Cleaning clogged faucet aerators and sink sprayers help faucets function like new. Mineral deposits and sediment slow the water flow, so clean your faucet aerators or sink sprayers to get a full flow.

The aerator screws onto the end of the faucet spout and typically has two screens inside that the water flows through. To clean your faucet aerator, you'll need groove-joint pliers, masking tape, paper clip, old toothbrush or small wire brush, and a small bowl. You'll also need some white vinegar or lime-dissolving solution.


Wrap some masking tape around the jaws of the groove-joint pliers or around the aerator to prevent scratches.

Protect the surface of the aerator.


Grip the outside of the aerator with the pliers, and turn the aerator clockwise to loosen it.

Be gentle; too much pressure can crush the aerator housing.


Disassemble the aerator.

Push the internal parts out of the aerator housing. A small paper clip might help. If the components are stuck, soak the aerator in white vinegar or lime-dissolver solution (one part vinegar to one part water) for 30 minutes.

Tip: Cover the sink drain to prevent small parts from accidentally falling down the drain.


Use an old toothbrush and a gentle touch to clean the parts.

Don't bend the screens or you’ll have to replace them.


Reassemble the aerator parts.

Insert the screen, disk, and washer or O-ring (depending on your aerator’s design) in reverse order of disassembly.


Reinstall the aerator on the faucet.

Screw it in by hand in a counterclockwise direction. Use the pliers to tighten securely but there’s no need to over tighten it. Snug is good!

Tip: Before you start, place an old towel on the counter next to the sink. Lay the parts out in the order that you remove them to make it easier to put things back together. This is the best way to keep track of all the parts when you disassemble the aerator.