How to Remove a Moen Bathroom Faucet Handle

Knowing how to remove a Moen bathroom faucet handle can come in handy if you need to replace any faulty parts. Though this brand is known for its reliability and durability, a bathroom handle may need to be replaced from time to time due to leaks or mineral buildup.

Deposits like calcium or lime can occasionally build up within a faucet handle’s inner workings over time depending on your water composition. When these deposits collect, they are difficult to remove, and it is often easier to replace the entire handle.

Removing the handle from a bathroom faucet usually takes some precision and care. While you want to do the job thoroughly, you probably don’t want to disturb any of the other working parts of the faucet.

Too much pulling or wrenching can damage not only the spout, but the nearby sink or countertop area as well.

Moen faucets are usually pretty straightforward to remove and replace, which is one reason why they are considered one of the top brands in the industry. This guide will help you navigate the process.

How to Remove Moen Bathroom Faucet Handle:

Materials Required:

  • Wrench
  • Socket ratchet (optional)
  • Screwdriver
  • Water and vinegar mixture
  • Rag
  • Needle-nosed pliers

Note: This guide is for two-handled Moen bathroom faucets only.

Step One: Locate the Handle Connections

First, turn off the main water supply before you do any work around the sink.

Now it is time to determine how your faucet handles are attached to the base deck plate, which is also called the escutcheon.

Some Moen faucet handles can be detached from the base by hand. If you cannot locate a screw or bolt at the rear of the handle, the handle may come off manually. Simply grasp the handle at the base and turn toward the left to loosen.

If you do find a screw at the rear of the handle, use a screwdriver to loosen it. You may need to use additional tools like a socket to loosen the screw if there is little room behind the handles to work.

Step Two: Use the Wrench

Sometimes the whole reason for removing a bathroom faucet handle is because the handle itself is sticking and won’t turn properly. If this is the case, unscrewing the handle from the base with or without a screw connection will also be difficult.

To loosen a screwless handle, attach the wrench to either side of the base of the faucet handle. Gently turn the wrench to the left. There is no need to jerk or use major force, as the counterforce from the wrench will do most of the work.

If you are dealing with a handle that is screwed on, use a socket wrench to access the screwhead. This should enable you to unscrew the handle.

Step Three: Clean Area and Remove any Buildup

Since handles are not removed very often, they can collect unpleasant material within their inner workings over time. Mix a vinegar and water solution and pour that over the open handle part that is still connected to the deck plate. Wipe down any dirt or grime buildup you can see with a rag.

Step Four: Remove the Cartridge

Once you have the handle off, it’s good to check the cartridge, which is nestled within the inner casing. It will look like a cylinder with a small lip.

Cartridges are usually the site of a lot of scale buildup thanks to constant contact with water. Sometimes a cartridge is the culprit for a sticky faucet handle, and replacing the cartridge will solve the problem.

To make sure that the cartridge does not have issues, use needle-nosed pliers to grasp the lip of the cylinder and pull it out. If the cartridge sticks, pour more white vinegar on the area and allow it to sit for a few hours. The vinegar will break down the mineral buildup. The cartridge should pop out easily.

Final Step: Check O-Rings and Clear Debris

After the cartridge is out, look at the o-rings. These are black rubber rings that seal the handle from the inside. If they look worn or rotted, remove them and dispose of them.

These items can all be replaced with minimal cost.  Use your rag and vinegar solution to clear away any other dirt or debris that may be cluttering the faucet area. Knowing how to remove the bathroom sink faucet handle can add years to your faucet’s life and save you money in the long run.

How to Install a Moen Bathroom Faucet

Materials Needed:

  • Silicone caulking
  • Waterproof sealant
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Water line connectors

Step One: Turn Off Water and Prepare the Area

Always turn off the water at the main water supply line before doing any plumbing-related activities.

Before you install your faucet, make sure your sink area is prepped properly. Often sinks come pre-drilled with the required holes for faucet installation. However, if not, or if the holes need any modification, do it now.

Take a moment and measure your faucet unit and the distance between the spout and faucet handles. Check these measurements against the existing holes in your bathroom sink to make sure they are a match. Make adjustments with a drill if needed.

Step Two: Attach the Deck Plate

Most Moen bathroom faucets come with a deck plate or escutcheon on which the spout and handles rest. This plate covers the holes and gives a finished look to the overall project.

Using the holes as guides, place the base plate over the holes and center it on the sink. The holes that are drilled into the sink should match up perfectly with the deck plate holes.

Depending on what model you have, you will either screw this plate into place or caulk it. If it has screws, drill this plate into place. Then place waterproof silicone putty around the edge where the plate meets the sink counter top. You can cut off any excess later after it dries.

If this plate does not have screws, use silicone caulking material to secure it. Place a bead of caulking around the underside of the plate before clamping it into place on the countertop. After that caulking dries and the plate is secured, go back with silicone putty to fully seal the area.

Step Three: Connect the Spout and Handles

Thread the spout and handles through the holes. Sometimes the spout is already connected to the deck plate, so you may only need to connect the handles.

If the handles manually twist onto the connections, then turn the handles clockwise until they are tight. Some Moen bathroom handles are marked hot and cold. If these markings are apparent, be sure to match them to the appropriate water lines.

If the handles require a screw or nut at the back, use a socket wrench to tighten this part sufficiently.

Final Step: Secure All Water Connections

Under the faucet, make sure both the water lines connect with the plumbing. These lines should be sealed well to prevent any leaks. Use your wrench and nuts to strengthen any connections.


When you know how to remove Moen bathroom sink faucet handle, it’s a fairly simple process that can be a valuable addition to your DIY knowledge.

Most Moen bathroom faucet handles are easy to remove and replace. Likewise, many Moen faucets are simple to install. If you run into trouble, consult the instructions that came with your faucet unit, or call Moen customer support for assistance.

It’s important to remember that not a lot of force is required when removing or installing any faucet parts. Using too much strength can not only damage the faucet parts, it could result in a broken or cracked sink counter top too.

This point is especially good to remember when using heavy tools like a wrench or needle-nose pliers. Let the tool do most of the work for you, and you should be able to remove a faucet handle with ease.

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