How to Remove Faucet Handles

A sink with a brushed nickle faucet.
What You'll Need
Utility knife
Flathead or Phillips screwdriver
Penetrating oil
Padded pliers
New faucet handle (optional)

You may find yourself wanting to replace a faucet handle to go with a new design option or to just get rid of an old one. It is also a good idea to remove faucet handles every couple of months for a good cleaning, as these can become dirty inside or break and cause leaks, leading to costly damage. Regardless of your reasons, this article will show you how to easily remove them.

Step 1 – Locate the Screws

These handles are connected to the sink or shower by screws. Regardless of the type of screw, they are usually hidden. If your handle is a knob, look along the sides. There will be small screws inset within mount. They may also be located near the base where the knob is sitting. If the faucet handle is long and lifts up or down (or twists in some instances), then the screws will be very well hidden. Look at the base of the handle for a logo of some sort. This is typically a sticker or emblem covering the screws, so use the utility knife to pry it off in order to reach what you need. Some knob styles will also have the screws covered by an emblem at the center of the knob. It will be removed in the same fashion, using a utility knife to pry it off.

Step 2 – Remove the Screws

Start by matching the head of the screw to either a flathead or Phillips screwdriver, making sure that it will fit in the hole as well. Then, place the driver into the head and turn it counterclockwise to loosen. Continue turning until it falls limp and lift it out of the hole.

On older faucets, the screws may be rusty or covered in thick grime, making them difficult to remove. If this is the case, you will be tempted to use force, but this can cause a valve to break. Use a solvent to properly remove a stuck screw instead. For grime and oil buildup, a general degreaser on a rag will wipe it away. If the screw is rusted, apply penetrating oil, leave it on for 20 minutes, and then try again. You may need to leave the penetrating oil on the screw for up to a day depending on the severity of the rust.

Step 3 – Remove the Faucet Handle

Removal of the actual faucet handle varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but there are some general methods to test out. First, try to pull straight up. On older faucets, the screw should be the only thing holding the handle, so just pulling up on it will do the trick. Other faucets have small pins under the screws. Grip the pin with pliers and pull straight up; then the faucet handle will be free to remove. If that doesn't work, try pulling the pin straight up and turning clockwise.

Once the handles are free, clean up any water that came out and continue with your work.