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Unclog a Kitchen Faucet Aerator

Weak water flow? Check for a clogged aerator first.

faucet aeratorFamily Handyman
Low water pressure may not be the reason for weak water flow from faucets. Check for a clogged aerator faucet. You can fix it in 5 minutes.

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Time
An hour or less
Complexity
Beginner
Cost
Less than $20

How to replace an aerator faucet

Photo 1: Unscrew the old aerator faucet

Wrap the jaws of a pair of pliers with tape to keep them from scratching the aerator. Unscrew the aerator body from the faucet and remove all the internal components. Clean and reassemble the faucet head.

If you get weak water flow when you turn on the faucet, don’t assume your water pressure has suddenly gone bad. You could simply have a filter screen, or aerator, that’s clogged. Remove the aerator faucet as shown in the photo, rinse it out and reinstall it. If it’s corroded or worn, take it to a home center and pick up a new one. Most stores have a slick gauge you can screw your old aerator onto to determine which replacement to buy. If you can’t find a replacement for your aerator faucet, soak the parts in vinegar overnight, scrub them with an old toothbrush and reinsert into the faucet (make sure to reassemble the parts in the same order you removed them).

Figure A: Aerator Faucet Parts

Dirt usually collects on the mixer and screen.

Note: You can download Figure A and enlarge it in Additional Information below.

Additional Information

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Electrical tape
  • Pliers

Required Materials for this Project

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

  • New Aerator