How to Clean Faucet Aerators (and Why You Should)

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Take a look at the bottom of the faucet on most modern kitchen and bathroom sinks and you’ll likely see a small, round screen called an aerator. This thin piece of metal helps control the water as it comes out of the faucet by adding air – reducing splashing and water consumption.

Aerators also act as a type of filter, catching debris that is still in the water. And over time, this dirt gets along with mineral deposits and other deposits can make the aerator less effective. Fortunately, cleaning is not difficult. Here’s what to do.

How to clean faucet aerators

To clean an aerator you must first remove it from the faucet. Aerators that screw onto the outside of the faucet can usually be removed by hand, although you may need to loosen them up a bit with pliers or a wrench first.

Other aerators — known as “hidden” or “recessed” aerators — screw into the inside of the faucet and require a small wrench to remove. If this is the case for you and the faucet is relatively new, a key may have come with it. If not, you should be able to find one at a hardware store or plumbing supply store.

When the aerator is turned off from the faucet, start with it soak in a glass of white vinegar for about five minutes. Afterward, scrub it with a small brush (like an old toothbrush) to remove any residue or mineral deposits that remain. If the vinegar isn’t enough, you can try soaking the aerator in a mixture of citric acid and water instead. Once it’s clean, you can put the aerator back on the faucet.

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Ideally, clean your aerator every six monthsand after construction work affecting the water supply.

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