Simple Solutions

Cleaning a Faucet Aerator

By: Joe Truini
Unscrewing a faucet aerator for cleaning.

Unscrewing a faucet aerator for cleaning.

When a faucet has a weak or intermittent flow, the problem is often with the aerator. Aerators contain a fine wire screen that mixes water with air to provide an even flow. Over time this screen can become clogged with mineral deposits or debris, reducing the amount of water coming through.

To solve the problem, unscrew the aerator from the end of the faucet, and soak it overnight in a cup of white vinegar. The acid in the vinegar will dissolve any deposits and make the aerator as good as new.


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12 Comments on “Cleaning a Faucet Aerator”

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    March 15th, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Hi, Rocky,
    Here’s “Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford’s answer to your question:

    “Low water pressure in a particular faucet can also be a result of debris inside the valve stem or a restricted supply line.”

    Thanks for your question.

  • Rocky Says:
    March 1st, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    I took the aerator off and soaked it overnight, and the water flow was some better, but not quite right. So I soaked it for two full days, without any better result. Any other ideas?

  • Official Comment:

    Joe T. Says:
    March 13th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks, Pat, good tip. Although I hope I never have a aerator that stubborn. Thanks for writing.–Joe T.

  • Pat G. Says:
    March 13th, 2011 at 9:39 am

    If the aerator wont come out of the faucet. Fill a small plastic bag with white vinegar. Place around faucet head. Tape in place so vinegar will not leak out. Leave over night. This should work.

  • Official Comment:

    Joe T. Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Well, Teresa, if what Page–and you–are saying is accurate, that there is no possible way to unscrew the aerator, then yes, you’re right, the suggestion given won’t work. If you can’t unscrew it by hand, and the faucet does’t have some sort of setscrew securing the aerator, then you’ll have to contact the manufacturer.–Joe T.

  • Teresa Pellegrino Says:
    August 29th, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Hi – The answers you gave Page are great but they didn’t answer her question. The sink I have also has no way of unscrewing the aerator. It is inset up into the faucet. Is there a way to get that out and clean it. Thanks

  • Official Comment:

    joe t. Says:
    August 21st, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Good idea, Ben. I’ll have to try using a rubber pad someday. The reason I recommend a damp cloth is that you can always find one in a bathroom. (I typically use a washcloth.) And a dampened cloth won’t slip as easily as a dry one. Besides, I don’t own one of those rubber pads, and probably wouldn’t be able to find it if I did!–Joe T.

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    August 21st, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Ditto what Joe said. I’ve found that using one of those flexible rubber pads that’s made for loosening can lids works even better when using pliers to remove plumbing fittings, since it doesn’t slip like cloth does. Joe, are you listening? Sounds like a Simple Solutions segment to me!

  • Official Comment:

    joe t. Says:
    August 20th, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Hi Page, Sorry you’re having trouble removing your faucet’s aerator. See if these suggestions help: First, make sure you’re turning the aerator in the correct direction. To loosen virtually any threaded fitting you must turn it to the left. However, since you’re looking straight down on the aerator, you must rotate it to your right, which is actually to the left, if you look up at the fitting. I know it’s confusing and even a little counter-intuitive, but look closely at the Simple Solution video as I twist off the aerator, and you’ll see what I mean.
    Secondly, if you can’t loosen the aerator by hand, wrap it in a damp cloth and use pliers. The cloth will protect the finish from scratches. Again, be sure you’re rotating it in the correct direction.
    Thanks for writing, Page, hope this helps.–Joe T.

  • page johnson Says:
    August 20th, 2010 at 9:43 am

    i need to clean my screen on my bathroom faucets, but the screen or aerator does not unscrew, it is inset in the tip of the faucet…how do it get it out to clean it??

  • Official Comment:

    joe t. Says:
    August 16th, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Great tip, FA Guy. I’ll check it out. Thanks!–JT

  • Faucet Aerator Guy Says:
    August 15th, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    This is great stuff around getting rid of the sediment build up. Also you could consider getting anti clog faucet aerators these do not use screens and eliminate build up. They also come in low flow rates.

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Cleaning a Faucet Aerator