DIY Steps to Fix a Leaky Kitchen Faucet

How to Fix a Leaky Kitchen Faucet 12 Steps to Follow
  • Author: Amanda Arnold
  • Posted On: May 17, 2023
  • Updated On: October 13, 2023

A leaking faucet in a kitchen indicates a 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. 

What Causes Kitchen Sink Faucet Leakage

Cartridge, compression, ceramic disc, and ball type are the four most common types of faucets. The compression faucet consists of rubber washers that seal that valve. With time and constant use, it can depreciate and may require maintenance. The remaining types of faucets have O-rings, cartridges, or sometimes neoprene seals that can be caused by the drip.

You need to focus on other aspects of these faucets. Because of the frequent use, wear, and tear at the base is common too. It can cause small gaps at the base of the faucet and the sink. This can also lead to a faucet washer being broken or worn out, chances are the watertight seal is not workable any longer. Faucets also have a valve, 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 but with the rust, it causes water dripping.

Essential Tools You Need to Fix Leaky Kitchen Faucet Types

For a DIY project to fix a leaking kitchen faucet, you will need the following tools to prep for each type of faucet leak:

  • Tape
  • Wrench 
  • Rag 
  • Distilled white vinegar 
  • Soft scouring pad 
  • O-ring seals
  • Screwdriver

You should have a home kit of these tools available to fix any faucet leak in an emergency. 

How to Fix a Dripping Kitchen Faucet According to Type 

Before you begin to fix the leaking kitchen faucet, it’s important to take notice of the type of faucet you have in your kitchen. It can be a cartridge faucet, compression, ceramic disc, or a ball-type faucet in the kitchen that is leaking.

Although the basic parts of a faucet are the same more or less, the cause of leakage can vary depending on the distinct parts of the faucet. So to fix the dripping faucet you will need to identify the faucet and type and collect the tools. 

1. Cartridge Faucet

The cartridge controls the water flow in a faucet. If it is worn out O-rings can wear up and cause water leakage. It might be possible that you have a leaky cartridge faucet. 

Steps to Fix Leaky Cartridge Faucet

  • Start by removing the decorative cap handle, loosening the screw, then tilting back and pulling it off.
  • You will need to use needle-nose pliers to remove the threaded retaining clip. It holds the cartridge in its place. 
  • Take off the spout to remove the old O-rings. You can use a utility knife. It is recommended to use heat-proof plumber’s grease to install new O-rings. 
  • Buy a new cartridge similar in length to the old one. Make sure to match the stem handles.

2. Compression Faucet

These are most common in older homes. Compression faucets use a washer compressed by tightening the faucet handle. Over time when the washer wears out, it can cause a dripping kitchen faucet. 

Steps to Fix Leaky Compression Faucet

  • Take a small screwdriver to remove the decorative cap on the faucet handle. You will be able to see the screws now. 
  • Remove the screws using the small screwdriver and pull off the handle. 
  • Use the wrench to unscrew the nut and loosen the stem of the faucet. 
  • To replace the seat washer, unscrew the rubber washer at the bottom of the stem. 
  • Use heat-proof plumber’s grease to coat the new washer. 
  • Now you can replace the O-ring within the size of ⅜ or ⅝ inch. The faucet size should match the O-ring size. 
  • In case the original retainer is damaged, install a replacement. 
  • Afterward, if there’s still a leak in the faucet, chances are the seat might be pitted. This is why you need to sand the top end of the seat with an emery cloth or replace it with a new one.

3. Ceramic Disc Faucet 

These are durable ceramic discs used to control the water flow in a faucet. Ceramic discs are paired and can rotate to allow more water flow. This system is innovative and modern but if the disc subsides, it can cause a water leak. 

Steps to Fix Leaky Ceramic Disc Faucet 

  • Push the handle back and remove the screw. 
  • Take off the escutcheon cap to unscrew the disk cylinder mounting screws. 
  • Remove the neoprene seals using a small screwdriver. In case seals are damaged, replace them as they can be the reason behind the leaking faucet. 
  • To clean the cylinder opening, use distilled white vinegar and a soft scouring pad. Afterwards, rinse it properly. 
  • Take care of the seals by replacing them and then reassemble the faucet.

4. Ball-Type Faucet 

This faucet type is a bit complex and it can be time-consuming to fix the dripping faucet. You may even need to buy a new replacement kit to put together all the parts properly. 

Steps to Fix A Leaky Ball-Type Faucet 

  • Pry off the small index cover from the faucet side and loosen the screw using a hex-key wrench. 
  • Then take off the faucet handle. 
  • With the help of adjustable pliers take off the collar and cap. 
  • Loosen the faucet with a cam washer and rotating ball. 
  • Using needle-nose pliers remove the rubber seats in the faucet body and also the springs. 
  • Insert a new spring and rubber seat down into the faucet. 
  • Repeat the step to install a second spring and seat. 
  • Sync the cap with the slot. 
  • You can easily hand-tighten the top cap and assemble the faucet. 
  • To create proper tension against the stainless-steel ball, you can use the spanner wrench.

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 Dripping 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!


  • 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.
  • Is it Easy to Fix a Leaking Faucet?
    Yes, fixing a dripping faucet is a quick and inexpensive task for most amateur DIYers. But if the problem is the ball-type faucet, it can take longer to fix the faucet.
  • How to Fix a Loose Faucet Base to Stop Leak?
    Use an Allen wrench to tighten the half-moon screws to the counter to fix the loosened faucet base.
  • Why is My Kitchen Faucet Leaking at the Stem?
    One of the most common reasons for a leak at the faucet stem is the loosened packing nut. This piece allows the flow of water to flow when the sink handles turn. However, you can fix the nut yourself easily using an Allen wrench.
  • How to Prevent Water Leakage Around Faucet Stem?
    Once you have tightened the packing nut on the stem of the faucet, you can prevent a leaking kitchen faucet at the stem.
  • Why is My Faucet Leaking All The Time?
    If it's a leaking kitchen faucet nonstop, a worn-out washer or a loose O-ring are the common reasons behind it. It can be deducted using faucet repair kits.
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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.