How To Tighten Moen Bathroom Faucet Handle

How To Tighten Moen Bathroom Faucet Handle

You rely on your bathroom faucet to work correctly, so you have water to wash your face, wash your hands, brush your teeth, etc. But, when your Moen faucet handle becomes loose, you won’t be able to turn the water on. Or, even worse, if it becomes loose while the water is on, you can’t turn it off by the handle.

Luckily, tightening the handle of your Moen bathroom faucet handle is simple to do. Typically, it’s a matter of simply adjusting the set screw holding the faucet in place. Normally, all you will need is a screwdriver or a hex key to get the job done. In some cases, there could be lots of wear and tear, and you might need to replace some parts.

Of course, if you’re dealing with a loose faucet handle, the odds are good you’ll notice it before it becomes a real issue. For example, when you turn your water on, the handle might feel a little looser than usual. If you tighten the handle as soon as you notice the problem, you can potentially avoid more significant issues or a future mess.

What Problems Do You Experience With A Loose Moen Bathroom Faucet Handle?

If your Moen bathroom faucet handle becomes loose, you might notice any of the following:

  • There’s a leak from the handle, likely at the handle’s base.
  • The handle is wobbly or has more play than usual.
  • You can’t turn the water on and off properly.

What Causes A Bathroom Faucet Handle To Loosen?

The faucet handle fits over a small lever inside the cartridge of a single-lever faucet. This lever turns the water off and on and adjusts the hot and cold depending on how you move the handle.

For double-handle faucets, the handle rests over the cartridge part that turns to control the water flow. In either fixture, a screw or a hex-head set screw holds the handle in place. Therefore, when you operate the handle, it connects to the proper part of the cartridge and controls the water.

Typically, a bathroom faucet handle can loosen over time from lots of use. The more times you manipulate the faucet, the more you can loosen the set screw holding it in place. If the screw no longer makes contact with the mechanism inside, the handle becomes loose.

Obviously, once the handle no longer connects well to the mechanism within the faucet, you can’t use the tap. But, aside from regular use, what else can make the faucet handle come loose?

If certain parts start to experience wear and tear, whether the handle itself or the cartridge, it might compromise the connection. Or the set screw itself could be stripped, and you need to replace it.

Also, over time, lime and calcium build-up can interfere with the faucet’s inner workings. This buildup makes it hard for the screw to make contact with the cartridge.

How To Tighten A Moen Bathroom Single-Handle Faucet?

First, let’s look at the most likely fix for a loose Moen bathroom faucet handle–simply tightening the set screw. If you have a single-handle Moen faucet, follow these steps to tighten it when it’s loose.

1. Step One: Turn Off The Water

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Shut off the water supply under the sink by turning both the hot and cold valves clockwise. This way, you won’t have water constantly running as you tighten the handle.

2. Step Two: Locate The Set Screw

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Look toward the base of the handle, and you’ll notice a small hot/cold button on the faucet handle. It has red on one side and blue on the other to show which way is hot and cold. This decorative cap also hides the set screw.

You can use a flathead screwdriver to remove it. It’s a good idea to plug the sink drain or lower the stopper, so you don’t lose the piece. If you don’t see a decorative cap or hole for a set screw, lift the handle. In some models, the screw is hidden beneath the handle, and you will need to raise the lever to see it.

In some older faucet models, one larger flat handle will have a decorative cap on top. Pop off the cap using a flathead screwdriver, and you’ll reveal a regular screw that you can unscrew with a Phillips head screwdriver.

3. Step Three: Tighten The Screw

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Once you’ve found the set screw, it will be a hex-head screw. You will likely need a 7/64 hex key to tighten it properly; this is typically what Moen uses.

If you have a set of hex keys, it will likely have this size. If not, best to get the correct size, so you don’t damage the screw.

Turn it clockwise to tighten but don’t overtighten. These screws can strip easily, and if you notice that this is the case here, replace the screw. If you pop off a decorative cap and reveal a regular Phillips head screw, simply tighten it with your screwdriver.

4. Step Four: Test Your Faucet

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After tightening (or replacing) the set screw, turn the water back on and test your faucet and handle.

How To Tighten A Moen Bathroom Double-Handle Faucet?

For a loose handle on a double-handle Moen bathroom faucet, you’ll follow the same steps as above. Some double handles even feature their own set screw.


But for many double-handle fixtures, there’s a slight difference. The screw holding the faucet in place is below the decorative cap on the top of the handle. Pop it off and remove the screw with a Phillip head screwdriver.


However, for some double-handled faucets, the handle screws on and off by hand. It’s held in place by a screw that comes up from underneath the cartridge.


Over time, as the handle loosens, this screw can fall out entirely, slipping down into the base. If this happens, your handle will likely fall off completely. (Another good reason to address a loose faucet handle right away.)

You can unscrew the base of the faucet handle, where the cartridge is, and look down into the fixture. You’ll likely see the screw has fallen down into it.

Use some needlenose pliers to fish out the screw, and screw it back into place from the underside of the cartridge. Then, place the handle on top and make sure it catches, and tighten it from below. Once the handle is firmly attached to its base, screw the base back into place.

Other Possible Fixes For A Loose Moen Bathroom Faucet Handle

If the screw itself is fine but won’t tighten, you could have a worn-out cartridge. You’ll need to replace it. You can purchase a new faucet cartridge for between $10 and $35. Since you already have your faucet handle off, replacing the cartridge doesn’t take much more effort.

Use a pair of channel locks to loosen the nut holding the cartridge in place. Take a picture of the cartridge before you remove it so you can note the correct position.

Then finish unscrewing it by hand and lift the cartridge up to remove it. You can bring the old cartridge to a supply store if you still need to get a suitable replacement.

Then, line up the cartridge, so it fits properly in the faucet base. Secure it in place by screwing the nut back by hand and tightening it with the channel locks.

If the issue is limescale and other build-up, you can try using a wire brush to clean the components. However, if it’s bad or the fixture is really worn, you might want to consider replacing it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to replace a bathroom faucet?

Of course, a lot depends on the quality of the faucet and the plumber’s rates, but on average, you’ll pay about $450. This is for the faucet and labor together. But you can spend over $600 on a faucet alone. Plus, if there are any exceptional circumstances, it’ll drive labor costs up.

What is the lifespan of a faucet?

A high-quality faucet can last for 15 to 20 years or more. Of course, it depends on various factors, including frequency of use, water quality, and maintenance. Plus, the brand and installation of the faucet play a part in how long it will last.

You should consider replacing your faucet if it becomes damaged, gets corroded, or simple fixes won’t solve your problems. Also, if the cost of repairs ends up being 30% or more than the price of a new faucet, replace it.