How to Clean Your Faucet Aerator and Nozzle

How to Clean Your Faucet Aerator and Nozzle
crawfordmech December 23, 2016

Your faucet aerator and nozzles are important in making your faucet more efficient. Knowing what they do and how to clean them is essential to improving the quality of the water that comes from your faucet. Find out how to clean these components and what they can do with this in-depth guide.

Understanding the Importance of Cleaning Your Faucet Aerator and Nozzle

A faucet aerator is a useful part of a house faucet. It has many uses but needs regular cleaning to work properly and remain hygienic.

The Role and Significance of a Faucet Aerator

An aerator is a small piece with a mesh screen disk that attaches to the end of your faucet. The purpose of an aerator is to filter out sediment and improve water flow by introducing tiny bubbles. It also reduces splashing in the basin, saves water by making the flow more productive, creates a wider water stream and gives drinking water a fresher, lighter taste.

An aerator may not be needed for every type of faucet, but it is an excellent addition to any household sink faucet. However, having one on shower heads, bathtub faucets, exterior taps and washing machine water supply faucets may prove counterproductive.

The Need for Regular Aerator Cleaning

Cleaning house water faucets is very important and needs to be done regularly. Luckily, aerators are easy to screw and unscrew from a faucet, making it easy to clean and replace. Cleaning your aerator prevents mineral deposits, pipe corrosion and dirt from clogging the screen. These materials can build up in excess on your aerator and affect water quality.

When you have low water pressure in a bathroom or kitchen faucet, it is usually because your aerator is blocked and needs to be cleaned.

Maintaining your plumbing systems and water pressure is key to faucet aerator maintenance and reduces the risk of lead exposure. If your service line, water pipes or plumbing contains lead pipes, cleaning your aerator becomes even more critical. Lead flakes can peel off the pipes and lodge themselves in your aerator. If you leave these flakes there for a long time, the chance of lead leaching into your water greatly increases.

How to Clean Your Faucet Aerator and Nozzle

This guide shows you how to clean your faucet aerator and nozzle effectively.

Step-By-Step Process to Clean the Aerator and Tap Filter

Follow these steps to clean your dirty aerator properly:

  • Remove the aerator from the faucet: Your aerator is attached to the end of your faucet. Grip it tightly and turn it in clockwise. Loosen it with a wrench if it doesn’t move when you try to remove it by hand. If you use a wrench, wrap a towel around the aerator first to protect it from the wrench.
  • Separate aerator pieces: Check for debris while separating the aerator pieces.
  • Soak the aerator: Place the aerator pieces in a small cup of white vinegar. The vinegar breaks down residue that might be stuck to your aerator. Leave it in the vinegar for five to 20 minutes.
  • Scrub the pieces: Use a toothbrush to thoroughly clean each part of the aerator. Ensure there is no remaining debris or signs of dirt.
  • Reassemble the aerator: Once the aerator is clean, you can reassemble it and then reattach it to the faucet. Screw it back on and turn the faucet on. If water does not come through the aerator, take it off and reassemble it again.
  • Routine cleaning: You should clean your aerator every six months. This stops debris from building up too much and ensures your faucet water is always clean. If work is being done to your water line or plumbing, then clean the aerator once a month to be safe.

Best Practices to Clean a Faucet Nozzle

Best Practices to Clean a Faucet Nozzle

The best way to clean a faucet nozzle is to follow these five steps:

  • Fill a plastic bag: Fill a plastic bag half with vinegar and half with water. Ensure the bag has enough liquid to submerge the faucet nozzle and head.
  • Place the bag over the faucet nozzle: Submerge the nozzle in the bag and secure it in place with a rubber band.
  • Let it soak: Leave the faucet in the liquid for 30 minutes to an hour. If your faucet finish is sensitive, such as nickel or brass, soak it for under 30 minutes. To enhance the liquid’s cleaning power, you can add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda.
  • Scrub the faucet: After removing the bag, run hot water through your faucet and then use a toothbrush to scrub away any loose debris.
  • Wipe it down: Wipe the fixture using soap and water. You can also use a mild neutral pH cleaner instead. Thoroughly scrub the crevices with a toothbrush to make sure it’s completely clean.

When to Replace Your Aerator

Sometimes, cleaning your aerator won’t be enough and you’ll need to replace it. If your water flow is significantly reduced or down to a trickle even after cleaning the aerator, you need a new one. They are inexpensive and easy to find, so replacing them is not hard. Follow these steps to replace your old aerator:

  • Remove the old aerator: Remove the aerator the same way you would if you were to clean it.
  • Installing the new aerator: Lay the faucet collar down so the threads face upward. Place the new aerator into the collar carefully. Ensure the end of the aerator with the mesh is facing down. Once aligned, push the aerator into the collar tightly.
  • Install the gasket: Place the aerator’s gasket on top of the aerator inside the faucet collar.
  • Finish the assembly: The aerator cannot work without the gasket and must have the hold side facing upwards when installed.
  • Screw it in: Use your fingers to tighten the aerator and faucet collar on the end of the faucet. Avoid over-tightening it. Test your installation by turning the faucet on.

The Lifelong Benefits of Regular Faucet and Aerator Maintenance

Routine maintenance is critical to optimizing your plumbing and keeping your water supply healthy. While cleaning your faucet aerator and nozzle may seem like small tasks, they can make a big difference. Crawford Mechanical Services offers thorough home plumbing services that you can trust. With over 25 years of experience, we know the best way to keep your home’s plumbing in perfect working condition. We handle everything from the smallest part of maintaining your sink to bathroom remodeling.

Contact us online, and we can show you what we can offer you with our services. We serve many areas in Columbus and Central Ohio.

The Lifelong Benefits of Regular Faucet and Aerator Maintenance

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