Moen Faucet Handle Hard To Turn - How To Fix It? (2023) is reader-supported. We select all the products after considerable research and give unbiased reviews to the readers. We may receive commissions from purchases made via our links at no additional costs to you.

Moen faucets are reliable and durable so people use them in their kitchen and bathroom. But with time plumbing issue starts coming into the faucet and Moen faucet handle hard to turn is found in some Moen faucets.

Handle doesn’t get stiff suddenly it is a slow process and in the starting, we ignore this issue so later it becomes difficult to turn the faucet handle. A stiff handle seizes the water flow and prevents you from getting water.

When you feel, the Moen faucet handle is having a problem and it is sticking when you turn it, this is the time to fix hard to turn Moen faucet handle. A stiff handle wastes a good amount of water. Good thing is that repairing a stiff Moen faucet handle is not difficult. By using the right tools, you can fix it. To know the fixing process in the detail, read our guide.

Why Moen Faucet Handle Hard To Turn?

When the Moen faucet handle is hard to turn, it makes everyday cleaning tasks a huge struggle. We use a faucet several times a day. If your Moen faucet has started showing the signal of the stiff handle, you should fix its issue. So, here are some common reasons for hard to turn Moen faucet handle.

Damaged O-rings

Moen Faucet Handle Hard To Turn - How To Fix It? (1)

O-rings are not used by all faucet brands these days but still, some brands use them to keep faucet prices low. O-rings are made of plastic and it is used to create a water-tight seal.

When we turn the handle, the valve stem inside the faucet also turns and creates space for water to flow. With every turn, O-rings also move. With time, O-rings in the faucet wear out due to friction, heat, and air.

When O-rings wear out, it becomes difficult to turn the Moen faucet handle. It creates high friction so you need to use more power to turn the handle. Also, wear-out O-rings are responsible for leaks. So, when the handle is not turning and also it is leaking, it means its O-rings are worn out and you need to change it.

Rust and Corrosion

Every faucet at some point gets rusted. This is a common plumbing issue in many houses. Rust generally occurs in wet area. When metal that contains iron comes into contact with the air, rust formed over there.

When rust occurs inside the handle, the handle doesn’t move freely. It gets stuck due to rust particles and can’t move properly.

(Video) DIY Stiff / Sticking Faucet Handle Repair

Mineral Buildups

Mineral buildups are only found in those areas that have hard water. Normal water doesn’t form any mineral buildup.

Mineral buildup forms slowly on the faucet. You can see buildup on the faucet spout but if it is being formed inside the faucet, you can’t see and with time it increases in the size. It starts blocking the way of the handle. People use water softeners to turn hard water into normal water.

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How Do You Fix a Stiff Moen Faucet Handle That Won’t Turn?

Moen Faucet Handle Hard To Turn - How To Fix It? (3)

To fix hard to turn the handle of the Moen faucet, you have to remove its handle and then check inside the handle to find out the problem. When you find a reason, you can easily fix this issue. Before starting to fix the stiff Moen faucet handle, gather these tools. To avoid the handle issue, you should use a hands-free faucet in the kitchen.

Step 1 – Shut off Water Supply

Shut off the water supply for the hot and cold water lines of the faucet. Shut off valve will be located beneath the sink. Maybe you haven’t touched them in years so a hard push may break the valve.

Rotate the valve clockwise direction to turn it off. If you don’t find any valve beneath the sink, shut off the main valve of the hose that supplies water to the house.

Step 2 – Cover Sink Drain

To remove the handle, you need to open the screws. These screws are small in the size and if they go into the sink drain, you can’t do anything. To avoid such a situation, cover the sink drain with a towel.

Step 3 – Remove Moen Faucet Handle

Now the main work starts. Find a screw on the faucet handle. If you can’t find the screw, check if there would be any cover or cap. The screw is hidden behind this cap.

To remove the cap, use a flathead screwdriver. The screwdriver will pry off the cap from its place. You just need to push gently to remove the cap otherwise it may break. Once the cap come out, you can clearly see the hidden screw.

Use an Allen wrench to remove the screw. Make a perfect grip of the Aleen wrench on the screw and remove it. You may also use a screwdriver to remove it. After removing the screw, remove the handle. Twist the handle and pull it outside.

Step 4 – Examine the Situation

After removing the handle, you need to find the reason for the hard turn of the Moen faucet handle. Check cartridges or O-rings are worn out or not. Is there any mineral buildup inside the handle? Is rust formed or not?

Step 5 – Clean or Replace Cartridge or O-rings

Now remove the O-rings from the handle. Check ring condition. They can be used again or not. If not, buy new rings for the Moen faucet.

(Video) MOEN shower faucet cartridge replacement. Shower lever is hard to turn.

To clean O-rings use white vinegar. Soak rings into the vinegar for hours. After that rinse rings under the water. If rings are worn out, use new rings. The same process applies to replacing the cartridge. If you have a cartridge instead of O-rings, use the same process.

Step 6 – Remove Mineral Buildups and Rust

After removing the cartridge, check the mineral buildups inside the handle. To remove it spray white vinegar on it. Leave it for an hour. Vinegar breaks buildup into small parts. Clean it with water spray.

Use a brush to scrub the parts of the buildup. Once you are done with the scrubbing, clean it with water. This process will also remove rust from it. One step will solve both the rust and mineral buildup problem.

Step 7 – Reattach Handle

Now when the handle is properly clean from the inside and also you have changed O-rings, the handle will move freely. It will not be stuck anywhere.

Before reattaching the handle, apply plumber grease inside the handle part and on the handle. It will save handle parts from rust. Reattach the handle to its position and fix the screw on it.

