I have a faucet that has low flow. When I remove the aerator the flow seems to be good, so I think the aerator is clogged. Following many videos online which discuss how to clean an aerator, I removed the aerator and took it apart into four pieces. I do not seem able to take it apart into more pieces. I cleaned out some gunk from the holes, reassembled the aerator and reattached. The faucet still has low flow with the cleaned aerator in place.

  1. Is there anything else I can do to unclog or fix the aerator? I would rather not buy another one if I don't need to.

  2. Should I be able to take the aerator apart into more pieces? Perhaps there is gunk in an area I can not reach.


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  • Dunking it in a small container with vinegar or something like CLR or Limeaway will clean it. Only use one product, do not mix. The aerator will reduce the pressure somewhat. Can take off aerator or leave on tap if you hold/fix container so aerator is under liquid.
    – crip659
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 21:47
  • Are all those holes clear? They looked plugged to me , I use CLR (calcium, lime and rust) dissolver it may take a soak but if all your holes are clear you can’t do much better (they appear to be partially obstructed). Remember an aerator just adds air to the water and gives it volume but doesn't increase the pressure although it feels like more.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 22:10
  • @EdBeal I think they are clear. Which ones look obstructed to you?
    – Bernie2436
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 22:22
  • Bernie the one that has the screw on ring looks like quite a few ether have something in them or are partially closed down it could be the angle of the photo.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 23:01
  • Once you're certain you've completely cleaned the aerator, if flow is inadequate, consider that you might have a low flow/water conservation fitting. Also check if the valves are part closed. You might not have a good perception of how much water a presumable 3/8 line can flow, so it might look like adequate quantity but actually be at lower than normal pressure/velocity/flow rate.
    – K H
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 0:10

2 Answers 2


Leave out the piece shown in the top right of your picture, it is a restriction device.

Don't tell the government or your tree-hugging neighbors, friends or relatives because the .6 gpm per minute excess flow might dry up all the rest of the fresh water on our planet.

  • Or, if you want to be a little tree-huggy, yet still have enough water to live a productive life, take a small drill bit and add a few holes of your own to the flow restrictor and put it back in. Add one hole at a time until the flow is acceptable. Mostly, though, I'd go with "remove it".
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 12:10
  • 1
    Those who don't recognize the threat we pose to this planet (and our own fate) look increasingly foolish. Your misguided sarcasm doesn't add any value to this answer.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 21:10
  • @isherwood if I am sarcastic, you are presumptuous. I am a conservationist. Where I am, the water flows via a historically (and currently) corrupt and esoteric quasi-private/public system that is not designed to help the planet but to enrich a few privileged. One year (drought) the people suffer under austere "conservation" measures and higher rates, the next year (flood) the excess is dumped in the ocean while I continue to conserve and pay the higher rates. The bulk of the water that is saved goes to big business. This planet has had the same amount of water on it for many millennia. Commented May 20, 2021 at 23:59
  • Have we had the same population and energy consumption for millennia? I don't know how to interpret your post other than as anti-regulation sarcasm. Over and out.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 15:41

@crip659 has given you the correct process for decalcifying the aerator. You might want to use a toothbrush with the decalcifier to make it easier to clean . Also a toothpick might help clear the holes. In looking at the pic you posted I don't see any obvious signs of calcium buildup - but that might be my eyes. I think the issue you have is that manufacturers today are required to install flow restrictors in new faucets and shower heads to conserve water. So even a new aerator will probably not help & maybe hurt.

If it's a real problem what I have done is remove the flow restrictor, which is often built into one or more of the components you show in the picture that produce the aeration. When you assemble the aerator you might want to experiment with leaving out one of the comonents such as either one of the fittings on the right side of the pic. Play around with it until you get the flow you want.

  • is the idea to just leave the aerator in a CLR solution and wait? I am confused about what the procedure is.
    – Bernie2436
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 22:21
  • A soak for maybe ten to fifteen minutes then as @HoneyDo says maybe go over it with a toothbrush or toothpick. Think you only need the soak and rinse.
    – crip659
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 22:34

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