How To Remove A Shower Handle Without Screws

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall
Shower handles almost always have screws, and if you can’t seem to find yours, then they are likely hidden. There are several ways around this, such as twisting off the base or identifying the hidden screws. Follow along as we explore what you can do if your shower handle doesn’t appear to have screws.

Whether you’re changing your shower hardware or replacing a cartridge valve, you need to remove the shower handle. If you don’t see any screws, you might be wondering how you’re supposed to take off the handle.

Typically, if your shower handle doesn’t have visible screws, they are simply hidden. To remove them, you might need to locate and remove a cap or button on the handle base. In other cases, your handle may twist off at the base.

Basically, once you reveal the hidden screw, you can use a screwdriver or Allen wrench to remove it. Then, with the screw removed, the shower handle should easily lift off.

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What Style Is Your Shower Handle?

There are three common styles of shower handles: knob, lever, or cross. Here’s a quick look at these different styles:

Knob Handles

Knob handles are reminiscent of what you may find on a door. These handles are usually circular shaped and are spun in a circular motion to turn the shower on and off. Knob handles are also available in jewel, globe, oval, and even square shapes.

A tight grip is usually not required to turn a knob. Although you might need a tight grip in a shower situation since you are opening and shutting a water valve.

Lever Handles

Lever handles are exactly how they sound and are bar-shaped handles on a pivot. Typically, just as with knob handles, you’ll have an option for on/off and an option for hot/cold.

Just like knob handles, you’ll be able to find lever handles in a variety of designs. They come in multiple finishes, colors, and textures to fit all styles of bathroom decor.

Cross Handles

Cross handles get their name from their cross-like, or X, shape. They are very similar to knobs in the way they function. However, instead of having a globe or circular shape, you have an X.

These types of knobs might be useful for someone who has arthritis or fine motor skills. The shape of the cross handle is often easier to grasp. They also have a more vintage feel, so they are a great style if you’re looking for a retro look.

What if You Have Multiple Shower Handles?

In addition to these styles, you can also select between double-handled or single-handled. Double-handled simply means one knob operates the cold water, while another operates the hot water.

With a single shower handle, one unit controls both the hot and cold water, depending on how you turn it.

Most shower handles have hidden screws that attach them to the faucet. However, there are a few models that can simply twist off a base.

How To Replace A Shower Handle

How To Remove a Shower Handle That Has NO Screws

There’s a chance your shower handle simply twists off of its base. If your handle came with an installation manual, you could find this info in it. In other cases, you might find a different type of bolt.

To remove a shower handle with no screws, you should follow the steps we’ve provided below. Most of these steps are free and require little-to-no tools. A washcloth and an Allen wrench or Allen key (hex key) are good to have around, just in case.

As with any repair, if you feel like you’re in over your head, you may find it better to call a professional. There will always be some type of service call fee and the actual cost of the repair, which can get quite costly.

Before calling a pro, make sure that your handle isn’t a twist-off. Plus, ensure that there isn’t something special you have to do first, like finding a lock or pressing a button.

How To Remove a Shower Handle with No Visible Screws

A shower handle may appear to be screw-less but then end up having some screws. These screws simply were not visible beforehand, which obviously will add a step or two to your process.

If you find after following the above steps that you cannot remove your shower handle, look closer. Upon inspection, you’ll likely discover your shower handle has a screw, and you just missed it. If this is the case, follow the steps below, starting at #5.

Tools You May Need:

  • Possibly an Allen wrench, 
  • Possibly a washcloth
  • Possibly some kind of corrosion or rust cleaner, such as CLR

Step 1: Determine Whether It’s a Lever

If your shower handle is a lever, it may require an Allen key/wrench to remove it safely. If it is a knob or cross, you can continue to Step 2.

Step 2: Check for a Name Brand

If there is a name brand on your shower handle knob or lever, you can likely find a guide. There are generally free guides posted by the manufacturer online, letting you know the step-by-step process for that handle.

Step 3: Give It a Tug

If you don’t see a hole for an Allen key or know the name brand of your knob, try a tug. You should remove the handle by pulling or tugging on it until it detaches from the tub or shower surround.

Step 4: Try It with a Twist

Many knobs require that you twist or spin them before removing them. This is likely the way opposite the way you turn it on.

It may even be at a different point from which you turn the knob to turn your water on (higher or lower up). Try using your washcloth if you cannot get a good grip.

Step 5: Look for Hidden Screws

Your shower handle may have regular screws, in which case you would need a standard flathead or Phillips screwdriver. The screw could also be a hidden hex screw located near the base of the handle. If your screw is a hex screw, you can remove it using an Allen wrench instead of a screwdriver.

Step 6: Call a Professional

But, if you feel like you’re about to break something, it might be time to stop and call in professional help. You may also have a regular or hex screw that’s corroded and stripped.

In this case, there are a variety of YouTube videos you can watch for hacks on this subject. Or you can stick to the original plan and call a professional. Regardless, we are here to help with all of your upgraded home needs.

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Related Questions

Oh no! I broke the cap when I tried to pop it off to get to the screw. What do I do?

First, you should consult the manufacturer of your handle to determine what type of cap is required.  You can buy directly from the manufacturer, price comparison online, or even try buying a used cap from an online marketplace.  A cap for a shower handle typically costs less than $10. Although, some manufacturers may require you to buy the entire shower handle kit to get this particular part. In that case, you can always try a site like eBay or another online marketplace for a used cap. If your cap breaks, this is an excellent time to decide if you’d like to change it. You may want one that says Hot or Cold in cursive or H or C in red or blue. Or you might want it to say nothing at all, depending on your decor needs and taste.

I popped off the button, but I still don’t see a set screw. What happened?

There could be a lot of calcification or corrosion, making it impossible to see the screw. You also won’t be able to access it. If this is the case, you can first try to eliminate the corrosion with products like Lime Away or CLR.  There may also be a cover for the screw you need to pry off using a small screwdriver.  If calcification or corrosion isn’t the problem, call the manufacturer or look in the manual that came with your faucet. You might need to maneuver the handle a certain way to reveal the set screw. If you plug the model number into a Google search, you can probably find a helpful video or two. These videos can show you the trick to locating the screw for your specific model. A shower is a place to bathe, and hopefully, we have made it a little easier for you to make a clean transition from your old shower handle to your new one.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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