How to Replace a Cartridge on a Moen Faucet

faucet fixture in a bathroom sink

w-ings / Getty Images

Overview
  • Working Time: 20 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10 to $60

Like most manufacturers, Moen uses a cartridge design on many of its faucets, whether for faucets in the kitchen, bathroom, or tubs and showers. When problems occur (often signaled by leaking), both their single-handle and double-handle faucets are usually easy to fix by removing the old cartridge and replacing it with a matching new one.

Replacing a faucet cartridge is a surprisingly easy task, especially for Moen faucets. There's almost never any reason to call a plumber for this work when you can do it yourself in just a few minutes.

Before You Begin

The cartridge replacement process is similar for nearly all cartridge faucets, no matter who the manufacturer is, but Moen makes the job easier with a convenient proprietary cartridge puller that is often packaged together in a kit with the replacement cartridge. Alternatively, you can obtain a generic cartridge-puller tool used by many professional plumbers. A cartridge puller screws right onto the old cartridge so you can turn the cartridge until it's free and pull it out. You can find cartridge pullers at any hardware store or home center for a reasonable price.

Tip

It's generally best to choose replacement cartridges made by the manufacturer (if they're available), which are assured to fit properly. But don't be afraid to buy aftermarket parts from a reputable secondary supplier, provided they are specified for your faucet model. With older faucets, a secondary supplier may be your only choice if the manufacturer no longer offers replacement parts.

Moen bathroom faucet
The Spruce / Aaron Stickley

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Slot and Phillips screwdrivers
  • Utility knife
  • Channel-lock pliers
  • Cartridge puller

Materials

  • Replacement cartridge
  • Plumber's grease

Instructions

  1. Shut off the Water

    Shut off the water supply to the faucet by closing the shutoff valves on the hot and cold water supply lines under the sink. Turn the valve handles clockwise until they stop. If there are no shutoff valves under the sink, turn off the water to the house at the home's main shutoff valve

  2. Remove the Handle

    Pry off the decorative cap on the faucet handle using a small, flat-head screwdriver. Remove the screw in the center of the handle cavity, then pull the handle from the faucet body.

    Handle of a Moen bathroom faucet
    The Spruce / Aaron Stickley
  3. Remove the Faucet Clip

    Using a utility knife, remove the small retaining clip that keeps the cartridge in place. Fit the tip of the knife into the small hole or space at the back of the clip, slide out the clip a bit, and remove it with your fingers or pliers. 

    (If your faucet has a chrome sleeve covering the clip, remove the sleeve by pulling it straight up. This will give you access to the cartridge clip.)

    Removing a Moen faucet clip.
    The Spruce / Aaron Stickley

     

  4. Extract the Cartridge

    The cartridge can sometimes be pulled from the faucet body just by tugging on it with pliers, but it is easier if you use a cartridge puller.

    Fit the cartridge puller over the end of the cartridge and screw the center of the puller into the hollow threaded end of the stem. Position the puller so it fits tightly in the notches of the stem.

    Turn the puller side-to-side a few times to loosen the cartridge. Pull out the tool to extract the cartridge. It may come out in one motion. Otherwise, continue turning side-to-side while pulling the cartridge out.

    Using a T-handle Moen Cartridge puller
    The Spruce / Aaron Stickley
  5. Replace the Cartridge

    Apply a small amount of plumber's grease to the rubber O-rings of the new cartridge, if they aren't already lubricated. Insert the cartridge into the faucet body, aligning the tabs on the cartridge with the notches on the faucet. The cartridge must be properly aligned in order for the retaining clip to fit.

    Many replacement cartridges come with a plastic piece that helps you line up the cartridge so you can get the clip back in. If not, you can use the cartridge puller or plastic nut and wrench to wiggle the cartridge side-to-side until the clip goes in easily. 

    A Moen stem on a cartridge puller
    The Spruce / Aaron Stickley
  6. Reassemble the Faucet

    Reinstall the retaining clip by hand or by using pliers. Fit the chrome sleeve into place if your faucet has one. Reinstall the handle, securing it with its screw, then snap the decorative cap onto the handle. 

    Turn the water back on by turning the shutoff valves counterclockwise until they stop. Run the faucet to test for proper operation.