Kohler Kitchen Faucet Cartridge Replacement: Easy Step-by-Step Guide


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Learn how to replace a Kohler kitchen faucet cartridge in a few simple steps. Our easy-to-follow guide includes clear photos and instructions, so you can get your faucet working like new again in no time.

One morning you discover that the water flow from your kitchen tap has decreased to a trickle or is leaking. Oh no, just what you needed? Try changing the cartridge yourself before paying a hefty fee to hire a plumber. Even for novices, this simple do-it-yourself repair may quickly restore your Kohler kitchen tap to like-new condition.

We’ve created a simple step-by-step guide with photos so you can see exactly what to do. Grab your toolbox, pick up a replacement Kohler cartridge at your local hardware store, and in less than 30 minutes you’ll be enjoying a leak-free kitchen faucet once more. Turn off the water supply, remove a few small parts, pop in the new cartridge, reassemble everything, and voila – you’ve got yourself a working faucet and money still left in your wallet. What could be better than that? Time to get started!

What Is a Faucet Cartridge and Why Replace It?

What Is a Faucet Cartridge and Why Replace It?

The cartridge inside your Kohler kitchen faucet controls the flow of hot and cold water. Over time, mineral buildup and general wear can cause the cartridge to malfunction, resulting in drips, leaks, and difficulty controlling water temperature. Replacing the cartridge is an easy DIY task that can restore your faucet to like-new performance.

Examine your tap for leaks, drips, or a decrease in water flow to discover whether it’s time for a new cartridge. The hot and cold water may also start to mix or become difficult to regulate. These indicate that the cartridge needs to be changed. The good news is that changing a Kohler cartridge only takes around fifteen minutes and is widely accessible.

Before starting, gather some basic tools: adjustable pliers or channel locks, flathead screwdriver, Allen wrench (if your faucet handles are secured with Allen screws), towel, and replacement cartridge (available on Kohler’s website or at your local hardware store). Turn off the water supply to your faucet by locating the shutoff valves under or near the sink. Place the towel in the sink to catch any remaining drips.

Use the pliers or screwdriver to pry off the decorative faucet handle cap or lever handle to access the retaining clip or retainer nut. Remove the clip or nut and pull out the old cartridge. Install the new cartridge, making sure the tabs face the correct direction. Reinstall all parts in reverse order and turn the water back on. Test your faucet to ensure no more leaks and proper hot/cold adjustment before using.

With a little time and patience, you can have your Kohler kitchen faucet functioning like new again. Why call a plumber when you can easily fix it yourself? Your wallet and DIY confidence will thank you.

How to Identify Your Kohler Faucet Model

How to Identify Your Kohler Faucet Model

You must first determine the exact model your Kohler kitchen tap is in order to get it operating again. With hundreds of various tap types available from Kohler, it’s important to know precisely what you have in order to get the appropriate replacement parts.

You may find your Kohler faucet model number most easily by looking up the model number that is written on the faucet. Turning off the water supply and removing any objects that are in the way, such as sprayer hoses or aerators, may be necessary. The handle base or spout is usually where you may find the model number, which begins with “K-“. For future use, put it in writing.

In the event that no indications are visible, you will need to visually identify your tap. Snap a picture of your tap and contrast it with the versions shown on Kohler’s website or product catalogs. A few characteristics to look out for include the kind of spout (high arch vs low gooseneck), number of handles (single against two), finish (chrome, brushed nickel), and any unusual accents or features. Determining the model may also be aided by Kohler’s unique docking mechanism for pull-down sprayer hoses.

You’ll know precisely which replacement cartridge to purchase after you’ve determined the model of your Kohler tap. Depending on the model number, the majority of home improvement companies that offer Kohler goods will either have the cartridge in stock or be able to order the appropriate one for you. You are now prepared to finish the repair and restore the free flow of your kitchen tap after obtaining the replacement cartridge.

Gathering the Necessary Tools and Replacement Cartridge

Gathering the Necessary Tools and Replacement Cartridge

To replace the cartridge in your Kohler kitchen faucet, you’ll need to gather a few basic tools and the proper replacement cartridge.


