Aerators are crucial to our kitchen faucets, though you may not have even heard of them before. They serve an essential purpose for when you’re washing up!
For this reason, you wouldn’t want to have your aerator broken or not working. So how do you remove one, allowing you to clean or change it? Or simply just do without it?
We’ve got the answers for you! In the guide below, we’ll break down just exactly what an aerator is, as well as how you can remove one. Read on!
What Is An Aerator?
Put simply, aerators are a little fixture that goes on the end of your kitchen faucet, over the nozzle where the water comes out.
The aerator is designed like a series of lattices, like a mesh, rather than the flat open circle of the regular faucet end.
This means that the water goes through the aerator mesh and breaks up into lots of different streams, rather than coming out as one solid, single stream of water into the sink.
Why do they exist? Well, they reduce the water splashing back at you for a start, because there’s still the same speed and pressure but less water coming out.
On top of this, they’re better for the environment and your water bills (see also ‘Average Water Bill In Phoenix‘).
This is because they reduce the amount of water that’s going to be coming out of your tap, while still keeping the force and pressure of it – so not reducing the quality of your washing up job.
What Makes An Aerator Stop Working?
The main reason that aerators stop working is because of minerals. This is because water contains minerals and particulates, which can then build up and collect all over the mesh of your aerator.
This stops water flowing out of it as cleanly, or gives you a less reliable stream.
It’s really about muck building up and stopping something from working, which is a common problem all around the house, and the reason that you need to clean regularly.
With that being said, it’s very easy to clean out the build up of minerals, before putting the aerator back on over the end of the faucet.
Cleaning it out will allow your water to flow properly again, splitting into lots of different streams without any blockages or problems. Read on to find out how!
Removing The Aerator From Your Kitchen Faucet Without Tools
Before getting your aerator off the end of your kitchen faucet, you’ll need to figure out which type you have. Basically, there are two types of aerators available. They are:
- Inner aerators
- Outer aerators
But what’s the difference? Well, inner aerators are recessed into the end of the faucet, going into it a bit. On the other hand, outer aerators, as you can probably guess, are fixed onto the end of the aerator – on the outside more.
Removing an inner aerator is a little difficult, and you may not be able to remove it by hand.
You can try, but you might find that you need a special tool to do so instead. Additionally, you can put on some gloves for extra grip, or wrap a small towel around your fingers.
If it still isn’t working, you will need the aerator removal tool, which you’ll go into soon.
Removing an outer aerator should be a lot easier, and you can definitely do it without a tool, like a wrench. Just put your fingers to the edges of it, grip hard, and turn. You should be able to remove it just by hand.
Removing A Kitchen Faucet Aerator That’s Stuck
If you can’t remove the inner aerator, then there are a few tools that you can use. One of them is the aerator removal tool, which is a little device with teeth on its end.
The teeth slip into the recess of the aerator, latching on and giving you a better grip, and allows you to turn it and remove it easily.
If you don’t have one of the aerator tools, you can always try using more household items, like a flat head screwdriver. Jam the screwdriver into the slits where removal tool teeth would go, and try pushing once or twice.
If you’re still struggling, or you’re having difficulty removing the outer aerator, then there are other techniques you can use.
One is to get a cup of something acidic (BUT SAFE!) solution, like vinegar, and heat it in the microwave for a spin.
Then prop the aerator in the solution, leaving it for an hour to soak, occasionally removing it and reheating the solution. Eventually, the aerator should loosen!
If that hasn’t worked, you can get a wrench. Lightly attach it to the outside of your outer aerator and turn. If that still isn’t enough, get a device that expels hot air, like a hairdryer.
Use it on the aerator for a very short while, then try the wrench again.
Cleaning Your Aerator
Now that you’ve got your aerator off, whether it was an inner or an outer one, you can clean it of all the minerals.
First, put the aerator in a vinegar or (water diluted) citric acid solution – it can be the one you used to loosen it!
This makes a good start on dissolving the minerals. Leave it in the solution overnight, then rinse it. If there are little bits still sticking, use an old toothbrush or scrubber.
And that’s it! It should now let water pass through it as good as new. On the subject of new, though, it’s a good idea to replace your aerator every couple of years. They’re cheap and easy to use, so it’s definitely worth it!
There you have it! You now know all about aerators, a crucial part of the kitchen that you may have never heard of before.
On top of tht, you’ve learned how to remove and clean them, letting you keep them – and your faucet – in good condition.