Cleaning a Faucet Aerator

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.


  1. 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??

  2. 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,
      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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

    • 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.


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