Bathtub Faucet Won’t Turn Off

The bathroom holds a special place in our daily routines. It serves as our first stop in the morning, last stop at night, and a frequent retreat throughout the day.

Whether a long, indulgent soak or a quick rejuvenating shower, it provides a space for solace and relaxation. Sometimes, it even provides a temporary escape from the chaos of daily life, offering a peaceful respite from the world.

However, even in this sanctum, a malfunctioning faucet can be a frustrating and alarming problem. A leaky or dripping faucet can grate on the nerves, but a faucet that refuses to turn off can cause significant damage to the floors and walls.

This article will discuss the potential causes of a bathtub faucet that won’t turn off and provide solutions to alleviate your concerns.

What Is A Bathtub Faucet?

A bathtub faucet is a plumbing fixture that controls water flow into a bathtub. It is typically located on the wall above the bathtub and has one or two handles to turn the water on and off and control the temperature.

Bathtub faucets can come in various styles and finishes, such as chrome, brushed nickel, or oil-rubbed bronze, to match the bathroom decor.

What Are The Reasons Why A Bathtub Faucet Fails To Shut Off?

There are two primary reasons for a bathtub faucet failing to turn off:

Defective Faucet Handle

Inside the bathtub faucet handle is a stem component that regulates the water flow through the faucet. The handle controls whether the stem is open or closed.

If the handle is damaged or the set screw has loosened, it may not be able to grip the stem tightly enough to stop the water flow.

Replacing the handle is relatively short, especially if your faucet has two handles. However, hiring a licensed plumber for assistance may be best if it has only one handle.

Worn Or Damaged Valve

The valve inside the faucet regulates the water flow through the stem. If the valve is worn or damaged, it can cause the faucet to lose control of the water flow.

When this occurs, it’s necessary to replace the valve. However, this job is not easy and requires professional assistance as the valve needs to be removed from behind the wall and replaced with new components.

In summary, a faulty faucet handle or a worn-out valve are the most likely causes of a bathtub faucet failing to turn off. It is recommended to seek professional help to avoid exacerbating the issue.

What Actions Should Be Taken When A Bathtub Faucet Won’t Turn Off?

If your bathtub faucet doesn’t turn off, you may need to call a plumber, but you can try to fix it yourself first.

Learning the basics of faucet repair can be helpful for future reference. Here are two approaches you can take to fix your bathtub faucet.

Fixing The Faucet

  • First, try to tighten the handle screw to see if that solves the problem.
  • Turn off the water supply to your home.
  • Please take a picture of the faucet and its handles for reference.
  • Use a flat-blade screwdriver to remove the cover plate and tighten the handle screw with a Phillips screwdriver.
  • Turn the water supply back on and check if the problem is fixed. If not, move on to repairing the stem.

Fixing The Stem

  • Turn off the water supply.
  • Remove the handle from the stem by rotating it or using a wrench.
  • Inspect the stem end for damage and replace any worn or damaged parts.
  • Check the handle for damage and replace it if necessary.
  • Clean the stem end with an old toothbrush and a rag.
  • Wrap thread-seal tape around the valve stem tip and press the handle over it firmly.
  • Turn the water supply back on and check if the fix works. Note that the tape is a temporary fix, and you will eventually need to replace the stem and handle.

What If You Can’t Fix It?

Your repair may not be a permanent solution or may not even solve the problem at all. If the problem persists, turn off your water supply immediately and contact a plumber.

If your repair only provides a temporary fix, you may need to do it correctly and should still call a plumber to fix the issue permanently.

Suggestions To Remember

Here are some recommendations to consider:

  • Cover small pieces or spare parts with a cloth to prevent them from falling into the drain. This will avoid clogging the drain and the need for unnecessary replacements.
  • Place a protective sheet in the bathtub before beginning any work to avoid leaving scratches or stains.
  • Always wear protective gloves when working with pipes to avoid getting hurt by sharp edges.
  • It is also advisable to wear safety goggles to prevent any stray particles from getting into your eyes.


A bathtub faucet that won’t turn off can be a frustrating problem, but it is not impossible to fix. With the right tools, some basic knowledge, and the tips provided, you can attempt to repair the faucet yourself.

However, if you need more confidence in your abilities or the problem persists, it is best to seek the help of a professional plumber. Remember to take necessary precautions to protect yourself and your bathtub from further damage.

By being proactive and promptly taking care of the issue, you can ensure that your bathtub faucet is functioning properly and avoid any potential water damage or wastage.


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