How to change a washer on a mixer tap

change a washer on a mixer tap

Are you a homeowner or landlord? The best way to fix your mixer is to change the washer, especially if it leaks or drips. This is important since a faulty washer is a major reason a tap leaks. Regular use and pressure cause the washer to become damaged over time. The good news is that it is easy to change the washer.

In this blog, we will explore how to change a washer on a mixer tap. Continue reading to put your DIY skills to good use and minimise water wastage due to dripping.


What is a Tap Washer?

Commonly called sealing or packing washers, tap washers are plain objects in the shape of a disc. They have a hole or orifice at the centre. Whenever the tap is turned off, they assist in blocking the flow or supply of water beneath the tap. You can find washers in toolkits or plumbing supplies.

They offer an easy fix if your tap is broken or starts to leak, dribble or can’t properly open or close.

Tap washers function by forming a protective wall between the tap seat and the spout. A lot of them are also made to cover any misshapen holes or gaps in tap setups.

Because of this, they block or shut the spout of the tap valve. They are manufactured from easily squeezed and compressed materials to form an impenetrable seal. This allows the tap washer to seal the valve hole securely.

a mixer tap

Easy way to change the washer on a mixer tap

The tips we have provided in this section are specifically relevant to dual tap mixers that allow the flow of hot and cold water. Single-tap mixers usually feature an easy-to-remove cartridge that replaces a washer or O-ring.

Tools you need:

  • New washers
  • New O rings
  • A screwdriver with a flat head (or flat tip)
  • Adjustable wrench (or spanner)
  • Tape measure or calliper (this is a professional measurement device, but a tape measure will do)
  • Some quantity of silicone grease (non-toxic)
  • old rag or towel
  • Tap reseater (this will be useful if your tap seat is faulty)

Here are the steps you can use to change a washer on a mixer tap:


1. Turn off the supply of water.

You have to stop the supply of water to your tap to repair it. Locate the main stopcock or stop tap (which should be found underneath your kitchen sink) and turn off the valve. Next, empty the mixer tap you would like to fix by allowing it to run until fully drained.


2. Detach the tap valve or headgear

There are two taps in a dual tap mixer on each side of the spout of the tap: cold & hot. At this stage, you should also examine (and change) the washers in either handle to avoid the need to do it afterwards.

a) Check for covers or caps atop the taps. They might be coloured “red” and “blue” or labelled “H” and “C.” Use a thin blade screwdriver with a flat head to remove them properly.

b) Look under the screw for the cap. Unscrew the cap by holding the tap head and detaching the headgear.

c) Use an adjustable wrench to detach the tap valve.


3. Detach the O rings and washer

a) Next, examine the O rings on the valve’s body and the washer positioned at the bottom.

b) Unscrew the O rings with your screwdriver tip.

c) Some washers may or may not have an opening. However, they are meant to keep the tap base impermeable securely. With the tip of your screwdriver, gently remove the washer. Exercise caution so you don’t get injured.

d) You will see some O rings on your valve. Examine if they are still workable — It may not be necessary to change them all. However, you may need to use some silicone grease.

e) Make sure you screw all the components back into place securely to prevent leaks.

We advise that you replace your washers and O rings with brand-new ones that have the exact same size. To measure washers and O-rings, you can either utilise a tape measure or callipers (for experts). If you can’t get any, go to any DIY or hardware store, and they can assist you in picking new ones. Ensure you carry your old washer and O-rings along.

Also read: How to Fix a Running Toilet with a Button Flush

4. Install the replacement washer and change the tap.

a) At this stage, you can change the washer at the lower end of the valve. Ensure that your replacement O ring is already in position and the headgear is fastened tightly.

b) Before changing the headgear, examine the tap seat (the flat surface where the washer settles on). If faulty, it can contribute to leaks. You will now have to use a tap reseater to fix the faulty surface.

c) Install your replacement washer into the valve. Ensure the assembly is properly lubricated.

d) Next, re-screw the headgear back to position. Securely fasten the tap using a spanner.

e) Ensure the tap handle is replaced. Securely fix the screw and also place the plastic cap back into position.

f) Do the same for the other tap and test the setup. There shouldn’t be any leak or dribble.


5. Examine and change the spout O ring.

Another possible source of the leakage is a faulty tap spout, which comes with an O ring.

a) Use an adjustable wrench to remove the spout. Place a piece of fabric between the spout and the spanner to minimise damage to the device.

b) Detach the tap spout

c) Examine if the O ring is leaking or faulty.

d) Use your flathead screwdriver to extract them if they are faulty.

e) Screw your tap back together.

Tips for preventing broken washer on a mixing tap

  1. To increase the service life of your mixer tap and avoid future washer problems, always maintain and clean the tap.
  2. Avoid common mistakes, such as using too much force when turning the tap on and off, as this may result in a damaged washer.
  3. Schedule regular inspections to identify any potential issues early on and resolve them promptly.

When to Seek Assistance from Professionals

While changing a washer is an easy DIY project, some tap problems might be trickier and call for professional expertise. If you run into challenges during the repair or think there are underlying issues besides a washer replacement, it’s a good idea to contact a qualified plumber. They can quickly identify and fix complex issues, making sure your tap works perfectly.


We hope you were able to replace your tap washer properly. When finished, turn on your water supply once more to see if the problem persists. Contact us for professional and affordable plumbing services if you run into any problems.

Share This: