When it comes to taking care of your house, you might be surprised by the number of things that require maintenance. Not only do you have to maintain appliances like your fridges and toilets, but you also have to maintain your plumbing.
Your faucet aerator should be removed and cleaned at least once per year, but sometimes it gets stuck.
Removing a faucet aerator shouldn’t be difficult if the item isn’t stuck. However, you might need to use some tools if you’re finding that it just won’t budge.
Tools and Supplies You Will Need To Remove Faucet Aerator
You might not end up needing all of these tools. The pliers and wrench are often enough to loosen a stubborn aerator.
But the vinegar and WD-40 can come in handy if you find that brute force isn’t strong enough.
7 Steps To Remove A Faucet Aerator
If your faucet aerator isn’t unscrewing by hand, you’ll want to bring tools into the mix. In some cases, you might find that the aerator is too badly stuck to remove with tools.
You’ll need to loosen it using things like WD-40 or vinegar.
1. Plug the sink.
This step might not sound too important, but it is crucial. Your faucet aerator is a tiny piece.
You could easily drop it down the sink and be unable to recover it. Because of how small the aerator is, you might not be able to fish it out.
Plug your sink to make sure you can find the aerator if you drop it. For good measure, you can also run the water to make sure the plug is working.
2. Try to remove it by hand.
Your faucet aerator is designed to be easy to unscrew without using any tools or appliances. That way, it’s easier for you to clean it once in a while.
Make sure that both your hands and the faucet are totally dry before unscrewing it. Otherwise, your grip might be slippery.
Once you have a firm grip on the aerator, unscrew it counterclockwise. In most cases, faucet aerators are screwed on during the installation process by hand.
You’re likely to put it back by hand after maintenance, too. This means that removing it by hand shouldn’t pose any problems.
If you find that the aerator simply won’t come off no matter how hard you try, you might be dealing with a situation similar to a stuck jar lid. That means it’s time to try something else.
3. Use pliers.
Pliers are often the most helpful tool when it comes to unsticking things like jar lids and aerators. In this case, you’ll want tongue-and-grip pliers that are meant for small items.
Other styles and sizes might not be able to grip the faucet properly.
This is where your masking tape comes into play. You can also use a thin towel.
Wrap the masking tape around the aerator so that the item isn’t damaged by the pliers. Otherwise, you might end up with markings from the mouth of the tool.
Put the pliers around the screw and turn in a counterclockwise direction until the aerator comes off.
You might find this difficult at first. If you’re having trouble securing a grip, you might need to adjust position.
It’s also possible to use the pliers on different parts of the aerator to loosen it slightly, making the eventual unscrewing easier.
No matter what type of aerator you have, you should be cautious about the grip of the pliers. If they’re cinched too tightly around the faucet, they could bend the material and cause damage.
4. Use a wrench.
If the aerator is sealed too tightly for the pliers to help, then your next step is to use a rubber wrench. This tool can get a tighter grip.
It also won’t slide very easily, which can be helpful if you find that the pliers often slip off the aerator.
Use the wrench to grip the aerator. Instead of trying to unscrew it fully, you’re just trying to loosen it.
Pull to the left first and see whether you’re able to get any movement. If that’s impossible, pull to the right instead.
Most cases will be solved by the time you’ve used both pliers and wrench. But if you’re still struggling, it’s time to try something else.
5. Use heat.
Have you ever tried to loosen a jar lid by running it under hot water? The same principle applies here.
You can use heat to loosen the aerator because heat causes metal to expand.
Try using a heat gun. If you don’t have one of those, plug in a hairdryer and aim it at the aerator.
Use moderate heat from a close range to loosen the metal. It might take a few minutes of application.
It’s better to use low-to-medium heat for several minutes than to use high heat and risk damage.
After you’ve applied enough heat to the faucet, give your rubber wrench or pliers another try. Hopefully, the aerator will turn.
One important note is that you should never use heat on plastic aerators. Most aerators are made of metal, which is fine.
But inexpensive plastic models have the potential to melt. If you don’t know whether your aerator is plastic or metal, skip the heat step.
6. Use vinegar.
Depending on what is causing the issue, vinegar might help to loosen the aerator. Sometimes faucet aerators develop deposits of things like soap scum and other debris.
Alternatively, older faucets might corrode, which makes them more difficult to dissemble.