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Sprinkler Repair: How to Unclog Sprinklers

Remove mineral deposits from lawn sprinklers quickly and easily

FH10NOV_CLOGSP_02-2Family Handyman
Clean clogged lawn sprinklers with special cleaners that dissolve rust and mineral build-ups, especially iron if you have hard water.

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Clean Clogged Sprinklers

Photo 1: Soak Sprinklers in Rust Remover

Fill a freezer bag half full of CLR or a similar rust remover and drop your sprinkler into the bag. Swish it around occasionally to distribute the solution. Remove the sprinkler after 30 minutes and rinse it in clear water.

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Photo 2: Spray with silicone

Spray silicone on the cleaned-up sprinkler to lubricate the parts and to prevent iron and mineral buildup.

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If you have a lot of iron or other minerals in your water, then you know the problem. Iron builds up on the working parts and in the holes of sprinklers. Impact sprinklers like the one here can quit working altogether. A simple soaking in a rust-removing solution followed by a spritz of silicone lubricant will rejuvenate your sprinkler. We used CLR Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover, but other rust-removing solutions will also work. Soak the sprinkler for about 30 minutes (Photo 1). Then remove the sprinkler and clean off any remaining mineral or rust buildup with a brass-bristle brush.

Plus, use these tips to have the best lush lawn in the neighborhood!

These are the things you should never do to your lawn:

Required Tools for this Project

You’ll need a brass-bristle brush.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Rust and mineral remover
  • Spray silicone