How To Properly Clean A Bathroom Or Kitchen Faucet Aerator

If you are experiencing water pressure issues in your sink, it may be the aerator. All bathroom and kitchen faucets have an aerator on the end of the tap to help control the flow of water. Aerators occasionally get clogged with debris and only need a cleaning to unclog them. Here are some tips on how to clean faucet aerators.

Remove the Aerator

Cover the drain to avoid losing parts. Turning off water isn't required to fix an aerator. Try taking off the aerator with your hands. If it is too tight, use padded pliers or a rubber wrench.

Otherwise, cover the aerator with a cloth to prevent scratches and remove it with channel hooks. Loosen the aerator by rotating the pliers counterclockwise. Don't turn too hard or you could damage the aerator housing.

If you still can't get it off, lubricate it with penetrating oil. Open the windows when you do this. Completely cover the aerator in the oil. Let the aerator soak several minutes and try removing it with a rubber wrench.

Soak in Vinegar

The aerator can be cleaned without taking it apart. However, you may want to check for small objects trapped inside.

Disassemble the aerator with a small screw driver,paper clip, or tooth pick. An aerator has three parts: the screen, washer, and housing, Remember how you took them apart. 

Clean clogged holes with a needle. Prepare a bowl with enough white vinegar to cover the aerator parts. Heat the vinegar in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds. Vinegar is effective for removing mineral deposits Check for trapped parts with your pinky finger.

Soak the aerator parts overnight. Remove extra debris with an old toothbrush. Soak the aerator again if needed. Rinse the parts before reassembling.


Run the tap to clear additional sediment. Make certain the parts are dry and reassemble. Place the aerator back on the faucet. Secure it with firm hand pressure, but do not turn it too tight, so that removing it in the future will be easier. 

Turn the water on to examine for leaks on the sides. If it leaks, turn the water off, cover the aerator, and turn pliers clockwise. Slowly turn the water back on and check for leaks. Once the water runs smoothly, it has been properly cleaned.

Sometimes, all an aerator needs is a good cleaning which you can do on you own. Replace damaged or corroded parts. Aerators should be cleaned twice a year. If the aerator will not come off or this doesn't solve your water pressure problem, you will need a plumber like Benjamin Franklin Plumbing.