How to Replace a Cartridge on a Moen Faucet

The Right Tools for the Job

Moen bathroom faucet
The Spruce / Aaron Stickley

When a Moen cartridge faucet begins to leak or have other problems, the standard solution is to replace the cartridge. This is an easy job and is made even easier with the use of one of two handy tools. 

One of the tools is a plastic nut that fits over the old cartridge and allows you to turn the cartridge back and forth with an adjustable wrench or pliers. This frees the cartridge if it's stuck and makes it easy to pull out of the faucet body. This tool often is included with Moen replacement cartridges. 

The other tool is called a cartridge puller. It screws right onto the old cartridge so you can use the puller to turn the cartridge free and pull it out. You can find cartridge pullers at any hardware store or home center. Moen has its models, but you can use generic versions that are made for Moen cartridges.

Supplies Needed:

  • Screwdrivers
  • Utility knife
  • Tongue-and-groove pliers
  • Cartridge puller or plastic cartridge tool and adjustable wrench)
  • Replacement Moen cartridge
  • Plumber's grease

Shut off the Water

Shut off the water supply to the faucet by closing the shutoff valve 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

Remove the Handle

Handle of a Moen bathroom faucet
The Spruce / Aaron Stickley

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

Remove the Faucet Clip

Removing a Moen faucet clip.
The Spruce / Aaron Stickley

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

Note: 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. 

Extract the Cartridge

Using a T-handle Moen Cartridge puller
The Spruce / Aaron Stickley

Using a plastic nut:

  1. Fit the nut over the cartridge so the tab on the nut engages with the notches on the cartridge.
  2. Grasp the nut with an adjustable wrench and turn the nut side-to-side a few times to loosen the cartridge.
  3. Remove the nut and pull the cartridge straight out to remove it, using your hand or pliers. 

Using a cartridge puller: 

  1. 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. 
  2. Position the puller so it fits tightly in the notches of the stem.
  3. Turn the puller side-to-side a few times to loosen the cartridge. 
  4. 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.

Replace the Moen Cartridge

A Moen stem on a cartridge puller
The Spruce / Aaron Stickley
  1. Apply a small amount of plumber's grease to the rubber O-rings of the new cartridge, if they aren't already lubricated.
  2. 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 for the retaining clip. 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. 
  3. Reinstall the retaining clip by hand or using pliers. Fit the chrome sleeve into place if your faucet has one.
  4. Reinstall the handle, securing it with its screw, then snap the decorative cap onto the handle. 
  5. Turn the water back on by turning the shutoff valves counterclockwise until they stop. Run the faucet to test for proper operation.