How to Stop an Outdoor Faucet from Dripping

Outdoor faucets, also known as hose bibbs, often begin to drip or leak around the handle over time. To stop an outdoor faucet or hose bibb from dripping, use pliers or an adjustable wrench to slightly tighten the packing nut below the handle of the faucet in a clockwise direction.

If that doesn’t stop the leak, you’ll need to replace the rubber washer.

To replace an outdoor faucet washer:

  • Turn the water off to the faucet.
  • Unscrew the packing nut by turning it counterclockwise.
  • Pull the handle and stem out of the faucet housing.
  • Remove the screw on the end of the stem that holds the rubber washer.
  • Replace the rubber washer on the stem with one of the same size.
  • Tighten the screw holding the washer back up.
  • Insert the stem into the faucet housing.
  • Tighten the packing nut on the faucet housing.
  • Turn the water back on, and test the faucet for drips or leaks.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: Janet asks, “How can I stop my outside water faucet from leaking?”

If you have an outside faucet that just won’t stop dripping, well, it’s great drip irrigation for any trees or plants you may have around your house; but you’ll end up spending a lot of money on your water bill. Lot of times it’s very easy to fix by simply taking a pair of pliers and tightening that packing nut directly behind the handle.

Many times, that’s all you need. But, if not, you’ll need to cut the water off at the street to turn all water off to the house. Then back that same nut off and remove the handle and the stem.

You’ll find a washer right on the end of that that’s probably compressed or damaged in some way. You simply remove the screw, take the washer off, and replace it.

And when you buy that washer maybe pick up a couple extra ones. They’re very inexpensive and you’ll have a few spares if this kind of thing happens again. Then 99% of the time, you’ll be good.


  1. I have a leaky outdoor garden faucet. I can best describe it as a 2-part sysem (part 1 is an inside single lever & part 2 is outside and is a straight handle, “not round” and a screw is at the center.

    I have tighened the screw on the outside handle and the screw on the inside lever. (I have repaired faucets but do not see anything that looks like a “stem” that I can remove to replace washers — if there are any.

    Nothing I have searched on line looks like this set up.

    I the leak is a constant slow drip and I know I am wasting money — — APPRECIATE YOUR ADVISE ON WHAT THIS IS AND HOW TO REPAIR IT.

    Thank you very much

  2. I did as instructed and magic! Fixes the front and rear faucet leaks. The front had been leaking for months and the rest faucet had been leaking primarily from the spigot which has now been remedied by either the new washer/gasket or the tightening of the nut. Either way, can’t complain. I spent $4 at Home Depot instead of calling a plumber to have both faucets looked at. Excellent work!

  3. Thank you for the info on stopping the leaking water from the outside faucet. It was wasting too much water and we are supposed to conserve on water here in California. I really appreciated the video Danny provided because it clarified the written instructions. I realize now I can do it for the landlady instead of having her hire someone to come out and fix it at a high cost.

    • Hi, John,

      Each home is different, so without knowing the details about yours, we recommend visiting your local The Home Depot, explaining your home’s specifications and unique needs, and asking for tailored advice.

      Good luck with your project!

  4. I turned off the shut-off valve inside house that goes to oneoutside hose bib but Water still keeps trickling out from hose bib unless I shut faucet off. Should I still let it trickle out. Help Thanks.

  5. I want to thank you VERY MUCH for putting this video out there . It has really saved my sanity, wallet and house . It is -8 out and I was able to fix the outside spicket . You are a “house” saver!!! Thank you again!!!

  6. Ahh if life were so easy. Nice instructions, but most older faucets have a double nut design (with a very stubborn lower nut), and this video does not apply. Also, if you’re going to film a ‘how to’ video, you should probably use a phillips driver to remove/install a phillips head screw. Just a suggestion 🙂

  7. I have an ABS, brand hosebibb with a 4″ stem. The stem is all one piece. I have removed/replaced the HB washwer at the end but it is damaged each time I install the new one due to having to tighten so hard to slow the drip. It appears there is another shut off area inside the wall & housing that may be damaged due to the damage caused by the new washer each time. I think I need to tear out the wall & just replace the entire assembly but that requires a lot of additional repairs. Any thoughts or shortcuts to solve this situation?

  8. My faucet broke from been old and l can’t stop the water from flying out l has to cut the main line off now my water in my house not working

  9. I have the same problem as Kimberland Sears. I have a piece on the top of the outdoor faucet. It looks like a flat umbrella with a stem. It turns around both ways. This little device size (umbrella) is less than the size of a quarter. The stem may be one (1) inch. The home was built 25 – 30 years ago and I am the new owner. I have never seen anything like this and it is releasing a great amount of water of late. Could you please help me on this? I have searched on Google as well as several stores. Thank you, Susan

    • Hi, Susan!
      We’re always looking for homeowners to call into our radio show and ask questions directly to Danny and Joe. We’ve reviewed your question and shared it with our radio producer.
      Take care. 🙂


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