Plumbing Tips from an Avid DIY-er

Low Water Pressure? Try Cleaning Your Faucet's Aerator

Low water pressure can be quite annoying, especially when you need a powerful stream of water to clean your dishes. Were you aware that the lack of water pressure in your kitchen can actually be due to your faucet's aerator? Instead of the problem being deep within your pipes, it could actually be something simple that you can fix on your own. Here is what you'll need to know about cleaning the screen on an aerator to get the water flowing fast again.

Removing the Head

Start by turning off the water underneath your sink and putting a rag in the drain to prevent parts from falling into it. Then you can start removing the head of the faucet. Putting pliers directly onto the metal faucet can cause scratches, so you'll need to get creative in order to protect it.

Apply some electrical tape around the head, which will prevent metal pliers from scratching the metal part. You can also apply electrical tape directly to your pliers to give the tool similar protection. If you don't have these things on hand, wrap the head with some paper.

Don't apply too much pressure when turning the head with your pliers. Use the least amount of pressure you can while getting it loose.

Disassembling and Scrubbing

With the head completely removed, look at the parts and take note of how they all fit together. You'll see a mesh screen located under the flow restrictor, a washer, and some other parts. Disassemble the pieces, and then use a toothbrush for scrubbing all of the parts in the faucet head. Give your aerator screen a good scrubbing until it looks like it has become unclogged.

It also helps to soak the parts in a cup of vinegar for a couple of hours. You don't have to do this, but you might as well since you have all the pieces taken apart.


Put all the pieces back together on the faucet head, and hand tighten it back onto the faucet. Then use the wrench and some proper protection to secure the head back onto the faucet. Turn on the water underneath the sink, then get the water flowing to see if your water pressure has improved at all.

If not, you may need to get a plumber to your home to fix a problem deep within the pipes. You could have old galvanized plumbing that needs replacement, or there is a clog somewhere else in the line that needs to be cleared. Talk to a professional like RK Knight Plumbing for more advice.