Informational Guide

How To Clean A Faucet Aerator: Steps for Moen, Kohler, Delta

Learn how to clean a faucet aerator with our step by step guide. See the how you can increase water flow with ease.

by Ian Haynes

Your faucet aerator works to save water and money on bills with every turn of the faucet handle. 

However, it does need a hand in the cleaning and maintenance department from time to time. This guide will help you clean your aerator to keep it in top condition.

Knowing how to remove and clean your faucet aerator is essential but can be confusing. We have a step-by-step general guide to ensure that you can make the process as smooth as possible. We recommend cleaning your aerators 2-4 times a year.

Step 1: Removing the Faucet Aerator

Removing your faucet aerator is typically an easy process. You typically can unthread it counterclockwise with your hand after blocking the drain. Still, you may need a specialized aerator tool or pliers to help.

Remember what order the aerator parts are in and reverse the process when reassembling. Depending on if you have a Kohler, Hansgrohe, Moen, Delta, or another brand, you may need to take slightly different steps.

Some items you may need include:

  • Pliers
  • A Cloth
  • Electrical tape
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Toothpick
  • White vinegar
  • Toothbrush
  • Penetrating oil

Step 2: Cleaning the Faucet & Aerator Unit

Once you have unthreaded and removed your aerator, you can rinse it with warm water and scrub it away with a small toothbrush coated in soap to remove debris.

If you have tougher build-up on the aerator, you can soak it in three parts water and one part vinegar for 1-2 hours and try picking at it with a safety pin or toothpick.

Check for calcium build-up in the faucet once the aerator has been removed and clean to prevent future build-up and clean with the toothbrush or toothpick.

Your aerator may contain all or some of the following components:

  • Washer
  • Flow restrictor
  • Mixer
  • Bushing
  • Screen
  • Outer housing
  • Aerator body

Remember what order they are assembled in by laying them out to make reassembling after cleaning a smooth process.

Step 3: Rinsing & Reassembling the Aerator

Once you have cleaned all the parts, carefully inspect each one as you reassemble. Simply doing the reverse of what you did when removing the aerator will help make your life as easy as possible.

The reassembly process may look slightly different from brand to brand, such as from Moen to Delta to Kohler, but it should be easy. You can consult a manual or the brand site if you get confused.

Why Does An Aerator Get Clogged?

If you have ever looked at the opening of your faucet and wondered what the mesh covering is, that is your aerator. The aerator adds air into your water stream and shapes your water into smaller streams to prevent splashing and improve perceived water pressure.

Blockages can occur thanks to debris and minerals in the water, meaning that regular cleaning is essential for your aerator. If you live in a hard-water area, you may need to clean your aerator more frequently due to the added calcium or limescale in your water.


Benefits of Keeping Your Faucet Aerator Clean

A clean faucet aerator has several benefits, including:

  • Using less water
  • Shaping your faucet stream
  • Increased perceived water pressure
  • Less money on bills
  • Even pressured water streams

All of these factors work together to make your life easier with little effort from you. Giving a quick clean to your aerator regularly can save you hassle down the road.  It can also let you know when to replace parts before they become a big problem.

Check out Touchless Faucet models here.

When Should You Replace Your Faucet Aerator?

When inspecting your parts, you may find the following:

  • Excessive corrosion or mineral build-up
  • Damaged screen or missing parts
  • Over 12 months old

These issues may mean that your aerator may need to be replaced rather than cleaned. It is worth replacing the aerator, or the entire faucet, as soon as possible, depending on the damage level.



Can you use faucet without aerator? Are faucet aerators necessary?

They are not as necessary on things like garden hoses but are essential for indoor faucets. We recommend keeping them on your tap to be safe.

How much does a faucet aerator cost?

Depending on the brand and store, you can get an aerator for $5-$30. Some brands price their replacement aerators between $30 and $250, but those are not as common.

How to clean a faucet aerator without removing?

Here is how to clean a non-removable aerator; put three parts water and one part vinegar in a baggy and submerge the aerator, tying the baggy to the faucet with a rubber band. Leave for a couple of hours and remove, wiping down the faucet after.


Now that you know the best ways to clean your faucet aerator, you can keep reaping the benefits of an immaculate home. Remember to inspect and clean your aerator regularly to keep on top of damaged or replaceable parts.

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.