How to Remove Aerator from Bathroom Faucet?

by lefton sanitary

When the water pressure at a single bathroom sink faucet is very low, the solution is often straightforward: an issue with the aerator. When faucet aerators get clogged with grit or mineral buildup, they must be cleaned to restore proper water flow. This is a common problem in regions with heavy mineral content in the water supply.


Materials Needed

  • Penetrating oil (if needed)
  • Lime-dissolving solution (if needed)


Step-by-Step Guide to Remove a Faucet Aerator

Attempt to Remove by Hand

  1. Dry off the faucet and your hands: This will help you get a good grip on the faucet aerator.
  2. Unscrew the aerator from the spout by hand:Most faucet aerators have been threaded on by hand, and often, you can unscrew it the same way.


Use Pliers

  1. Choose the right pliers: A small pair of channel-type pliers works best for this.
  2. Protect the aerator:If the aerator is in good condition and you want to reuse it, wrap a rag or masking tape around it to protect the metal surface from scratches from the pliers.
  3. Grip the aerator: Grip the aerator between the pliers' jaws, keeping the jaws only on the aerator, not the faucet spout.
  4. Turn the aerator counter-clockwise: Turn the aerator counter-clockwise (as viewed upward from below the spout) to unscrew it from the faucet.
  5. Adjust your grip if necessary: If it doesn't budge, move the pliers a quarter-turn around the aerator and unscrew the aerator from the new position.


Pro Tips for Remove Aerator from Bathroom Faucet

Aerators are sometimes thought to be "reverse-threaded," but it's just your perspective when viewing from above. When viewed from underneath the faucet, where the aerator is screwed in, the threading is normal. Remember the tip "righty-tighty" to screw it on and "lefty-loosey" to screw it off).

Heat the Aerator

  1. Check for plastic parts: Only try this step if you know your aerator has no plastic parts. Heat can melt or damage plastic and rubber washers.
  2. Apply gentle heat: Applying gentle heat using a hairdryer may slightly expand the metal and make it possible to loosen it with pliers.
  3. Use a match: Or, try lighting a match and hold it near the aerator to loosen the metal.

Apply Penetrating Oil

  1. Spray the oil: If heat fails, try penetrating oil (such as WD-40 or a similar product).
  2. Wait for a few minutes: Let the oil sit for a few minutes.
  3. Wipe off excess oil: Wipe off oil from the surface of the aerator before trying to unscrew it because oil makes the metal slippery.
  4. Try unscrewing again: Try again to unscrew with pliers.

Clean the Aerator

  1. Disassemble the aerator:Once the aerator is removed, separate the parts and note their arrangement. An aerator can have many small parts that must go back together in the same way to function correctly.
  2. Brush off the deposits:Use a small stiff brush to remove grit or mineral deposits from the screen and other parts of the aerator assembly.
  3. Soak in a lime-dissolving solution:Soak the parts overnight in a lime-dissolving solution, such as Lime-Away, if there is substantial mineral buildup.



Removing and cleaning a faucet aerator is a simple task that can significantly improve water flow and save you the trouble of calling a plumber. With a few basic tools and a bit of patience, you can tackle this common household problem on your own. Whether you need to clean or replace the aerator, following these steps will ensure your faucet is running smoothly again.



1. How can I tell if my aerator is clogged?

You can usually tell if your aerator is clogged if you notice a significant drop in water pressure from your faucet. Mineral buildup can restrict water flow, making it less efficient.

2. Can I clean the aerator without removing it?

Yes, you can clean the aerator head the same way you would a showerhead that you do not remove. Fill a plastic baggie with vinegar, tie the bag to the aerator head, and leave the aerator submerged in vinegar or a calcium, lime, or rust remover for 20 minutes to loosen the lime and mineral buildup. Scrub the visible parts with a toothbrush.

3. Are all faucet aerators the same size?

No, faucet aerators come in different sizes. It's important to measure your existing aerator or take it with you to the store to ensure you get the correct size for your faucet.

4. Can I use my faucet without an aerator?

Yes, you can use a faucet without an aerator. Water flows faster and more forcefully. Sometimes, it might be beneficial, like clothes washer hookups and bathtubs.

5. How often should I clean my faucet aerator?

It's a good idea to clean your faucet aerator every few months, especially if you live in an area with hard water. Regular cleaning can prevent buildup and ensure your faucet functions properly.


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