Clearing a clogged tap aerator in 3 simple steps

Water flows from taps in tip top shape with a simple turn of your wrist. But a clogged aerator on your tap can cause that easy flow to sputter. Here's how to repair your faucet's aerator in three simple steps.

Clearing a clogged tap aerator in 3 simple steps

What you will need

  • Old toothbrush
  • Vinegar
  • Replacement parts, as needed
  • Multi-grip pliers with padded jaws (if required)

Before you begin

  • Some modern taps have water-saving devices that limit water pressure.
  • Be sure not to confuse one of these devices for a clogged aerator.

1. Remove, scour and flush

  • Gently unscrew your tap's aerator by hand.
  • If it's more than finger tight, use a pair of multi-grip pliers with padded jaws.
  • Once the aerator's been removed, scour the tap neck thoroughly with an old toothbrush and then flush it generously with water.

2. Lay out the parts

  • Some newer aerators are not designed to be taken apart, so you'll need to replace the entire assembly.
  • If your aerator can be taken apart, do so carefully, laying out the parts on a clean cloth or towel.
  • Make sure you lay out the parts in the sequence and orientation in which you removed them.
  • Laying the parts out like this will make re-assembly quicker and easier.
  • When you're finished taking apart the aerator, there should be two or three screens, a perforated nylon disc and an O-ring.

3. Clean and reinstall

  • Use an old toothbrush to scrub all the parts and remove any sediment.
  • Make a vinegar bath in a small bowl and soak the screens to remove minor corrosion.
  • If a screen is too corroded or damaged, replace it or the entire aerator.
  • To reinstall your aerator, follow these steps in reverse.

Follow these three simple steps and you'll be able to clean a clogged aerator. And, in doing so, you should be able to make a sputtering tap one that flows easily again.

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