My Kitchen Faucet Won't Turn Off

My Kitchen Faucet Won't Turn Off

How to Fix a Faucet That Won't Turn Off

You turn the handle on your kitchen faucet, but it won’t turn off and water just keeps flowing. Is this happening to you?

There are three reasons why your faucet won't turn off:

  1. Your faucet’s handle is stripped and needs to be replaced
  2. Your handle’s stem needs a new washer
  3. Your handle’s seat needs to be replaced

All of these problems are relatively easy fixes, but they’ll require the right tools and mechanical knowledge. We’ll go into these 3 issues in more depth and how you can fix them. But FIRST, let’s stop that water flowing from your faucet.

To turn off your water, follow these instructions:

  • Open the cabinet your sink and look below your faucet.
  • You should see 2 valves mounted on the wall (one says “C” for cold; the other says “H” for hot). Turn these to the OFF position and the water should stop running.

Now let’s look at why your kitchen faucet won’t turn off and how you can fix it.

Why Your Kitchen Faucet Won’t Turn Off

Problem #1: Your faucet’s handle is stripped

When you turn your handle, does it spin without ever settling into one position?

That’s a sign that your faucet’s handle is stripped. Handles are joined to stems with small threads that make it so you can turn your handle. Over time, these threads may corrode and strip out, leaving your handle unable to control the water supply.


In most cases, you’ll need to simply replace the handle. We usually recommend replacing both handles at once so you don’t have to worry about the other one breaking down sooner. In some cases, you may need a new stem as well.

Because many handles are difficult to remove from your faucet (because they require a special wrench or they’ve corroded into the faucet), you should contact a plumber to remove the handle and inspect it for any stripped threads.

Problem #2: Your handle’s stem needs a new washer

Your faucet’s stem uses a washer to distribute pressure from the screw so it doesn’t loosen over time. However, if a stem hasn’t been lubricated, the washer can crack or tear, which means you handle can’t shut off the water.


Contact a plumber to remove your handle and inspect your stem to make sure it’s lubricated and that it has a functioning washer.

Problem #3: Your handle’s seat needs to be replaced

A faucet handle consists of a small part called a seat that helps your handle turn. Over time, your handle’s stems get wear and tear from regular use (think about how many times a day you turn on your faucet!).


You’ll need to contact a plumber to replace, or at least sand smooth, your handle’s seat.

Should I repair or replace my faucet?

We get asked this question a lot by Florida homeowners.

Here’s what we recommend: If your faucet is relatively new (less than 7–10 years old), and you only have one of the problems listed above, just go ahead and get it repaired.

On the other hand, if your faucet is older (10+ years old), or if you have more than one of the problems listed above, it’s probably cheaper just to get a new faucet. Older faucet parts can be difficult to find, so that’s another factor to consider as well.

Still need help? Contact Aztec Plumbing & Drains to schedule a faucet repair. One of our trusted plumbers will quickly get your kitchen faucet back into tip-top shape. We’ve been serving the Fort Myers area since 1991!