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Fixing the bathroom faucet

Is your bathroom faucet getting creaky with age? Is it hard to turn off completely? Well, if it's like mine, there's an easy fix. All you need is a Phillips screwdriver, a pair of pliers, and some vinegar.

The most common cause of these problems is a buildup of minerals from hard water. If you remove the faucet's valve cartridge and soak it in vinegar, you can dissolve away the minerals and your faucet will work like new. Here's how to do it.

1. Turn off the water pump (or disconnect from the campground water supply), and make sure nobody else will turn the water back on while you're working. If they do, you'll have a geyser on your hands! Open the faucet to release any residual water pressure.

2. Carefully pry off the trim cap at the center of the knob, using a knife blade. Be gentle—you don't want to crack the plastic! Work your way around the rim of the cap, lifting it a little at a time, until you can pull it off.

Remove trim cap

3. Remove the Phillips screw that holds the knob in place, and pull off the knob.

Remove knob

4. Lift off the chrome trim ring.

Remove trim ring

5. Unscrew the white insert.

Unscrew insert

6. Using pliers, pull the valve cartridge straight out.

Pull out cartridge
Cartridge removed

7. Soak the cartridge in vinegar for an hour or more. A snack-sized Ziploc-type bag works well for this purpose, because you won't use any more vinegar than you need to and it will keep the smell contained. It's a good idea to slosh it around occasionally, and wiggle the valve stem (the square shaft that the knob screws onto) to exercise the valve.

Vinegar soak

8. Rinse off the valve cartridge with fresh water and reassemble the faucet. When reinstalling the knob, be careful—it's easy to crack the knob if you over-tighten the screw.

9. Turn the water back on.

That's it! Your faucet should now work smoothly once again.

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