Bathroom Faucet Won’t Turn Off: Troubleshooting and Fixing Tips

A malfunctioning bathroom faucet can be a frustrating problem, especially when it refuses to turn off. Not only can this issue lead to excessive water wastage, but it can also cause damage to your bathroom fixtures and increase your water bill.

However, before panicking and calling a plumber, you can take a few troubleshooting steps to identify the cause of the problem and potentially fix it yourself.

1. Inspect the Faucet Handle

The first thing you should do when your bathroom faucet doesn’t turn off is inspect the handle. Sometimes, the problem may be as simple as a loose or damaged handle. Give the handle a gentle jiggle to see if it moves excessively or falls off. If the handle is loose, you may need to tighten the screw or nut that holds it in place. If the handle is damaged, you may need to replace it with a new one.

2. Check for a Jammed Cartridge

A jammed cartridge is another common cause of a faucet that won’t turn off. Most modern faucets have a cartridge inside that controls the water flow. Over time, this cartridge can get stuck or worn out, preventing the faucet from properly shutting off. To check if this is the issue, you must remove and inspect the cartridge for any debris or damage. If you find anything stuck or broken, you must replace the cartridge.

3. Examine the O-Rings

The O-rings are small rubber rings located on the stem of the faucet. They help create a watertight seal and prevent leaks. However, if the O-rings are worn out or damaged, they can cause the faucet to remain open even when you turn the handle to the off position. To fix this issue, you will need to replace the O-rings. This can usually be done by disassembling the faucet and installing new rings.

4. Inspect the Valve Seat

The valve seat is a small part inside the faucet that connects the spout to the body. If the valve seat becomes worn or corroded, it can cause the faucet to leak and be difficult to turn off completely. To address this issue, you must remove the valve seat using a seat wrench and replace it with a new one.

5. Check the Water Pressure

High water pressure can also cause a bathroom faucet to remain open. If the water pressure in your home is excessively high, it can put too much strain on the faucet, preventing it from shutting off properly. You can use a pressure gauge or consult a professional plumber to check the water pressure. Installing a pressure regulator can help solve the problem if the pressure is too high.

6. Look for a Broken or Faulty Valve Stem

A broken or faulty valve stem can also lead to a faucet that won’t turn off. The valve stem controls the flow of water in the faucet. Over time, it can become worn or damaged, preventing it from adequately shutting off the water. You must replace the valve stem to resolve the issue in such cases.

7. Examine the Water Supply Lines

The water supply lines connecting the faucet to the plumbing system can sometimes develop leaks or blockages, causing the faucet to stay open. Inspect the supply lines for any visible leaks or debris. You may need to replace the supply lines entirely if you notice any issues.

8. Check for a Faulty Shut-off Valve

A faulty shut-off valve can also result in a bathroom faucet that won’t turn off. The shut-off valve is usually under the sink and allows you to control water flow to the faucet. If this valve is defective, it may not close properly, causing the faucet to remain open. In such cases, replacing the shut-off valve will likely solve the problem.

9. Call a Professional Plumber

If you have tried all the troubleshooting steps mentioned above and your bathroom faucet still won’t turn off, it may be time to call a professional plumber. A trained plumber will have the expertise and tools to effectively diagnose and fix the issue. They can also ensure that all plumbing connections are secure and functioning correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I temporarily shut off the water to my bathroom faucet if it won’t turn off?

If you cannot turn off the faucet, you can shut off the main water supply to your home. Locate the shut-off valve near your water meter and turn it clockwise to shut off the water to your house. Remember to turn it back on once the faucet issue is resolved.

Why is my bathroom faucet still leaking even after I shut it off?

If your bathroom faucet leaks even when turned off, there may be an underlying issue, such as a faulty valve, worn-out seals, or damaged plumbing. It is best to consult a plumber to diagnose and fix the problem.

Can I fix a bathroom faucet that won’t turn off on my own, or do I need to hire a professional?

Depending on the cause and complexity of the issue, you may be able to fix a bathroom faucet that won’t turn off on your own. However, if you are unsure or uncomfortable with the process, it is recommended that you seek the assistance of a professional plumber to avoid any further damage.

How can I prevent my bathroom faucet from getting stuck and not turning off in the future?

Regular maintenance is critical to preventing a bathroom faucet from getting stuck or failing to turn off. Clean the faucet regularly to remove any build-up, lubricate moving parts, and promptly address minor issues before they escalate into more significant problems.

How urgent is fixing a bathroom faucet that won’t turn off?

Addressing a bathroom faucet that won’t turn off as soon as possible is essential. Allowing the issue to persist can lead to water wastage, increased water bills, and potential damage to your bathroom fixtures and plumbing system.


It can be frustrating and inconvenient when your bathroom faucet refuses to turn off. By following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article, you may be able to identify and fix the underlying issue causing the problem.

However, if you cannot resolve the problem on your own or are unsure about your abilities, it is always best to consult a professional plumber. They have the expertise and knowledge to diagnose and repair the problem effectively, ensuring your faucet operates smoothly again.

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