I have a leaky exterior faucet where the plastic packing nut has broken and the threaded end is still inside the faucet. How can I remove the broken packing nut from the faucet?

  • Some plumbers doing work on the outside of my house broke the handle of the sill cock washing out some buckets and said it would be just as easy to replace it as it would be to fix it. I ended up getting a nice frost proof one for free that way. Now sure how accessible the supply pipe is, but it might be easier for you to turn off the water, unscrew the faucet and just replace it, I think they are fairly cheap.
    – Zach
    Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 2:49

4 Answers 4


I'm assuming this is in reference to an outdoor garden faucet. If you can't get the old packing out, replace the entire faucet. But first, make sure you don't have a dope of a builder that would solder the threads. Try to unscrew the fixture from the wall (shutoff the outside water first). If it unscrews, then all you need to do is pickup some pipe dope and a new faucet from the store. Clean the old threads, put some pipe dope on the threads, and screw on the new fixture.


If you can do it without damaging a washer (or if the washer can be replaced easily), you can sometimes take a large bladed flat screwdriver and heat it with a plumbing torch, then while it is still hot, firmly push it into the remaining plastic until it is embedded. You can then twist it out fairly easily.


The heated screwdriver sounds a good idea. If that doesn't work I would try using an ordinary twist drill bit and power drill to make enough holes in the nut to be able to break it up and remove it. I would have to take care to avoid threads and other features of the faucet.


So this happened to me. The nut was very brittle. I tried hitting it at an angle but the plastic was too brittle.

Ended up heating the pipe with MAPI gas and held it there for a minute or so. The nut liquified and I was able to push it away from the wall. I was then able to pull it out with a pair of needle noise pliers after 10 seconds.

  • "The nut liquified and I was able to push it away from the wall." This is confusing. Care to clarify what you pushed away from the wall of what?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 3, 2022 at 16:21
  • I heated up the pipe and the nut with the MAPI gas and used a flat head screw driver to separate the nut from the metal housing. The plastic shrinks a bit as it melts and burns off-- then you just pull it out with pliers...
    – wpiman
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 18:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.