Estimated Time: 30 Minutes
- Pliers (or an Adjustable Wrench)
- Old Rag
- Small Bowl
- Old Toothbrush
If water begins to spurt erratically from your faucet, it’s probably time to clean the aerator. Fortunately, this is one of the easiest plumbing tasks you’ll ever have to do. Get water flowing smoothly again by removing mineral deposits and other debris from your faucet’s aerator by following these simple steps:
Step 1: Plug Your Sink
Aerators contain several small parts, usually consisting of a small screen, a casing, and a rubber washer. You don’t want any of these parts disappearing down the drain when you take the aerator off the faucet later.
Step 2: Fill the Small Bowl with Vinegar
You won’t need much… just enough so that the aerator will be completely submerged after you take it off the faucet. The vinegar will help loosen any mineral deposits so you can scrub them off with a toothbrush.
Step 3: Remove the Aerator from Your Faucet
Now it’s time for the real fun to begin. Aerators simply twist off of faucet spouts, so they are generally pretty easy to take off. That said, sometimes the mineral deposits act like miniature welds, which can increase the difficulty tremendously. If you cannot twist off the aerator by hand, wrap a cloth around the aerator to protect it and use a pair of pliers or an adjustable wrench to twist it off by force.
Step 4: Disassemble the Aerator
Separate the aerator into its individual components, in preparation for soaking. Most aerators are made of three parts: a metal casing, a screen, and a rubber washer.
Step 5: Soak the Aerator in Vinegar
Place each part into the bowl of vinegar and let them soak for several hours. This timeframe might change depending on how long it has been since the last cleaning. If you notice that mineral deposits have not been loosened at all, let the components soak for a little while longer.
Step 6: Scrub Each Part with an Old Toothbrush
After soaking each part, scrub them vigorously with an old toothbrush and inspect your handiwork. Don’t settle for anything less than spotless! You’ll likely only have to do this once, if you do it right.
Step 7: Rinse and Reassemble the Aerator
You’re almost finished! Hopefully you remember how each part fit together. Rinse each component well with water and reassemble the unit. As you reassemble, make sure that nothing is damaged or broken.
Step 8: Reattach the Aerator to the Faucet
Last but not least, reattach the aerator by twisting it back into place. It doesn’t have to be as tight as a lug nut – finger tight usually works well. Remember, if you use a tool, wrap the aerator in cloth to protect its finish from getting scratched when you twist it back in place.