Why Can’t I Remove a Kohler Faucet Handle?

Perhaps your quick plumbing project is suddenly turning into a whole fiasco because you need to remove the handle of your Kohler faucet, and there aren’t any set screws in sight. Well, if that’s the case, you’re not alone.

If you’re searching for the ever-elusive set screws on a faucet handle so you can remove the handle and finish your plumbing project, we can help. Well, we can guide the process, anyway, so continue reading to learn more.

Kohler Faucet Types

Kohler makes a variety of faucets to match various bathroom and kitchen aesthetics. Kohler’s two-handle bathroom faucets and Devonshire widespread faucets can be difficult to contend with. You won’t find a set screw holding the faucet handle in place, which can be frustrating. After all, how hard can it be to remove a faucet handle? Well, truth be told, it shouldn’t be too tricky, especially if you have one of the faucet types we listed above.

KOHLER K-10433-VS Forte Single Control Pull-out Kitchen Sink Faucet, Single Lever Handle, 1-hole or 3-hole installation, Vibrant Stainless, 2-function Spray Head

How To Remove The Handle Of A Kohler Faucet

The process of removing a Kohler faucet handle depends on what kind of faucet you’re dealing with. We’ll address a few different taps, including center set and widespread faucet handles.

Removing The Handles On A Widespread Faucet

If you have a widespread two-handle Kohler faucet, the removal process should be reasonably straightforward. Kohler fixes the handles in place via the decorative skirt around the perimeter of the faucet base. So, removing it is pretty simple. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Soft cloth
  • Strap wrench
  • White vinegar
  • Warm water

You may or may not need the materials listed above. It depends on whether the faucet cooperates or not. If it doesn’t release using your hands, you may have to resort to using a strap wrench.

Since we’re assuming you need to replace or repair some component within the handle, perhaps the valve stem or cartridge, you should start by turning off the water supply to the sink. There might be a shut-off valve beneath the sink, but if there’s not, you’ll have to shut off the main water supply valve.

Bathroom Faucet by KOHLER, Bathroom Sink Faucet, Purist Collection, 2-Handle Widespread Faucet with Metal Drain, Polished Chrome, K-14406-4-CP

Once the water is off, drain excess water from the supply lines by turning on the faucet. Then, to remove the handle, simply twist the decorative skirt around the base of the handle counterclockwise using your hand. Hold the handle itself firmly in your other hand while you rotate the skirt.

If the skirt doesn’t move and seems to be stuck, wrap a soft cloth around it to protect the finish. Using a strap wrench, attempt to turn the base counterclockwise. Once the skirt loosens, use your hand to finish unscrewing the base. Lift the handle away, and you can proceed with your repairs.

If there is any mineral buildup, use a solution of vinegar and warm water to dissolve the deposits. Wipe the area clean with a soft cloth before reinstalling the handle.

Removing The Handle On A Center Set Faucet

There are two primary styles of Kohler center set faucets. If there isn’t a set screw, the process is the same as the widespread faucet handle removal: rotate the skirt counterclockwise, then lift away the handle to expose the valve.

Now, if the handle has a set screw, the process looks different. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3/32” hex wrench
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Warm water and vinegar (optional)

Again, ensure the water supply is off before you start the process. Locate the set screw, which should be on the back of the lever handle. Using a 3/32” hex wrench, loosen the set screw. Once you remove the set screw, use the Philips screwdriver to remove the screw in the bonnet.

After you remove it, the valve should be exposed, and you can proceed with your faucet body repair process. To reassemble the handle, follow the steps in reverse order. If there are any mineral deposits, use a mixture of warm water and vinegar in a 50/50 solution. Wipe away the excess before reinstalling the handle.

1 thought on “Why Can’t I Remove a Kohler Faucet Handle?”

  1. Hi. I have a Kohler Margaux widespread sink faucet. K-16232-4-BN is the model. I’m losing my mind over trying to change the cartridges. I have two of these faucets but one has very poor flow. Both faucets are identical and so is the plumbing and I see no kinks in the hoses. There are no flow restrictors that I know of. So I decided to look at the cartridges.

    I removed the bonnet set screw and loosened the screws and mounting bracket underneath but I can’t get the bonnet to budge. I have tried to wedge a razor blade into the space between the countertop (quartz I think) and the bonnet, but it is too small. I have tried stuff like vinegar to dissolve any deposits that may have been gluing itto place to no avail. I have also tried unscrewing it with channel locks and a strap wrench and I have also tried tapping it with a mallet. It is so fixed in place that I am wondering if I am missing something.

    I was thinking that maybe I need to remove the whole valve assembly, but the problem is I cannot unscrew the underneath mounting bracket because the sink basin is in the way.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!


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