Clearing Aerators and Showerheads

Clearing Aerators

An aerator screws onto the end of a faucet. It mixes water and air for a smooth flow and minimizes splashing. Tiny particles caught in an aerator's screens reduce the water flow. The solution usually is simple: Unscrew and take apart the aerator, flush the particles out of the screens, reassemble and screw the aerator back on.

If aerators clog regularly your water system may be at fault. If your home has old galvanized steel pipes, particles are probably flaking off the inside of the pipes and may need to be flushed. If your home has copper supply pipes, the problem may be that the water delivered by the utility company is impure; try installing a water filter.

If water flows slowly into a washing machine, shut off the stop valves and unscrew the hoses. You'll find a screen at the end of the hose; if it is blocked with particles, clean it out.


Just a few minutes to clean out an aerator or showerhead. If mineral deposits are severe, soak the parts overnight.

Groove-joint pliers, adjustable wrench, screwdriver, old toothbrush, straight pin

No special skills needed

Cover the sink or shower drain so small parts can't slip down

Vinegar, lime-deposit cleaner

Step 1

You may be able to unscrew an aerator with your fingers. If not, wrap masking tape around the aerator to protect it from scratching and unscrew it with groove-joint pliers. Turn the faucet on and off several times to flush out any debris.

Step 2

Disassemble the aerator with your fingers or use a small screwdriver. Note how the pieces go together. If the aerator is damaged, buy a replacement. Clean the screens with a toothbrush and pin, then rinse them off. If the minerals are caked on, soak them in vinegar overnight and clean again.

Comments (2)
carlos656harbin wrote:

Hello! I think that your tips are very helpful for every household, so I included it in my "11 Helpful Articles For Plumbing Repair". I gathered the most useful posts I could find, so that we can all help other people avoid simple mistakes. If you're interested what else is on the list, here it is: Thank your useful tips.

2/9/2015 06:33:30 AM Report Abuse
stan-lee wrote:

low water pressure only at upstairs bathroom shower and sink new showerhead when filling tub or sink water trinkles out

12/27/2009 08:51:08 AM Report Abuse
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