You have to remove the old cartridge carefully to remember the direction. Remember, that most cartridges consist of one or two tabs that snug the faucet body. Pull it out straight and remove the cartridge. You can also grab the shaft, if required, with the pliers. 

5. Install a New Cartridge 

Before you do anything else, get a new cartridge from the store. They usually include a new rubber O-ring. If you want to, O-rings can be greased too for easy insertion inside the cartridge.  You will also need to replace the brass screw on the top of the cartridge if needed. Align the cartridge with tabs and the faucet body. 

6. Reattach Faucet Handle

Once the new cartridge is secured, tighten the nut counterclockwise. Test the faucet for any further leakage. If none is found, then you are good to go. 

Fix Your Leaky Kitchen Faucets Today!

A leaky kitchen faucet does not have to be an issue in your kitchen. With this guide, now you have a better understanding of how to take care of the leaky faucet in easy steps. So whether it’s a single-handle or a double-handle faucet, you fix them in just one hour! 


  • What is the Common Cause of Two-Handle Leaky Faucets?
    It can occur due to a worn-out washer (or a gasket). Or it can happen due to valve seat corrosion and a loose O-ring. 
  • How Do I Know if the Sealing Washer Will Fix the Leak?
    The most common sign of a faulty sealing washer is water leaking around the base of the faucet handle when turned on. If you find this, the washer is most certainly in need of replacement.
  • How Frequently Should I Inspect My Kitchen Faucet for Leaks?
    Inspect your kitchen faucet for leaks or drips regularly. A brief inspection every few months will help you detect and correct problems early on.
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Author: Amanda Arnold

Amanda has been working with ConstructionHow since 2021. Her experience spans over 5 years in the creative niche such as home decor and trends, landscaping, renovations, and custom architectural values. As a home designer expert, she has a keen eye for the latest home improvement trends with accurate facts that readers find impossible to ignore. Being invested in home-building trends is how she has gained her lucrative expertise exploring more to bring a positive ambiance for all homeowners (and even tenants!). Currently, she lives in a beautiful beach home, a source of fascination for her.