Years of wear can take a toll on bathroom fixtures, resulting in rust, discoloration and leaks. Loose shower knobs, too, can result from years of use. Luckily, there's a way to fix a loose shower knob with just a couple of tools. If the knob or handle is damaged, you can replace it, which requires a series of steps. Or you can simply tighten the screw that holds the handle together.
Why Is the Knob Loose?
The most common factor contributing to loose shower knobs is corrosion. One consequence of corrosion is that it can damage the threads of the valve stems. And a damaged valve stem leads to a loose knob. The best way to do away with a loose knob is to address it immediately by tightening the screw that holds it in place or replacing it altogether.
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Tighten the Screw
In the case of a loose shower knob, first, try to tighten the screw. To get to the screw, you may have to remove the metal covering at the center of the handle, though screws can also be located at the base of the handle. Once you've located the screw, tighten it with an adjustable wrench.
Still loose? You may need to replace the knob or handle altogether. To replace it, you'll need to first turn off the shower water shutoff valve — generally located behind the tub or shower access panel. If you can't shut off the valve, you can turn off the water supply to your house. Get rid of the remaining water by opening the shower faucet a bit and letting the water drain.
Remove the screw with your wrench and screwdriver and take off the shower faucet handle. Inspect the handle to find out what caused it to loosen. Are the teeth inside the hole of the mounting on the handle still sharp? If not, the handle should be replaced. Is the shaft, which holds up the handle, loose? If so, tighten it with your wrench.
Once everything is in place, reattach the shower handle — new or old — and turn the water supply back on.
A Couple of Helpful Tips
A loose shower knob could be due to a worn valve stem, especially if the stem is plastic. In that case, you can use plumber's tape to fix it. Simply wrap the stem in plumber's tape and slip the handle over the stem. Usually, one wrap around the stem will solve the issue and add years to your loose knob.
If the handle is stuck and you're having difficulty removing it, you may have to place a screwdriver between the handle and wall. When doing this, you can situate a piece of wood between the wall and screwdriver to protect the wall.
Generally, despite what some people may believe, using vinegar on the inside parts of the handle is not a quick fix for corrosion and is not necessarily effective. You're better off tightening the screw or replacing the handle.