On the occasion when the water flow out of the faucet is not at its best you will need to remove it from the faucet spout to either clean or replace it, but you may not have the specific key or aerator wrench to do it.
There are methods in which to do this whether it be a hidden, housed or a tamper proof aerator.
We will also look at methods to remove an aerator that may be stuck.
How to remove a faucet aerator without any tools (wrench or key)
There are 2 types of aerators found in majority of household taps (kitchen or bathroom); a hidden (also known as cache or recessed) for which you need Keys like these, or housed aerator (aerator encased in metal housing) for which you need Aerator removal wrench such as this . Depending on the design of your faucet it will be obvious visually which type of aerator you will have.
How to remove Aerator inside metal housing
If you have a housed aerator you may notice two flat edges coming from your tap. The aerator is within that housing. But in order to get to it you will need to unscrew it from the faucet and it is unlikely you will be able to do this by hand when you don’t have a wrench. Please follow these steps:
- Get a piece of cloth and pliers
- Wrap the cloth around the aerator housing (avoids damaging the housing cover) and clamp the pliers onto the flat edges
- Now with a firm but gentle grip (avoid squeezing too hard or you may damage the housing and in turn unable to remove the aerator and will have to replace both!) turn the pliers anti clockwise to loosen the housing.
- Once loosened, unscrew the housing off by hand. The aerator will be inside of the metal casing.
- Remove the rubber ring seal within the housing (if it’s not there, it will likely be within the spout of the aerator) and you can simply push the aerator out ready to be replaced or cleaned.
Alternatively, you may have a round aerator housing with no flat edges. Generally you should be able to loosen and take it off by hand (and with a damp cloth for extra grip if needed). But if it is hard to remove, you can again use a pair of pliers and cloth to help loosen it and then unscrew the rest by hand.
However The Faucet Aerator removal tools are incredibly inexpensive nowadays and they will make the job so much easier + You usually need New Faucet aerators anyway.
How to remove Hidden faucet aerator without a key
If you have a hidden aerator, which is directly screwed into the end of your faucet spout. This usually requires a special key such as this (i.e. Delta key, Moen key etc – Depends on manufacturer of aerator) in order to remove it. But if you do not have this key there are some other options which you can remove it by. You may be able to just unscrew with your bare fingers but if aerator has been in use for a while you may not be able to.
If you cannot, find a rubber glove or cloth to help give you more grip to turn the aerator to loosen and unscrew. Alternatively you could also use your finger nails. You will find small multiple ridges which protrude out and around the aerator (Delta, Moen and other manufacturers have the ridges), try and catch your finger nails onto the ridges and twist the aerator out in an anticlockwise motion. Once it is has been loosened you should be able to unscrew the rest of it using your fingers.
If trying to unscrew by hand doesn’t work it is time to find some tools.
Get a small flat head screw drivers which will fit inside the gap between the ridges of the aerator. Once the screw driver is in and lightly tap with a hammer (this should also hopefully overcome any limescale build up between the aerator and the faucet spout) in an anticlockwise fashion to loosen it and unscrew the remainder by hand.
If you do not want to mess around , Here is a Set of Different Size Removal Keys + Also New Faucet Aerators which you would need anyway.
How to remove a faucet aerator that is stuck
If you find the aerator hard to remove and unscrew it is likely that the aerator has a lot of limescale or sediment build up. Using your chosen cleaning solution (white vinegar also works) will help dissolve the build-up between the faucet spout and aerator. You can soak a small cloth with the solution and wrap it around the area for at least an hour, giving it enough time to dissolve the build-up. Alternatively, get a bag and fill it with your chosen cleaning solution and submerge the aerator and spout, leaving it for at least an hour before trying to unscrew the aerator out.
You may also use WD40 to loosen the aerator. Spray in between where the aerator is screwed into the faucet spout, wait a few seconds to let it work its magic and proceed to loosen and unscrew the aerator.
Applying a little bit of heat to the aerator will also help. Use a hair dryer or candle to heat the aerator for around a 10-20 seconds bit to allow it to expand to break up any build-up. Once cooled proceed to loosening it by one of the methods mentioned previously. But be careful not to overheat it as the aerator might be made of some plastic which you won’t want to damage or face replacing it!
Tamper proof aerator removal without tool – is it possible?
A tamper proof aerator is designed slightly differently to the hidden and housed aerators to remove it from the faucet. The outer housing will rotate on its own independently of the actual aerator you want to get to. This type of aerator often require a special key and cannot be undone purely by hand as you will be required to get into 2 small slots to unscrew.
If you do not have a key such as this, it is possible to remove a tamper proof aerator without the need of the special key.
You can use a two pronged fork (preferably one you don’t mind bending) which you may find in your kitchen drawer. Check if the forks will fit within the gap, now bend the fork to be in line with the gaps. Now you can engage and push up into the slots and turn/twist anti clockwise to unscrew. Alternatively, you could use two precision flat head screwdrivers into the gaps, and put them in between your fingers and turn to remove the aerator.
How to clean faucet aerator without removing it
In the occasion where your faucet aerator cannot be removed you can still clean it. Using your chosen cleaning solution, put it in a bag and submerging aerator for a few hours and then run your tap to wash away any minerals that may have broken down inside the aerator.
But this may not clean all of the hard deposits that could be sitting on the outer screen of the aerator, which can restrict the water flow. It is best if you can remove and clear the deposits to fully clean it.