Which Way to Turn Water Valve Off Under-Sink: A Simple Guide

Last updated on May 20, 2024

Turning the water valve off under your sink involves rotating the valve clockwise until it stops.

Key takeaways:

  • Turning the valve clockwise shuts off the water flow.
  • Locate the valves under the sink, one for hot and one for cold.
  • Use the “righty tighty, lefty loosey” rule to turn off the water.
  • Check if the water is off by turning on the faucet.
  • If you can’t find the valves, look behind pipes or in nearby cabinets.

What's Inside

How Do I Turn The Water Supply Off Under The Sink?

how do i turn the water supply off under the sink

Most under-sink water valves are small and round, often with a slightly flattened top. They typically have a blue handle for cold water and a red handle for hot water. If they’re not color-coded, don’t worry, you’re not being tested for color-blindness. Just go with whatever is there.

To turn off the valve, grasp the handle and twist it clockwise. Remember the old saying: “Righty tighty, lefty loosey.” If the valve feels stiff, don’t panic. A gentle tap with a wrench can sometimes help to loosen it up.

Make sure to turn the handle completely, as a half-turn can leave a trickle of water still flowing. You might hear a slight hissing sound when the water stops, but that’s normal. Congratulations, you’re now the master of your plumbing domain!


First things first, locate your water shut-off valves under the sink. These are usually small round or oval handles that can be turned.

You typically will find two valves: one for hot water and one for cold. They should be fairly easy to spot as they are connected directly to the water supply lines.

Once you’ve found the valves, remember the old adage: “Righty tighty, lefty loosey.” Turn the valve handle to the right (clockwise) to shut off the water supply. This simple twist will close the valve and stop water flow.

Make sure to check if the water is actually off by turning on the faucet. If no water comes out, congratulations, you’ve done it! If it’s still running, double-check that you’ve turned the valve fully to the right.

Having a towel handy might be a good idea in case there’s any residual water in the pipes. And, voilà, you’re a valve-turning pro!

Step 1

First, locate the valves. Typically, you’ll find these under the sink, close to the back wall. You might encounter one valve for both hot and cold water or, more often, two separate valves. It helps to use a flashlight if visibility is poor.

Check if the valves look like small knobs or if they resemble levers. If they’re knobs, they’ll likely be round with a ridged grip. Levers, on the other hand, are straight handles.

Identify which valve corresponds to which water supply. Usually, the hot water valve is on the left, and the cold water valve is on the right. This is standard plumbing practice, but hey, sometimes plumbers like to test our patience!

Step 2

Next, you need to locate the shut-off valves. These are usually found right under the sink, attached to the pipes leading up to your faucet. Typically, you’ll see two valves—one for hot water and one for cold. The hot water valve is usually on the left, and the cold water valve on the right.

Remember, “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.” To turn the water off, twist the valve clockwise. If you’re facing the valve handle, this means turning it to the right.

Don’t force it if it’s stuck. A little WD-40 or gentle wiggling usually does the trick.

Once you’ve turned the valves, test your faucet. No water? Congrats, you’ve done it!

Funny how something as mundane as turning a valve can make you feel like a plumbing superhero, right?

Step 3

Turn the valve until it stops. Righty-tighty is your friend here. Twist the valve clockwise. Don’t worry about getting it perfect on the first try, you’ll know when it’s fully closed.

If it’s hard to turn, get a firm grip (a towel might help). Valves can be stubborn, like that jar of pickles you gave up on last week.

Listen for silence. No more hissing or running water means you’ve done it right.

If water is still flowing, give it another twist. Sometimes valves need a bit of persuasion, like a cat ignoring you until you get the treats out.

Can’t Find The Valves?

If you can’t find the valves, don’t panic. Sometimes they play hide-and-seek.

First, look right behind the pipes under your sink. Sometimes they’re tucked away, blending in like a chameleon.

Still no luck? Check inside nearby cabinets. Occasionally, valves are positioned for convenience – or maybe just to confuse us.

If your home is older, the valves might be in the basement. Homes are quirky that way.

In extreme cases where the valves seem to have vanished into a black hole, your main shut-off valve might be your best bet. This is usually located in the basement or near where the main water line enters the house.

Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Calling a plumber is not admitting defeat; it’s accepting victory over your water supply!

Final Thoughts

Water valve adventures can be surprisingly fun, can’t they? Here are a few key points to remember for those under-sink escapades:

  • Turn clockwise to shut the water off; think of it as tightening a jar lid.
  • If a valve is stuck, a gentle wiggle or a squirt of penetrating oil can be a game-changer.
  • Home improvement stores offer nifty tools like valve wrenches if manually twisting becomes a wrestling match.
  • Remember, lefty-loosey, righty-tighty. Classic wisdom prevails under sinks too.
  • Sometimes, a hammer is not the answer. Patience, young plumber, patience.

Navigating valves might not be as fun as decorating cupcakes, but with these tips, you’re all set for the task. And who knows? Next time, you might even enjoy the process.

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