How to Unclog a Faucet


Although faucets are a part of everyday life, maintenance is often overlooked until it becomes a repair issue. Faucets collect mineral deposits as well as other material such as metal or PVC shavings, according to Tim Carter of Ask the Builder. Partial clogs reduce water pressure and cause the flow to shoot out in different directions instead of down into the tub or basin. Pressure from a completely blocked faucet can damage the assembly. Removing foreign material from a faucet will restore water pressure and maintenance will prevent it from happening again.

Things You'll Need

  • Small pliers
  • Rubber Gloves (optional)
  • Small, disposable plastic bowl (optional)
  • Lime and Mineral Deposit Remover (optional)
  • Remove the screw-on end of the spout using just your fingers or a small pair of pliers if it is stuck. If pliers are used, be careful not to apply too much pressure, which could marr the metal.

  • Locate and remove the small screen or aerating plug. This will either be found inside the piece that was removed or it will still be attached to the end of the spout, as explained by Alex Quevedo of This Old House. Screens are small discs of fine plastic or metal mesh. Aerating plugs are small devices made of plastic or metal and will have either small holes on the top and bottom or may be covered in mesh. Screens and aerators should lift out, but occasionally aerators are threaded and must be unscrewed.

  • Remove all deposits off the screen or aerator by rinsing with water. Often, this is the only work required to completely restore the flow. If rinsing does not completely remove the deposits, try tapping gently against a flat surface to dislodge more.

  • Remove stubborn deposits by pouring a small amount of lime and mineral deposit remover into the bowl and soaking the screen or aerator for 5 to 10 minutes. Put on rubber gloves to handle the article once it has been soaked. Rinse thoroughly with water.

  • Replace the screen or aerator and screw the faucet assembly back together. Turn on the water to ensure the flow has been restored.

Tips & Warnings

  • Maintenance is much simpler than repair. To prevent build up, remove the screen or aerator and give it a quick cleaning with dish detergent and water once a month.
  • If pliers are used to remove the faucet assembly, wrap a cloth around the faucet first to prevent marks on the metal.
  • Screens and aerators can develop build up that is impossible to remove. If either is in bad condition with corrosion, they are inexpensive plumbing parts to replace.
  • Handling mineral dissolving chemicals without rubber gloves can result in chemical burns.

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  • Photo Credit faucet image by Mat Hayward from
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