I recently hooked up a new washing machine to the faucets in my sink. They mostly work well, but both of the faucets drip slowly when there's water flowing through them.

What can I do? I've tried tightening the washer hose, but to no avail. Do I need to replace the faucet? Are there things I should look at before bringing in a plumber?

Right now, I just turn the faucets off after doing a load of laundry, but that's really not ideal.

  • 1
    Whether my or gregmac's answer applies depends on where you see the water leaking from. If it's coming out around the valve stem (the part you turn on and off) then it's the packing material. It's a really cheap fix (maybe $1 in parts and only a wrench to perform the work).
    – BMitch
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 11:57
  • If the leak is instead coming out of the connection between the hose and the faucet, then as gregmac says, replace the washer. That's even easier and cheaper, no need for a plumber for that.
    – BMitch
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 11:59
  • @B Mitch, it's coming out around the valve stem. Does that still require turning off the water in the house to fix?
    – Bill
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 14:52
  • Haven't checked yet to see if there's a shutoff valve for just that faucet.
    – Bill
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 15:02
  • In that case it's the packing. You'll need to shutoff the water to that faucet (either via the whole house or a separate shutoff for that specific line). E.g. if it's just the hot water side, you may have a shutoff for just that.
    – BMitch
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 15:33

2 Answers 2


Sounds like the packing inside of the faucet needs to be replaced, assuming this is similar to an outdoor hose faucet. After you shutoff the water (probably for the whole house if you don't have a separate shutoff for that line) you can open the valve up by unscrewing the nut that the valve stem goes through. You can find new packing material at most home improvement stores that looks like a black string like material, typically right next to all the washers. I'd also suggest replacing the washer at the same time. And clean all the threads and apply fresh plumbers dope before screwing things back together.

If the installing plumber was nice, you can also unscrew the entire faucet from the pipe. Then clean up the threads, put on some fresh pipe dope, and screw on a new faucet. It will cost a few bucks more, but the process is much easier and the result is also nicer. Unfortunately for me, my plumber decided to solder the threads making this task nearly impossible without opening up the wall to cut the pipes.

If you're not comfortable with soldering pipes should things go wrong, and you have to shutoff the water to the entire house, then consider having an appointment with a plumber already scheduled, that you can cancel without incurring any fees, before starting.

  • Exactly - it's like a garden hose faucet. Thanks for the explanation. Given my skill level, sounds like calling a plumber is probably my best bet :)
    – Bill
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 2:33
  • Before turning off the house water, maybe fill a clean 5gal bucket with fresh water. That will get you through a lot while the water is off.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 2:53

Since you said you're tightening the hose, it sounds like the leak might just be at the hose hookup (which is pretty common). If that's the case, the best thing to do is disconnect the hoses, and replace the rubber washers inside. It's usually not worth salvaging existing washers.. if they have a crack/cut, or have been mangled in some way, they're useless, and new washers are a couple dollars at any hardware store.

If the leak is not at the hookup but is from the handle itself, then it's something in the body, and depending on the faucet you may just be able to tighten it, replace parts inside, or have to replace the entire faucet. If this is a case, a picture would help a lot.

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