How To Fix Dripping Tub Faucet

How To Fix Dripping Tub Faucet

A dripping bathtub faucet can be a nuisance and a waste of water. It’s important to address this issue promptly to save water and prevent further damage. Whether you have a single-handled or two-handled bathtub faucet, you can learn how to fix it without the need for professional plumbing skills. Here’s a guide on how to fix a leaking bathtub faucet and the tools you’ll need for the job.

Identifying the Cause of the Drip

Before you start fixing the leaking bathtub faucet, it’s essential to identify the cause of the drip. The most common reasons for a dripping bathtub faucet include a worn-out washer, a faulty valve cartridge, or a damaged faucet seat. Understanding the cause will help you determine the specific parts you need to replace.

Fixing a Leaking Two-Handle Bathtub Faucet

If you have a two-handled bathtub faucet, you can follow these steps to fix the leak:

  1. Determine Which Side is Leaking: Identify whether the hot or cold side is leaking by feeling the water. If you can’t differentiate, plan to repair both sides.
  2. Turn Off the Water Supply: Locate the main water shut-off valve and turn it off. Open the faucets to drain the remaining water.
  3. Remove the Cap and Handle: Use a flathead screwdriver to pry off the plastic cap and unscrew the handle.
  4. Remove the Escutcheon and Stem Assembly: Unscrew or pull off the escutcheon and remove the stem assembly.
  5. Remove and Replace the Rubber Washer: Unscrew the set screw holding the rubber washer, replace it, and inspect the faucet seat for damage.
  6. Reassemble the Faucet: Put everything back together and test the faucet for leaks.

Fixing a Leaking Single-Handle Bathtub Faucet

If you have a single-handled bathtub faucet, follow these steps to fix the leak:

  1. Shut Off the Water: Turn off the main water supply and open the faucet to release the remaining water.
  2. Remove the Faucet Handle: Use the appropriate tools to remove the handle and escutcheon to access the valve cartridge.
  3. Remove the Retainer Clip and Cartridge: Take out the retainer clip and cartridge, then install the new cartridge.
  4. Check for Leaks and Reassemble: Turn on the water supply, check for leaks, and reassemble the faucet.

Quick Solutions for Temporary Relief

If you need a quick fix to stop the dripping sound temporarily, you can try these solutions:

  • Soap: Fill the tub with water and add dish soap to change the surface tension of the water.
  • Sock: Attach a long sock or bathrobe tie to the faucet to create a pathway for the water to drain slowly.
  • Sponge: Place a sponge or towel under the faucet to deaden the sound of dripping water.

When to Seek Professional Help

If the DIY repairs do not stop the leaking faucet, or if you encounter difficulties during the process, it’s advisable to seek professional plumbing assistance. A plumber can replace the entire faucet assembly or handle more complex issues that may be causing the leak.


Learning how to fix a dripping tub faucet can save you time and money while preventing water wastage. By following the appropriate steps and using the right tools, you can successfully address the issue and enjoy a leak-free bathtub faucet.


What are the common reasons for a tub faucet to drip?

The most common reason a tub faucet drips is a worn-out washer on a single-handled faucet or a faulty valve cartridge on a double-handled faucet.

Why does the shower leak when the bathtub faucet drips?

The shower and bathtub water supply functions are connected. If the shower leaks, it’s because the diverter lever has been switched to shower mode. Fixing the bathtub leak will also fix the shower leak.

Do bathtubs have shut-off valves like sinks and toilets?

Sinks and toilets have localized shut-off valves, but bathtubs generally do not. Most plumbing codes do not require shut-off valves located near the bathtub. Plus, unlike sinks or toilets, there is no convenient place to hide the shut-off valves.

Can I fix a leaking two-handle bathtub faucet on my own?

When it comes to how to fix a leaky bathtub faucet, double-handle faucets are just as fixable on your own as single-handle faucets. You can follow the provided steps and use the necessary tools to address the issue.

What are the tools and replacement parts needed for bathtub faucet repair?

Before starting the project, gather tools such as a flathead screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, adjustable wrench, and replacement parts like rubber washers, valve cartridges, and faucet seats.

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