How to Clean a Faucet Aerator

What You'll Need
Wrench or pliers
Masking tape
Dish Soap

A faucet aerator works to limit the amount of water that pours down your spout while the tap is turned on. Using a faucet aerator can reduce your water usage by as much as 30 percent, and as it is not very expensive, it can be a money saving investment. The aerator consists of a small wire mesh that mixes air with the water and reduces the pressure, but as most water contains minerals and debris, it is possible that your aerator screen can become clogged with dirt. If this is a problem, you can remove the aerator and clean the mesh before replacing. A few simple steps can help you to get this job done quickly and easily.

Step 1 - Removing the Aerator

The aerator can be removed using pliers or a wrench. If you wish to preserve the outer appearance of the wrench, then you should wrap masking tape or a dishcloth around the edge of the aerator screw. This will help to prevent marks from the pliers being left on the metal of the aerator. With the device in once hand, grip it with the pliers using the other, and twist in opposite directions to unscrew. Once the aerator is released, lay it on the kitchen workbench, and take out all of the parts.

Step 2 - Remove Large Debris

While you have the pieces ready, check all of them for debris or signs of damage. Remove any particularly large solid pieces using a toothpick, and also chip away at any mineral deposits lying on the screen. If there is a significant amount of mineral solids on the screen, then you may need to soak it overnight before you can pick the screen free. Use vinegar for best results. In the morning, wash these pieces in warm water to get rid of any debris before they are fitted back onto the aerator.

Step 3 - Wash the Aerator

With all the pieces disassembled, and any large particles of debris chipped off you should wash your aerator in warm soapy water, using an old dish sponge. The sponge should be used to remove any old debris at the sides of the aerator, and can also be used to wipe it away once the water has loosened it. Keep the pieces in the water until you are satisfied that they are completely free of dirt. Once the pieces are all clean, leave to drain upside down overnight.

Step 4 - Refitting the Aerator

Once the aerator has been washed, you will need to fit it back together. If any pieces have been left in vinegar overnight, rinse these thoroughly before fitting them back on the inside of the aerator. Check to ensure that there is no debris or deposits left around the screen, and then replace the aerator back onto the faucet using the pliers. Most of these devices will simply screw into position on the faucet, but be sure to tighten them completely before you try running water through it again.