How to Loosen a Stuck Water Turn-Off Valve

Most faucets and toilets in your home have a water turn-off valve. This valve connects the house water line to the supply line of the faucet or toilet. When repairs are necessary, the turn-off valve cuts off the supply of water. However, if you have not used the turn-off valve in a long time, sediment and mineral deposits build up on the handle stem. Loosening a stuck water turn-off valve so you can work on your faucets requires loosening the nut securing the stem.

Place a small container under the handle area of the stuck turn-off valve.

Adjust the jaws of an adjustable wrench around the packing nut of the turn-off valve. The packing nut is the nut between the body of the turn-off valve and the handle.

Turn the packing nut counterclockwise slightly while turning the valve handle clockwise. Turning the handle clockwise shuts off the water to the faucet or toilet.

Rotate the packing nut clockwise. Turn to retighten it to the turn-off valve body. Check the packing nut over the next couple of days to ensure there are no leaks. If a leak is present, turn the packing nut clockwise another turn.


Once you turn the handle initially, the sediment and mineral deposits usually release, allowing you to turn the handle freely. It is a good idea to turn your turn-off valve handles once a month to prevent them from getting stuck.

Things You'll Need

  • Small container
  • Adjustable wrench
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About the Author

Kenneth Crawford is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. His work has appeared in both print and online publications, including "The American Chronicle." Crawford holds an associate degree in business administration from Commonwealth College.