  • Adjustable wrench or pliers
  • Allen wrench/hex key set
  • Towels
  • Replacement cartridge (purchase from Kohler or local hardware store)

You’ll want to turn off the water supply to your kitchen faucet before starting. Locate the shutoff valves under or near the sink and turn them clockwise to cut off the water flow. Place towels in the sink to catch any remaining water drips.

Next, inspect your faucet to determine the specific Kohler model number—it should be printed on a label underneath the spout or on the backside of the faucet base. Take this info with you to purchase a replacement cartridge that matches your faucet model. Kohler and most hardware stores that sell plumbing parts will have options to choose from.

Once you have the new cartridge in hand, use the adjustable wrench to loosen the retaining clip or retaining nut that holds the old cartridge in place. Pull straight up to remove the old cartridge. Wipe away any debris inside the faucet before inserting the new cartridge.

Insert the new cartridge firmly into the tap by aligning its tabs or guides with the slots. Verify that the replacement cartridge is straight and firmly in place before hand-tightening the retaining clip. To make sure the new cartridge is operating correctly and that any leaks have been fixed, turn on the water again and check your tap.

If all looks good, you’ve successfully completed the replacement of your Kohler kitchen faucet cartridge! Turning a tricky plumbing job into an easy DIY task. Your faucet should now be working like new, with water flowing freely and no drips or leaks. Let us know if you have any other questions!

Shutting Off the Water Supply Lines

To replace your Kohler kitchen faucet cartridge, you’ll first need to shut off the water supply lines under the sink. This will cut off the flow of water to your faucet so you can safely disassemble it and install the new cartridge.

Locating the Water Shutoff Valves

Under your kitchen sink, you should see two water supply lines connecting to the hot and cold water inlets on your faucet. Trace each supply line back to find the shutoff valves where they connect to the water supply pipes in the wall. The valves are typically red or blue for hot and cold.

Turning Off the Valves

To turn off the water, rotate each valve handle or stem a quarter turn clockwise. For valves with handles, turn them perpendicular to the pipe to shut off the water flow. For stem valves, turn the stem clockwise to close.

Testing the Valves

Once the valves are turned off, turn on your faucet to make sure the water is no longer running. Check connections under the sink for any drips or leaks and tighten as needed with an adjustable wrench or pliers. Leaving the water on, even slightly, could lead to a messy surprise when you remove the cartridge!

Preventing Damage

Be very gentle when turning off the water supply valves. Valves that haven’t been operated in a long time may be stiff or stuck. Forcing a valve can cause damage, so go slowly and be cautious. If a valve is very stiff, you may need to lubricate it with penetrating oil before trying to turn it. As a last resort, you may need to shut off the main water supply to your home and have a plumber replace the stuck valve.

After your sink’s water supply has been completely turned off, you may remove the tap cartridge. Be patient and take your time; changing the cartridge in your Kohler kitchen tap may be a simple do-it-yourself task if the right safety measures are followed.

Removing the Faucet Handle and Accessing the Cartridge

Removing the Faucet Handle and Accessing the Cartridge

You must take off the tap handle in order to get to the cartridge. Though it may appear difficult at first, with the correct equipment and methods, you can quickly remove that handle.

Removing the Set Screw

The handle is secured in place by the set screw. Find the set screw; it’s usually located on the handle’s underside. To locate it, you may need to use a torch. Since the set screw head is often hex-shaped, you’ll need to loosen it using an Allen wrench or hex key. To loosen, insert the appropriate size Allen wrench into the set screw head and spin it anticlockwise. Take out the set screw entirely.

Prying Off the Handle

You should be able to pull off the handle to reach the cartridge beneath after removing the set screw. To loosen it, you may need to pull up on the handle forcefully and wriggle it. Take extreme caution not to break the handle. If it’s firmly attached, you may try using a flathead screwdriver to carefully peel it out. Using the screwdriver, carefully pry up from beneath the handle’s edge. Continue doing this around the handle’s whole perimeter until it falls off.

