Drip. Drip. Drip. Please make it stop.
November 2, 2011 5:45 AM   Subscribe

Lateral thinking to the rescue: Please suggest creative ways to make a dripping tap silent.

I have a dripping tap in my living space. A plumber has told my landlord that this particular tap can't be repaired, only replaced, and for various (completely legitimate) reasons it could be a while before this happens. I've tried dampening the sound with a sponge in the sink, but the drips become loud again as soon as the sponge is saturated. What else can I improvise to stop the noise?
posted by embrangled to Home & Garden (24 answers total)
Wrap a towel around the faucet and stick the other end into the drain.
posted by valkyryn at 5:46 AM on November 2, 2011 [12 favorites]

Put a washcloth in the sink under the drip. Pull out the stopper and push a little of the washcloth down the drain. What you're hearing might be the drip inside the drain. Alternately, tie a string around the faucet in such a way that the drip slides down the string and into the drain. Good luck.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:48 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

Similar concept as valkyryn mentions, but with a string.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:49 AM on November 2, 2011 [15 favorites]

Valkryn's is a great idea. Pretty much anything hanging from the end of the spigot for the water to run down would work - a string, a metal chain, etc. It doesn't even have to lead into the drain; it could stop just above the surface of the sink bottom and work as well.

I'm skeptical that the reasons for not replacing the faucet are all that legitimate. Unrepairable / disposable faucets are cheap, and replacement is easy.
posted by jon1270 at 5:50 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yup, the string method is perfect.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:51 AM on November 2, 2011

Put a tall bottle in the sink and direct the drips so that it grazes the outside neck of the bottle.
posted by plastic_animals at 6:05 AM on November 2, 2011

Yep, string or towel.

But like jon1270 says, faucets are crazy cheap (and easy to replace, too); this isn't something that should need to wait a long time to fix.
posted by Forktine at 6:22 AM on November 2, 2011

I have this problem; when I am not using the sink I just use the shutoff knob (under the sink) to turn off the water for that particular tap. Do you have access to the hot and cold shutoff knobs?
posted by janepanic at 6:25 AM on November 2, 2011

Do you have access to the valve that can cut off water to the faucet? I've lived in peace with a drippy tap for several years by controlling the water with a valve under the sink.
posted by neushoorn at 6:26 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could offer to replace the faucet yourself, with help from the many DIY videos online or maybe the staff of a hardware store, and take the costs for materials and your time off your next rent.
posted by Miko at 6:46 AM on November 2, 2011

I have a method that might be the least obtrusive of all. Take off the aerator, and tie a single hair around the grill, in the area that the drips start from (should be easy to find due to the mineral buildup). The water will take any path down, and I'm willing to bet it would ride the hair as well. I think fishing line would also work for this purpose. String would work but is probably overkill.
posted by wnissen at 6:51 AM on November 2, 2011

Provided that your sink has movable faucet you can position the faucet so that the drip grazes the divider or basin wall and breaks its fall.
posted by JohnFredra at 6:55 AM on November 2, 2011

Yeah, use the string. Easy to keep using the tap around it or to flip it up out of the way.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:55 AM on November 2, 2011

Even better, use the string method, but run the string from the tap into a bowl rather than down the drain. Then use the water in the bowl for watering plants or something. (This advice coming from an area with scary water shortages looming. Wasted water makes me sad.)
posted by Dojie at 7:13 AM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]

Replace some washers? Check those DIY videos.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:21 AM on November 2, 2011

A cork?
posted by dirtdirt at 7:36 AM on November 2, 2011

Yeah, the string trick mentioned above is an oldie but a goodie. Dojie's addition of a bowl is an excellent one.
posted by katemonster at 7:38 AM on November 2, 2011

Everyone is on the right track, but dental floss or thread is the best.
posted by Nothing at 8:35 AM on November 2, 2011

I think small chain works better—a miniature version of the chains used for pipe-less downspouts. An old cheap necklace. The water first fills the open spaces in the chain and then meanders down the chain silently. The benefit is that the chain has enough mass to stay where you put it and won't fall apart. Of course, floss won't either.
posted by bz at 8:50 AM on November 2, 2011

There might be a shut-off valve under the sink that you could turn off when you're done using the faucet.
posted by yoink at 8:59 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think that the easiest solution would be plastic_animals' above. Put a bottle, or anything slanted at a steep angle, under the tap so that the drops are virtually silently hitting the side of the bottle at an extreme angle and not dropping straight down to the bottom of the sink. No fiddling around, just placing a glass bottle in the sink when you go to bed.
posted by fso at 3:03 PM on November 2, 2011

Another lateral solution would be if you have a tall enough glass you can fill with water from the tap, and place in the sink such that the tap's outlet sticks down into the surface of the water. No strings or things to contend with, and you have a glass of water whenever you feel like one. Depends on how your tap & sink are shaped, though.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:29 PM on November 2, 2011

(ps if that seems skanky, remember that you probably drink the same water regardless. if you have any concerns about the hygiene, put a couple of teaspoons of bicarb soda into the glass, place it in position, and fill quickly with vinegar for some frothy eco cleansing goodness. Pro tip: pouring the same mixture down your drains every now & then will kill moulds & things, and eliminate odours)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:16 PM on November 2, 2011

Use the string, and put it in a bowl or pitcher, so you can use the water for plants instead of wasting it.
posted by theora55 at 7:20 PM on November 2, 2011

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