How To Fix Water Damaged Aerator: An Easy 4-Step Guide

In this article on how to fix water damaged aerator, you will learn that you only need one common household condiment: vinegar. However, before we plunge into the meat of the discussion, let us tackle what an aerator is and its different components. In the end, we will also know how to select a new aerator if you need a replacement.


how to fix water damaged aerator

What Is An Aerator?

As the name implies, an aerator introduces air to the water that comes out of your faucet. By doing so, unnecessary splashing and wasting of water are achieved. The water pressure coming from a tap with an aerator remains the same as that of without this piece.


The parts of an aerator

When you remove your faucet aerator, you will notice it attached to the faucet through threads. The thread can be female and is usually used in kitchen faucets having male threads. On the other hand, bathroom faucets generally have female threads, thus will require a male thread to fit into.

The threads of an aerator are in the outer casing. The outer case houses all the other components, and it can be made of either plastic or metal.

The inner housing is a plastic component that fits inside the outer casing. It has a ridge that holds the screen. The screen is the main working part of the aerator, and it filters the water that comes out of the faucet.

To hold the screen in place, a screen bushing is added to an aerator. The bushing is situated below the washer, a rubber ring that seals the bushing into the faucet.


Repairing Your Water Damaged Aerator


Step #1. Remove the aerator 

The first step in cleaning an aerator is to remove it from the faucet spout. You can do this by hand or with a pair of pliers.

When using pliers, wrap the outer casing with masking tape or a rag to protect the finishing of the aerator. Also, make sure that you don’t squeeze too much, as the plastic housing might break under excessive pressure.


Step #2. Remove the scales 

To remove the mineral deposits in the screen, hold the aerator upside down and place it under running water. This extra step will dislodge any loose debris that accumulated from inside the screen.

Next, push a paperclip or a sewing needle through the screen holes to physically remove any debris that blocks the water flow. The inside of the faucet must also be cleared of deposits; ignoring these may potentially clog the aerator in the future. Use a screwdriver to remove scales that are stuck inside the faucet; otherwise, a little swipe with your pinky finger will do the job.


Step #3. Soak the aerator components

Except for the washer, soak all components of the aerator in white vinegar. This will soften the remaining debris. The best duration of soaking is overnight, but if that’s not possible, wait until the scales are soft enough to be detached with a toothpick or a used toothbrush.


Step #4. Re-assemble the aerator

Before putting the aerator back, flush out any remaining debris from the faucet by turning it on. Afterward, put the washer back and then the aerator. Make sure to return the components based on their original arrangement.

Tighten the aerator using your hand. Secure by using pliers. Check for leakage by turning the faucet on and tighten further as necessary.


How to buy a faucet aerator

Sometimes, your existing aerator is too damaged to be repaired. Or perhaps, you did not have an aerator in your faucets before. In both cases, you may find that you need to go to the hardware store to buy a new one.

How do you choose an aerator? The best scenario is to bring your old one and show it to the store staff for reference. However, there are other options to do this that will not require an old aerator.

Get a quarter, a nickel, and a dime. See which one of these three matches the size of your faucet opening.

If it matches the size of the quarter, then you need a regular-sized aerator. If it’s the nickel, then you need to buy a junior-sized one. Lastly, if it’s the same size as a dime, you could go for a ‘Tom Thumb’ aerator.

In some cases, none of the coin sizes above will match the size of your faucet. That means that you need a metric size instead of the imperial ones.

In this scenario, measure the diameter of the faucet opening with a ruler or measuring tape. Select an aerator that has that same diameter.



Aerators perform essential functions in the household. First, it prevents splashes in the sink, thereby preventing moisture from accumulating that would otherwise favor the growth of microorganisms. Second, it also helps conserve water, which is good both for the environment and your wallet.

However, as with anything, aerators may not be at their optimum functionality at times. This can be caused by prolonged usage, wear and tear, or it is just dirty. In either case, this article should have helped you on how to fix water damaged aerator.

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