How Do You Lubricant a Moen Kitchen Faucet?

Moen Faucet Handle Hard To Turn - How To Fix It? (5)

Every faucet handle needs lubricant so they work better. Lubricant reduces the friction so the life of the cartridge increases.

The process of lubricant in a Moen kitchen faucet is easy. Follow these steps.

  • Remove the handle by removing its screws.
  • Now pull the handle out and remove its cartridge.
  • Take a new cartridge and apply lubricant to it.
  • Also, apply lubricant inside the faucet handle.
  • Before applying lubricant, clean the faucet with water and then with a dry cloth. Remove every drop of water otherwise lubricant won’t work.

Check also –

  • Right Way To Clean Moen Kitchen Faucet Aerator
  • How To Check Model Number of Moen Faucet

How Do You Unfreeze a Faucet Handle?

Moen kitchen faucet when becomes old, its handle becomes stuck and tight. In the starting, tightness is not high but gradually it becomes tighter and tighter. At last, the handle fused itself into the base of the sink.

Heavy duct tape on the faucet protects its base. If you unfreeze the handle early on when it’s just starting to turn hard, you wouldn’t have to do much effort.

Sometimes freeze handles are so tight that with hand, we can’t rotate them.

(Video) Fixing a frozen Moen faucet handle

Use wd-40 spray on the faucet handle gap. Wait for a few minutes and now move the handle back and forth so you won’t struggle when you remove the handle.

Now remove the handle screw and try to unfreeze the handle. If the handle is still frozen, use a plier. Cover the handle with tape so it will be safe from scratches.

The normal range of motion for most handle is between 0 to 90 degrees so don’t go beyond it otherwise, it will break the cartridge.

Remove worn-out parts from the handle and insert a new one. Apply lubricant and reinsert the handle. It will unfreeze a Moen faucet handle.

Is Plumber Grease The Same as Silicon Grease?

Moen Faucet Handle Hard To Turn - How To Fix It? (6)

When you have to use grease, you should have known what to use. People often get confused between plumber grease vs silicone grease.

Plumber grease is used for non-consumed water sources. Silicone grease is used where water is grease is touched by the water. So, if humans consume silicone grease, it won’t hurt. Both are used to lubricate the plumbing fixtures.

Plumbing grease is a combination of different waterproof chemicals. The plumber uses plumbing grease on the plumbing parts so their life of them increases. It doesn’t damage plumbing fixtures.

On the other side, silicone grease is also used as a lubricant for the plumbing fixture but its chemicals are different. It uses silicone oil and silica thickener for its ingredients. It has food-grade chemicals that are not harmful to the human body.

If you are using grease on that part that directly comes into contact with the water, use silicone grease.

Final Words

Rust, mineral buildups and cartridge or O-rings are common reasons for the Moen faucet handle hard to turn. In this guide, we have shown how you can remove mineral buildups and also how to clean or change cartridges or O-rings so the Moen faucet handle moves easily. You just need some basic tools for this process.

(Video) Stiff Clunky grating Faucet Kitchen Mixer Tap? Fix it for free.


Why is my faucet handle so hard to turn? ›

Faucets become hard to turn due to the buildup of mineral deposits or problems related to the faucet's cartridge.

Why is my Moen shower handle so hard to turn? ›

Typical Cause

This is usually caused by (but not limited to) sediment or debris in the cartridge, mineral buildup or a damaged seal within the cartridge. If the handle is loose it may not be installed properly or there may be an issue with the handle mechanism.

How do you loosen a stiff faucet handle? ›

Yes, you can try WD40 on a faucet. In this case, where the faucet handle is not wanting to turn, try using a little squirt of WD-40 to see if it fixes the problem. WD-40 will help lubricate the faucet handle, hopefully encouraging movement.

How do you loosen a tight Moen faucet? ›

Some Moen faucets have handles that remove by loosening the screw in the back of the handle. To loosen this screw use a 3/32" hex wrench. After the handle has been removed unscrew the spout collar nut by turning counterclockwise then lift and rotate the spout.

How do you lubricate a Moen faucet? ›

For one-handle faucets with a 1225 cartridge, simply remove the cartridge and lubricate it both inside and out with silicone-based grease (Moen part number 99915). Do not use plumber's grade faucet grease, silicon sprays or any lubricant that contain petroleum.

Why is my shower handle so hard to turn? ›

Shower Handle Hard to Turn? Replace the Cartridge! - YouTube

Can you use WD-40 on a stiff tap? ›

If you have hard water, descale the tap and spray on a little WD40. Turn the water off by closing the hot and cold valves under the sink. If you can't find the valves, shut off the main water supply instead.

How do you lubricate a faucet handle? ›

Apply a small amount of silicon faucet grease to the two rubber o-rings on the faucet body, as well as the inside of the spout. Press the spout back into place using a gentle twisting motion. Swing the spout back and forth to make sure it moves freely.

How do you adjust a Moen shower handle? ›

The water temperature from my Moen shower system is too hot.

To adjust the Temperature Limit Stop, with the handle removed, loosen the adjustment hex screw with a 7/64" hex wrench and slide the screw downward. Tighten the hex screw. Test the hot water temperature (not to exceed 120°F).

Why is my shower handle stuck? ›

There should be a screw, or more than one, holding the handle in place. Get out your screwdriver and remove the screw(s), then remove the handle. If it's really stuck, you may need the help of a hammer. Once you've gotten the handle off, check the gaskets behind the handle and make sure none of them are broken.

How do you remove a stuck Moen shower handle? ›

Remove Shower Handle - Moen Shower Handle - YouTube

How do you lubricate a shower cartridge? ›

Tips for Applying Plumber's Grease on Shower Faucets - YouTube


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