Removing the Retaining Clip

Beneath the handle, you’ll find the actual cartridge. It may have a retaining clip holding it in place. Use pliers to grip the retaining clip and pull up to remove it. Be careful not to drop the clip down the faucet body. Remove any other clips or retaining rings in your way.

Pulling Out the Old Cartridge

With all retaining parts removed, you should be able to grasp the sides of the cartridge with pliers and pull straight up to remove it. Wiggle it side to side as you pull up to help loosen it. It may take some force to initially break it free. Once out, clean the faucet body of any debris before installing the new cartridge.

Follow these steps carefully and take your time. With the proper technique and patience, you’ll have that old cartridge out and the new one installed in no time. Your Kohler faucet will be working like new again! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Extracting the Old Cartridge From the Faucet

Extracting the Old Cartridge From the Faucet

Now that you have the necessary tools and parts, it’s time to remove the old cartridge from your Kohler kitchen faucet. This step may seem daunting, but with some patience, you’ll have the old cartridge out and the new one installed in no time.

Turn Off the Water Supply

The first thing you’ll want to do is locate the water supply lines under your sink and turn off the water. This will prevent water from spraying out when you remove the cartridge.

Remove the Retaining Clip

Look for a U-shaped metal clip securing the cartridge in place. Use pliers to pry up one end of the clip and work it loose. Once removed, set the clip aside – you’ll need to put it back on after installing the new cartridge.

Pull Out the Old Cartridge

With the water off and the clip removed, you should be able to grasp the end of the cartridge with pliers and pull it straight up to remove it from the faucet body. Wiggle it from side to side as you pull up to help break the seal. Have a towel ready in case any excess water drips down.

Clean the Faucet Housing

Spend time cleaning the interior of the tap housing with a clean cloth to get rid of any dirt before replacing the cartridge. If there is a noticeable mineral buildup that is glued on, you may also run a light abrasive over it, such as fine-grade steel wool. Please use needle-nose pliers to remove any last little bits.

Test the New Cartridge

Place the new cartridge into the faucet housing with the tabs facing forward. Make sure it slides in fully and evenly, then put the retaining clip back on to hold it in place. Turn the water back on and test your faucet to ensure the new cartridge is functioning properly and that there are no leaks before use.

Recheck that the cartridge is securely fastened and switch off the water straight away if the new cartridge doesn’t appear to be functioning correctly or if you observe any leaks or spouts of water. To thoroughly seat the cartridge and prevent leaks, you may need to give it a little shake or tap. Your kitchen tap from Kohler should be functioning like new again with a few little tweaks!

Installing the New Replacement Cartridge

Now that you have the new cartridge, it’s time to install it. This only takes a few minutes and some basic hand tools.

Shut off the water

The first step is to turn off the water supply to your kitchen faucet. Locate the shutoff valves under or near the sink and turn them clockwise to close them. Turn on the faucet to release any built-up pressure and make sure the water is off.

Remove the old cartridge

Using pliers or an adjustable wrench, loosen the retention screw or clip on the old cartridge to remove it from its mounting. Pull straight up to remove the old cartridge from the tap body. You may need to move it back and forth in order to release it. Clear the tap body of any debris with a clean cloth.

Install the new cartridge

Line up the tabs or splines on the new cartridge with the slots in the faucet body and push firmly until it clicks into place. Hand-tighten the retaining clip or retainer nut. Do not overtighten, or it can damage the new cartridge.

Turn the water back on

Open the shutoff valves under the sink to restore the water supply. Check all connections for leaks. Once you confirm there are no leaks, turn on the faucet to flush out any debris. Run the water for at least 2 minutes.

Your Kohler kitchen faucet should now be working like new again. Be sure to test both the hot and cold water to ensure proper cartridge installation and no leaks before using the faucet. If water is not flowing properly from the spout after cartridge replacement, debris may be trapped in the faucet body. You may need to remove and reinstall the cartridge a couple of times to flush it out.

Call a plumber if you continue to experience issues with your Kohler kitchen faucet after replacing the cartridge. They can inspect for any other potential problems and perform necessary repairs or replacements.

