How to Tighten a Loose Kitchen Faucet

When your kitchen faucet doesn't seem quite as stable as it used to be, the nuts that secure it to your counter or sink are usually to blame. To tighten them up, you'll need to take a look under the sink.

Getting Under the Problem

Identify the mounting nuts, typically secured with washers or fasteners. Depending on your faucet, these fasteners may be made of colored plastic, or they may simply look like basic metal nuts. There should be two -- one on either side of the supply lines that supply the faucet with water. These secure the faucet to the counter top or base plate. With time and use, they often loosen.

Once you've identified the nuts, all you have to do is give them a good tightening. Slip-joint pliers serve as a handy catch-all for various types of nuts, as do adjustable basin wrenches, which allow you to work in tight spaces. Depending on the brand -- installation specifics vary depending on whether you have a Moen or Delta faucet, for instance -- you might need to turn to a crescent wrench or pair of channel locks, however. Additionally, some fasteners may be secured to the counter with screws, so give them a good tightening with a screwdriver for extra stability.

Fixing Floppy Handles

Grinding against the valve stem when turned causes faucet handles to lose a little friction over time, but the fix is often as easy as using a screwdriver or hex wrench to tighten the setscrew that holds the handle on the faucet. If it's not immediately visible, the setscrew may be concealed under a decorative button on the handle's center, which you can typically pry off with a flat-head screwdriver.

If tightening the screw doesn't do the job, turn to a little tape. Unscrew the setscrews to remove the handles, revealing the stem inside. A worn stem leads to floppy, loose operation, so freshen the stem up by wrapping it tightly with a few layers of thread-seal tape, also known as plumber's tape. Slide the handle back on and re-screw them to bolster their resistance.