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How to Remove Plastic Inserts From Bathroom Faucets

Kenneth Crawford

When making repairs to your bathroom sink or tub faucet, it is necessary to remove the faucet handle. The stem or cartridge of your faucet is located behind the handle. Rotary faucet handles secure to the faucet with a single setscrew in the center of the handle. The setscrew is hidden behind the plastic insert in the center. Removing the plastic insert from a bathroom faucet depends on how the insert is set inside the handle.

  1. Turn off the water supply to the faucet you are repairing. Sink faucets have two water shut-off valves under the sink. Bathtub faucets have a shut-off valve behind the wall, with access usually available through a panel in the adjoining room.

  2. Look for a notch between the plastic insert and the faucet knob. Insert a flat-head screwdriver into the notch to pry the plastic insert out of the handle.

  3. Insert the blade of a utility knife in the seam between the insert and the faucet handle, if there is no notch present. Twist the utility knife handle up and down to pry the insert off.

  4. Grasp the outside diameter of the insert with a pair of pliers, if your insert protrudes above the faucet handle. Turn the plastic insert counterclockwise to unthread it from the faucet handle.