my mixer tap started to drip and has got worse to the point I have to turn off the water at the mains. I got the knobs off but despite using lots of penetrating oil (WD40) and leaving it for 24 then 48 hours, I cannot remove the brass valve part to get at the washer. I used a vise grips (yes, I know, did not have spanner) but it just has rounded the nut. I also tried it on the round flange part.

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I assume I should be turning anti clockwise to undo? Any ideas how to get to the washer?

If I need to replace the complete tap, can this be done with the sink in place, access seems very limited. The pipe is 9/16 inch OD - is this then a 1/2 inch pipe (do you go by inside D?) - so is there a standard size for the nut for the pipe?

2 Answers 2


Clean off mineral deposits with a brass or steel brush and a lime dissolver such as CLR or Limewaway. Towel dry as much as possible. Dry further with hair dryer in an attempt to evaporate as much moisture as possible; this, to leave room for penetrating oil to penetrate.

Aply penetrating oil such as PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench. Tap, tap, tap the the valve to set up vibrations to encourage the penetrant. A vibrator can be useful to assist, such as an electric tooth brush or electric engraving tool. Allow penetrant to sit for hours and tap some more after that.

Use a tight fitting wrench or possibly a pipe wrench to turn it anti-clockwise.

  • Thank you! I finally got it off. Used hair dryer and tapped it with a wrench as you suggested. I'm not familiar with those brand names, we have WD40 penetrating oil here in Ireland. Got new brass valve part and knob (don't know names) so hopefully job is done!
    – KevInSol
    Dec 23, 2015 at 18:13

The troruble may be due to the stem being in a too high or low position. Put the handle back on the stem and turn it in the easiest direction and than fully in the opposite direction. Now turn it to the approximate mid-way point. The locknut should loosen with a wrench. If the nut is striped so an adjustable wrench is not gripping it try a pipe wrench. Also, instead of lubricant use white vinegar or a mineral dissolver. Hard water deposits may be sealing it to the faucet. To remove the faucet from the sink you will need to remove the lock nut ('s) from the underside of the sink after turning off the watersupply and removing the supply lines.

  • I got it off, see my comment below. I did not have any white vinigar to hand but will keep that in mind. I put stem in mid position as you suggested. I accepted other answer as maybe the tapping and hair dryer helped. Thanks for your help!
    – KevInSol
    Dec 23, 2015 at 18:16

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