Shower Won’t Stop Running-Causes and Fixes

A leaking or dripping shower is a common problem in the bathrooms. This dripping, even at a minor scale can cause many severe problems. It not only adds an extra expense to your water bills but makes the floor wet increasing the risk of slipping.

Generally, shower drippings are due to loose faucet handles, or faulty shower cartridges. However, in some cases, rusting of parts can make a shower valve bad, resulting in constant dripping from the shower. So, if your shower handle is loose, you can tighten it. In another case,  if the valve freely rotates, then replace the cartridge.

Further, in this article, I will explain the main causes why your shower won’t stop running even if it’s turned off, and some remedies to fix this issue.

3 Reasons Why Shower Won’t Stop Running

You are closing the tap but the water is not stopping. This is worrisome and you may feel helpless in this scenario. However, if you had an idea of why might be the cause, you can easily fix it. Here’s a list of three reasons why the shower may be dripping out water.

1.     Loose Shower handle / Showerhead

In most cases, the shower knob or handle on the faucet bears a screw. When the screw gets loose over time, the shower handle doesn’t perform its job properly. Being loose, it doesn’t completely close the valve and as a result, water keeps pouring out.

If the showerhead is loose from its stem, the water may pour from that region as well. So pay attention, from where does the shower leak.

2.     Faulty Shower Cartridge

replacing defective ceramic disc cartridge covered with limescale in shower mixer using wrench

A faulty shower cartridge is a common cause of your running shower. It is a fixture that regulates the flow of water i.e. it controls the amount of water that will pour out of the shower head. The shower handle or knob actually sits on the top of the cartridge.

If you have closely looked at a shower faucet, it comprises many miniature parts like O-rings, valves, gaskets, etc. These parts may get wear and tear after some specific lifespan. When that happens, the cartridge becomes free to rotate and you get to see a constant dripping from the shower. Moreover, over-tightening the knob is another why the shower cartridge gets free.

3.     Rusted Parts

Since the shower parts are constantly exposed to water, it is natural that some of the metallic parts get rusted over time, affecting the shower faucet. This is likely the cause of dripping if your shower faucet is quite old.

How to Fix a Shower that won’t Stop Running?

Since you have looked at some of the reasons why a shower drips out water even during its closure, here are some ways to fix that.  

Fix # 1: Tighten The Shower Handle

One of the major causes of the dripping of shower heads is the loose parts. Fixing these parts like screws etc. is not a difficult job. All you need is a screwdriver and a spanner. Follow these steps and you will get rid of this issue:

  1. First, tighten the showerhead with a spanner.
  2. If the dripping does not stop, then remove the faucet plate using a sharp blade or screwdriver.
  3. You will be seeing a screw over there. Tighten that screw with the help of a screwdriver.
  4. If the issue was due to loose parts, then your issue will be get resolved.

Fix # 2: Replace the faucet cartridge

Cartridge turning bad is the most prominent cause of running showers.  In many cases, the faucet has completed over the expected lifespan so it turns bad;  the cartridge cannot be repaired, so you will have to replace it completely.

The process is slightly different compared to tightening screws. So, I would recommend hiring a professional for the job. However, if you are interested in doing it yourself, carefully follow these steps.

  1. Turn off the main water supply valve of your washroom.
  2. Remove the cover plate of the faucet using a sharp blade or a flat screwdriver.
  3. Turn the screw in a counterclockwise direction to dismantle the shower handle. Be careful while handling the small screws.
  4. A cylindrical small cartridge will be visible to you now. Remove that carefully with the help of a spanner. Do not misplace any of the parts from the shower, as you need them again.
  5. Apply a lubricant over the surface.
  6. Now place a new cartridge over that. Use PVC tape and screw it professionally to prevent any future leakages. Make sure to install new O rings and gaskets included with your new product.
  7. Align the cartridge the same as the one you removed earlier.
  8. Insert the cartridge, screws, plate, and cover back as they were before.

Fix # 3: Clean Parts

In some cases, the dripping shower is due to some clogging of dirt and rust particles. All these particles clog the valve, so the valve isn’t able to stop the water completely.

You can easily clean your faucet by following these steps:

  1. Remove the faucet plate and other shower parts same as described before.
  2. Get a rust and lime cleaner from the market.
  3. Use that chemical to clean every part enclosed within it. You can take the help of a clean cloth for rubbing.
  4. Assemble back everything as it was before.

Sometimes the water coming from the main supply, the pipes which are carrying the water, and even your water tank are responsible for these particles. In such cases, it is better to clean up your pipes and tank, so that further particles may not chock your shower and become a reason for shower dripping.


Here are a few questions people usually ask regarding showers

Why Doesn’t My Shower Turn off after I close the Shower Valve?

The Shower Won’t turn off after you close the shower valve if the shower cartridge has turned bad. The visible symptom of this issue is a free shower knob that rotates on either side.

Why do my tub and shower run at the same time?

If you have a shower and tub installed with the same faucet, and they run simultaneously. Then, the probable cause is a bad diverter valve. It is the valve that regulates the water flow to the shower head and bathtub. When it turns bad, as soon as you turn on the faucet, the water pours from both fixtures at the same time.

Wrap Up

Shower dripping is an annoying problem. It not only wastes water but is also a source of discomfort. However, you can easily tackle it by identifying the potential causes and fixing them accordingly. In some cases, tightening the handle screw would fix the problem. However, if it doesn’t, you will need to replace the cartridge- for that you may need professional help.

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