How to Clean Faucet Aerators (and Why You Should)

How to Clean Faucet Aerators (and Why You Should)

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Photo: Serhii Ivashchuk (Shutterstock)

Take a look at the bottom of the faucet on most modern kitchen and bathroom sinks, and you’ll probably see a small, round screen called an aerator. This thin piece of metal controls the flow of water from the faucet by adding air. This reduces splashing and water consumption.

Aerators also act as a filter of sorts, catching debris that’s still in the water. And over time, that gunk, along with mineral deposits and other build-up, can make the aerator less effective. It is easy to clean it. Here’s how to clean it.

How to clean faucet aerators

In order to clean an aerator, you first must remove it from the faucet. Most faucet aerators can be removed by hand. However, you might need to use pliers or a wrench to loosen the screw.

Another type of aerator, also known as hidden or recessed aerators, screws into the faucet’s inside and requires a small key to be removed. If this is the case, the key may have been included with your faucet. If you don’t have one, you can find one at a hardware store or plumbing supply shop.

When the aerator is off the faucet, start by soaking it in a glass of white vinegar for about five minutes. To remove any remaining mineral deposits or debris, scrub the faucet with a small brush like an old toothbrush. If vinegar doesn’t work, you can try soaking it in a mixture with citric acid and water. Once the aerator is clean, you can place it back on the faucet.

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Ideally, you should clean your aerator every six months, as well as after after any construction work that affects water service.

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