How to Remove a Tap Head

Are you tired of the constant dripping and leaking from your tap head? Removing a tap head is a simple process that anyone can do with the right tools and techniques. In this guide, we will walk you through step-by-step how to remove a tap head.

How to Remove a Tap Head

Removing a tap head is a relatively straightforward task that can help you address issues such as leaks, drips, or general wear and tear.

Whether you’re looking to replace a faulty tap head or simply clean the internal components, knowing the proper steps can save you time and money by avoiding a professional plumber’s service fee.

This guide will provide you with a clear, step-by-step approach to safely and efficiently removing a tap head, along with a list of necessary tools and precautions to ensure a smooth process.

What Will You Need?

Before you begin, gathering all the necessary tools and materials is important. Here’s a list of items you will need to remove a tap head:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Clean cloth/towel
  • Bucket or container

Having these tools on hand’s always a good idea before starting any DIY project. Additionally, turning off the water supply before beginning your task is essential.

10 Easy Steps on How to Remove a Tap Head

Step 1: Turn Off the Water Supply

The first and most crucial step in removing a tap head is to turn off the water supply. This ensures that no water flows out when you begin disassembling the tap, which could lead to a mess or potential water damage.

Locate the isolation valve under your home’s sink or the main water supply valve. Turn the valve clockwise until it is completely closed. If you are unsure which valve to turn off, consult your home’s plumbing diagram or seek advice from a professional.

Step 2: Drain Any Remaining Water

Water Supply is Turned Off

Once the water supply is turned off, it’s important to drain any remaining water in the pipes. Turn on the tap and let the water run until it stops completely. This will ensure that there’s no water left that could spill out when you begin working on the tap head.

Placing a bucket or container under the sink can help catch any residual water that might drip out. Additionally, you may want to use a clean cloth or towel to absorb any excess moisture around the tap area, keeping your workspace dry and safe.

Step 3: Remove the Tap Handle Cap

The next step involves locating and removing the cap on the tap handle. This cap is typically situated at the top or front of the handle and can be gently pried off using a flathead screwdriver. Be careful not to apply too much force to avoid scratching or damaging the tap surface. Removing the cap will reveal a screw that holds the tap handle in place.

Step 4: Unscrew the Tap Handle

Using an appropriate screwdriver, carefully unscrew the tap handle. Once the screw is removed, you should be able to gently lift off the handle. If the handle is stuck, you might need to use pliers for added grip but do not damage the tap’s finish. Ensure you keep the screw and the handle in a safe place to avoid misplacement.

Step 5: Remove the Retaining Nut

With the tap handle removed, the next step is to locate and remove the retaining nut that holds the tap head in place. Use an adjustable wrench to slowly turn the retaining nut counterclockwise until it comes loose. If the nut is tight or hasn’t been removed in a long time, applying a bit of penetrating oil can help loosen it. Once removed, keep the retaining nut in a safe place.

Step 6: Remove the Tap Head

Carefully Lift Off the Tap Head From the Base

After removing the retaining nut, you can now carefully lift off the tap head from the base. If the tap head is stuck due to mineral deposits or corrosion, gently wiggle it back and forth while pulling upward to release it. Do not use excessive force to avoid damaging any internal components or scratching the surface. Once removed, inspect the tap head and the internal parts for any wear or buildup that might have caused the issue.

Step 7: Inspect the Internal Components

With the tap head removed, take this opportunity to carefully inspect the internal components of the tap. Look for any signs of wear, corrosion, or buildup that may be causing issues.

If you notice any damaged parts, such as worn-out washers or seals, it may be necessary to replace them to ensure a proper fix. Cleaning mineral deposits or buildup with a brush or cloth will help maintain the tap’s functionality and extend its lifespan.

If you’re unfamiliar with the internal components, consulting the tap’s manual or seeking advice from a professional may be beneficial.

Step 8: Clean the Components

Before reassembling the tap, take the time to clean all the components thoroughly. Soak the tap head and other removable parts in a solution of warm water and vinegar to dissolve any mineral deposits and grime.

Use a toothbrush or small cleaning brush to scrub away any stubborn buildup. Rinse all the parts with clean water and dry them thoroughly with a clean cloth. Ensuring that all components are clean will help the tap function smoothly and prevent future leaks or drips.

Step 9: Reassemble the Tap Head

Now that all components are cleaned and inspected, you can reassemble the tap head. Start by placing the tap head back onto the base and securing it with the retaining nut. Use an adjustable wrench to tighten the nut, but be careful not to overtighten, as this can damage the components. Replace the tap handle and screw it back into place securely. Finally, reattach the handle cap by pressing it gently into position.

Step 10: Turn On the Water Supply and Test

Time to Turn the Water Supply Back on

With the tap head reassembled, it’s time to turn the water supply back on. Slowly turn the isolation valve or main water valve counterclockwise to restore the water flow. Once the water is turned back on, turn on the tap to check for any leaks or drips. If the tap is functioning correctly without any leaks and the water flows smoothly, you have successfully removed and reassembled the tap head.

By following these steps, you can efficiently remove a tap head and address common issues without needing professional assistance.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Protect Your Sink and Surroundings: Place a towel or cloth in the basin to catch any falling parts and prevent damage to the sink.
  2. Use the Right Tools: Always use the appropriate size spanner or wrench to avoid stripping the tap head’s nut, making it difficult to remove.
  3. Apply Penetrating Oil: If the tap head is stuck, apply a penetrating oil like WD-40 and let it sit for a few minutes to loosen any corrosion or buildup.
  4. Wrap the Tap Head: To prevent damage to the finish, wrap the tap head in a cloth before using a wrench or pliers on it. This will help maintain the appearance of your tap.
  5. Check Your Water Pressure: Low water pressure can indicate a clogged aerator. Remove the aerator and clean it out to improve water flow.

With these additional tips and tricks, you can make sure your tap repair project goes smoothly and efficiently.

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Forcing the Tap Head: Applying excessive force can damage the tap head or the internal components. Always use gentle, controlled movements to avoid causing irreparable harm.
  2. Using Inappropriate Tools: Using the wrong tools, such as a too-large wrench or pliers, can strip the nut and make it much harder to remove the tap head. Ensure you are using the correct size and type of tool for the task.
  3. Neglecting Safety Measures: Skipping basic safety precautions like turning off the water supply can lead to water damage or injury. Always ensure the water supply is off and that the work area is dry before starting.
  4. Ignoring Corrosion and Buildup: Overlooking visible signs of corrosion or mineral buildup can make removal more difficult and may damage the tap head further. Address these issues with penetrating oil or other solutions before attempting removal.
  5. Skipping Documentation: Forgetting to document or understand the tap’s assembly before disassembly can result in confusion when reassembling. Take pictures or notes to make sure everything goes back in the correct order.
With Penetrating Oil

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure a more straightforward and successful tap head removal process.


Successfully removing a tap head involves a balance of proper preparation, the right tools, and mindful techniques.

By following our step-by-step guide on how to remove a tap head, utilizing the additional tips and tricks, and avoiding common pitfalls, you can accomplish this task with minimal hassle. Always remember to be patient and meticulous throughout the process.

Whether it’s protecting your surroundings or ensuring you document the assembly, these small but crucial steps make a significant difference.

Removing a tap head may seem daunting, but with the right knowledge and approach, it’s a manageable DIY project that can save you time and money in the long run. Happy repairing!

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