With some basic tools and a few minutes of your time, you’ve saved the cost of a plumber by replacing the cartridge yourself. Well done! Let the water flow.

Reattaching the Faucet Handle and Turning the Water Back On

Now that the old cartridge is out and the new one is in place, it’s time to put the faucet handle back on and turn the water back on.

Reattaching the Faucet Handle

To reattach the faucet handle:

  1. Place the handle over the cartridge stem and faucet base. The handle should slide easily over the cartridge, covering the cartridge collar.
  2. Hand-tighten the retaining clip or retaining nut to secure the handle.
  3. Firmly tighten the retaining clip or retaining nut with pliers or a wrench. Be careful not to overtighten, or you may damage the faucet finish or cartridge.
  4. Turn the water supply lines back on and check that the new cartridge is working properly. Turn the faucet on to ensure water is flowing freely with no drips or leaks.
  5. To clear the supply pipes of any debris and clean the new cartridge, run the hot and cold water for a minimum of two minutes each. Before using the tap normally, do one last check to make sure there are no drips or leaks.

Turning the Water Back On

Once you’ve verified the new cartridge is working properly and the faucet handle is securely in place, it’s time to turn the water back on at the supply lines under the sink.

  • Slowly turn on the hot and cold water supply lines.
  • Double-check that no drips or leaks are coming from the supply lines, valves or faucet connections.
  • Run the water for a couple of minutes to clear out any debris in the lines.

As air is forced out of the pipes, you could initially hear some spurting or spitting. This is typical and will stop when the water pipes fill up again. Prepare to rapidly shut off the water if there are any drips or leaks.

If all looks good, you now have a fully functioning Kohler kitchen faucet again! Turn on your faucet and enjoy easy access to hot and cold running water. Let us know if you have any other questions!

Troubleshooting Common Issues After Cartridge Replacement

Sometimes even after replacing your Kohler kitchen faucet cartridge, things may not seem quite right. Don’t worry, there are a few common issues that are usually easy to fix.

Low Flow or Dripping

If water is dripping from your faucet or the flow seems slower than normal, the cartridge may not be seated properly. Turn off the water supply and remove the cartridge. Inspect it for any debris or damage and rinse it off. Reseat the cartridge, making sure it’s aligned correctly and fully inserted. Turn the water back on and test the flow. If it’s still dripping or slow, the cartridge seal or cartridge itself may need replacement.

Hot and Cold Reversed

Did hot and cold get swapped when you put in the new cartridge? No problem. Simply turn off the water, remove the cartridge, and rotate it 180 degrees before reinstalling. Turn the water back on and the hot and cold should be in the proper orientation again.

Leaking at the Base

If you notice leaking around the base of the faucet after replacement, the cartridge may not be secure inside the housing or the housing itself could be damaged. Tighten the cartridge into place or replace the housing. You may need to turn off the water from the main valve before making any adjustments.

No Hot or Cold Water

Still, have no hot or cold water flow? There could be an issue with your water heater or plumbing connections. As a first step though, double-check that the cartridge is oriented correctly for hot and cold. The H or C marking should match up to the correct water lines. If positioned right and still no hot or cold, it’s best to turn off the water and call a plumber to inspect.

Hopefully, one of these easy fixes does the trick and gets your Kohler kitchen faucet working like new again. But if problems persist or you have additional issues, contact Kohler’s helpful customer service support. They can help diagnose any problems and may send replacement parts if needed.


  • This concludes our step-by-step tutorial on changing the cartridge in your Kohler kitchen tap. Despite their daunting appearance, plumbing repairs are a simple do-it-yourself task that anybody can do. You can have your tap operating like new again and have free-flowing water in less than an hour. The greatest thing is that you avoided having to pay for a plumber’s appointment. Don’t worry if your Kohler tap begins to leak or if the water flow drops; you now know how to quickly repair it. You can do this! Any kind of house repair is achievable with the correct equipment, perseverance, and useful advice. With confidence, take on the leaking tap and enjoy your spotlessly clean Kohler kitchen tap. You are deserving!

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