Of all the things that can drive you mad around your home, a dripping tap must be the very worst. The constant drip, drip, dripping of a leaky tap is the last thing you need to listen to after a hard day’s work. Even worse, a bathroom or en-suite tap dripping through the night could drive anyone to the edge of sanity. 

There’s good news though, while that pesky dripping is making you crazy, it is usually not too difficult to fix. You probably have nothing more serious than a worn-out washer what needs replacing. We’ve included some instructions below on how to change a broken or worn tap washer below. 

The instructions below will help you to diagnose and fix a leaky tap, but if you are in a rush, or don’t feel able to do to the work yourself, help is at hand. Our team of handymen and plumbers can help you with any water-related jobs around the house or office. Whether you need to replace a tap washer, unblock a toilet or drain, install a filter tap system or just get that washer replaced. 

Get in touch with us today and get a quote for your plumbing needs. Fill in our online contact form to get booked in with one of our highly experienced and professional experts. 

Repairing taps yourself can be risky. Be aware that working with water without following instructions carefully could lead to flooding or a water leak. It is a good idea to get advice before doing this work yourself. If you are unsure at all, get a handyman or plumber to undertake the work on your behalf. It may cost less than you think. 

Tools and materials:


Sink or bath plug

Medium sized flat head screwdriver

A pipe wrench or spanner

Replacement tap washer

Some wire wool



1 – Prepare the work area


Before you start you need to make sure the area is safe and prepared. You don’t want to begin only to realise you’ve forgotten something. Firstly, put the plug into the sink or bath. A lost screw or even the new washer down the plughole is not what you need. 

Secondly put down a towel inside your sink or bath to give it some protection. This will give you a second chance if a wrench or screwdriver slips out of your hand. A heavy wrench could crack or break your sink or bath. Even a slip with a screwdriver could leave unsightly and difficult to repair scratch on your bathroom or kitchen fixtures. 

Good preparation is important, prevention is better than a cure. You only want to replace the washer in your tap, not be making endless calls for a tradesman to replace parts of your bathroom suite. 


2 – Turn off the water supply to your tap


Modern homes have isolator valves below the sink or bath which allows you to switch off the hot and cold-water supply. If you are replacing two tap washers or are unsure which pipes are supplying your tap, it is probably best to isolate both hot and cold water. 

Older homes may simply have a hot and cold mains valve somewhere in the bathroom or kitchen. It is important you turn these off and check that they are off before stripping the tap. Run the taps for a few seconds which will drain any water our of the pipes saving any unnecessary leaks. 


3 – Dismantle the tap


Most hot and cold taps will have a cover plate on them. This is usually circular and on the top of the tap. Remove this with your flat headed screwdriver. Once removed you will see a screw on the top of the tap. This is the release screw which will remove the tap handle.

Once removed, the handle should just lift off. It isn’t uncommon for these to stick, so you may wish to apply a small spray of WD40 or a similar product to help ease off the stuck handle. 

Removing the handle will reveal the tap valve head. This is held in place by a bolt head. Adjust your spanner to the right size and undo it. Please note that your tap must not move while you remove the valve head. You should hold the tap in place firmly using your free hand while you undo the valve head. 

Removing the valve head should let you at the worn washer. Some valve heads however have a retaining nut beneath the washer. This will need to be removed before replacing the washer.


4 – Replacing the washer


Your troubles are nearly over. That little disc of black rubber is the thing that has been giving you headache. Now that you’ve removed this it is a good idea to clean the seat for the valve with some wire wool. A good seal is essential, so it is important to remove any dirt and grime that may have accumulated over time. 

Replace the old washer with your new one and put the tap back together. 


4 – Reassemble the tap


Now that you have the washer replaced correctly, you can go ahead and re-assemble the tap. Replace the retaining screw if you have one and replace the valve head. Pay special attention to getting the valve head on to the thread correctly. A threaded head is the very last thing you need at this point. 

Once you have the valve head on the right thread, go ahead and tighten it up with the spanner. Remember to hold the tap firmly in place as you tighten the tap assembly. The tap head should be tightened firmly. Do not over tighten the head as this may damage the tap. 

Once tightened, put the tap handle back in place and insert the head screw. Put the tap cover back on. At this point test your tap a few times to make sure it is turning off and on properly. 


5 – Turn on the water supply. 


You’ll need to turn the water supply back on before the job is done. Carefully turn on the water supply and inspect the tap to make sure there are no leaks. Once you are satisfied that there are no leaks, test the tap a few times to see if it is working properly. 

If it’s a kitchen tap, fill the kettle and make yourself a well-deserved cuppa. If it’s the bathroom, use the tap to run yourself a lovely hot bath so that you can sit and admire your handiwork. Well done!

If you feel you are doing the job wrongly, or you need some extra help, please get in touch with our team. Our handymen and plumbers could be come and do the job for you or conduct a proper inspection of the job for future peace of mind. Please use our contact form to call out an extra pair of hands.



We recommend that all plumbing or water works are done by an expert handyman or plumber. If you are doing the job yourself, we strongly advise you take adequate safety precautions to avoid accidents or flooding. Read any instructions and follow them closely when undertaking any work. It is essential you follow any manufacturer’s instructions when doing any works around your home. Ensure that tools and equipment are fit for purpose before using them.

In every instance, we aim to assist you in giving you correct and clear instructions to follow. This is to enable you to do any project around your home or office with minimum fuss or expense. Please note however that we provide guidelines only and information should be followed keeping in mind that your particular product may differ from our general advice. 

You are entirely responsible for determining your capability for undertaking such work, and while we believe our information is of high accuracy and quality, we cannot be held responsible for any accidents or damage that may occur due to incorrect installation or faulty parts. 

Prior to undertaking any DIY job, it is important that you are aware of, and have studied, any regulations relating to the electrical, water, gas or other building works you are completing. If you are unsure of any of the information above, or require any further information, please contact our team who can put you in touch with an expert handyman or tradesman who can do the work for you. 

Please ensure any safety checks and testing are undertaken by an appropriate tradesman before signing off as complete on any project around your home or office space. 

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