Plumbing Tools: Shower Cartridge

Shower cartridge removal tool

What the heck is this?  For several plumbing projects, you often need a very specific tool to complete the job properly (or even to do it at all).

In today’s article we focus on a really weird looking tool called a Cartridge Removal tool, it is needed to replace common shower cartridges like a Moen (which we service at Tim’s Plumbing Service).

Of course, just call us and we will do it for you – but here are some basic instructions to help.


To remove the cartridge from your faucet assembly, first use a hex wrench to loosen and remove the screw from underneath the handle. Then, pull the handle out away from the wall and unscrew the handle adapter and remove it.
To get access to the cartridge, unscrew and remove the faucet escutcheon. Remove the washer and the limit stop from the cartridge and use pliers to remove the retaining clip.

Cartridge Removal

You are now ready to remove the old cartridge. Insert the white plastic tool, which is included with your new cartridge, onto the cartridge stem so that it straddles the ears. Use pliers on the white plastic tool and loosen the cartridge by twisting ¼ turn each direction one time. After removing the white plastic tool, grasp the cartridge stem and pull it straight out of the valve using pliers or an adjustable wrench.

Cartridge Reassembly

You can now install your new cartridge. Push the cartridge straight into the valve, making sure that the ears of the cartridge are lined up precisely with the clear tabs filling the front and back center openings of the valve body, or 12:00 and 6:00.  To reinstall the cartridge into your faucet assembly, reverse the steps that you followed to remove the old cartridge. Reinstall the retaining clip, the limit stop and the washer onto the cartridge. Fasten the escutcheon to the wall.

Replace the handle adapter, and finally secure the handle using the hex key. Go to step 8 if you want to reverse the Hot and Cold sides.