Clean the cartridge in a fitting

If a fitting is dripping or the temperature and discharge settlement control does not work properly, it is usually on a calcified cartridge. Before replacing this or even the whole fitting, you can try to fix the problem with a cleaning.

Why clean the cartridge in the fitting?

The cartridge is the heart of all fittings with single lever mixers, which are now the standard for bathroom sinks, rinsing and bathtubs. It enables the simultaneous regulation of

  • Output temperature and
  • Outlet

This works using two ceramic discs, which can be superimpicated and moved against each other. The lower ones are allowed by slots that move over the cold and hot water line, a stepless temperature regulation. The ceramic disc above has a larger opening that allows the flow rate to be regulated continuously by moving it.

Over time, calcification can occur in the cartridge chamber, which then leads to functional impairments. There is also often a precisely fitting seal underneath the cartridge, which can become porous due to the calcification and can cause the tap to drip. As a rule, the entire cartridge is replaced immediately. Firstly, individual cartridge replacement parts are hard to come by and, secondly, entire replacement cartridges don't really cost much.

How to remove the cartridge from the fitting?

Before starting to remove the cartridge, turn off the water supply. There may be shut-off valves on the wall directly in the room to turn off. Some mixer taps even have screws on the underside of the arm to shut off the water supply. If there is no shut-off option in the room, close the main tap for the domestic water supply. In the sink or bathtub, you should also close the drain plug so that no small screws can disappear in the drain.

Now it's time to expand. There are subtle differences in how cartridges are built into single-lever mixer taps. However, the principle is by and large uniform. The cartridge is always located in the lever head, i.e. under the base of the swivel lever. In order to get to them, you have to dismantle the latter. Mostly it is screwed on with a 2.5 mm Allen screw. It can be located at the front at the base of the lever or under a cover cap on the lever head that can be easily removed with a slotted screwdriver.

After the lever handle is released, you can already see the handle holder, which is located directly on the cartridge. If necessary, the cartridge is also covered by a spacer ring that can be loosely removed. You can pull the cartridge out of the faucet body at the handle holder. There is often still a seal on the underside of the cartridge, which you should also check to see if it is in good working order and replace it if necessary.

Clean the cartridge

To clean the cartridge itself, immerse it in lukewarm vinegar water for at least 30 minutes. If you have vinegar essence available, all you need to do is add a good squirt or two to a liter of water. After the exposure time, rinse the cartridge with warm water. Then put it back into the fitting after inserting the seal, put on any spacer ring and screw the lever back on.