How to Remove Recessed Faucet Aerator

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. For more information, please visit our Disclaimer Page.

Have you noticed that every time you turn on your faucet the water pressure is lower than it used to be?

This is actually a quite common problem in households, and while most people’s first reaction is to call a plumber there is in fact a really simple solution to this problem.

The trick is to locate the aerator on the end of the faucet spout and remove it.


What is the Purpose of the Aerator?

A faucet aerator is often found attached to the tip of the modern sink. It is usually used to prevent splashing, reduce the faucet noise and form the water stream so that it is coming out under the same pressure.

One if its most important uses is that it adds air to the water flow, thus significantly reducing the water usage. After a certain amount of time, an aerator might get clogged with gravel and small loose particles of stone and sand.

This is especially common in places where there is heavy mineral content found in the water supply. Most of the time a simple cleaning of the aerator will get the job done, but in some situations it may need replacing.

But, either way, the first thing you will need to do is remove the aerator. We will present step by step instructions of how exactly you are going to do this, but first here is a list of things you will need to prepare.

Tools and Supplies That You Need

It’s quite important to gather everything you need for this kind of job. Therefore, you’ll need:

  • Channellock pliers – They are commonly used to grip irregularly shaped objects and for holding and turning screws and nuts. Since they can be used as both pliers and clamps, this is a very versatile and practical tool to have at home and it can be used in many other household tasks, chances are you will find them as soon as you start going through your drawers.
  • Masking tape – Tape made out of thin paper usually used when painting to mask off the areas that should not be painted.
  • Hairdryer or a lighter (if needed)
  • Penetrating oil – Often used to free rusted mechanical parts so that they can be more easily removed. The most common and most practical oil used for these situations is the WD-40 type.
  • A new aerator (in case the old one needs replacing)

Chances are that you probably have most of these things in your home, but if you are missing something it can surely be found online here.

Once you have acquired these tools you can move on to this step-by-step guide and follow the instructions.

How to Remove Recessed Faucet Aerator

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Follow these instructions and you will remove your aerator in no time.


Step 1 – Try and remove the aerator by hand

Before using the pliers you should first try unscrewing the aerator by hand. Most modern aerators were initially attached by hand to the faucet so it often happens that you can remove them the same way.

But before you do this, make sure that both your hands and the faucet are dry so that you can get a better grip.

Step 2 – Use pliers

If your aerator is fairly new and undamaged you will probably want to reuse it.

In this case, you should stick your masking tape on to the metal surface of the aerator in order to protect it from getting scratched before gripping it with the pliers.

Make sure to grip the jaws only on your aerator and not your faucet. After you do this, start unscrewing it counter-clockwise.

You can try changing a few different positions in order to loosen it. But be careful not to grip it too tightly, because the metal is delicate and it can easily get bent, making the job even more complicated.

Step 3 – Heating the metal

If you are having problems unscrewing the aerator even after you have changed a few positions, consider using a lighter or a hairdryer to apply some heat to it and alleviating the metal.

Be cautious in this step because overheating the aerator can cause some of its plastic parts to melt.

Step 4 – Final solution: Penetrating oil

If none of these previous steps have been useful in removing the aerator it’s time to pull out the penetrating oil (WD-40 oil is the most commonly used product, so if you have it in your hometown you should definitely consider getting it).

Start by spraying the oil on the thread and leave it for approximately 10 minutes before using the pliers again.

Make sure to wash off the oil before you move on to the pliers because it can make it the metal slippery and make the unscrewing part difficult.


Step 5 – Cleaning or replacing the Aerator

After you have successfully removed the aerator you will want to either clean it or replace it entirely. If the metal screen is clogged try poking the opening with a thin object such as a needle.

But, if the screen is rusted it is best that you replace it. When reinstalling the aerator make sure to first tighten it only by hand.

Turn on the faucet and if water starts dripping around then use your pliers to tighten it just a tad more, again making sure the use your masking tape to protect the surface.

Conclusion: Removing a Recessed Faucet Aerator

Even though it might seem like a complicated task at first hand, the instructions are very simple to follow through and you will fix the problem you are having in no time.

It will certainly save you from calling the plumber every time you have a similar problem and give you a sense of accomplishment by doing it yourself.