Aerators are an integral part of most kitchen faucets, Moen taps included. In most Moen kitchen faucets, the aerator is “male,” which essentially means the threads are located on the aerator itself instead of the faucet.
This design makes removing the aerator without a tool nearly impossible. However, it depends on the specific faucet, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t have the tool. We’ll walk you through how to remove the aerator, with or without the aerator key.
What Is An Aerator?
The aerator in a kitchen faucet does exactly what the name implies: it aerates the water. They add air to the water by sending the water through dozens of tiny streams instead of one giant stream. In the long run, this saves you money, as you don’t use as much water.
Even though there’s technically less water coming out of the faucet, you won’t notice the difference in water pressure because it remains the same. Additionally, aerators help reduce the amount of splashing that happens when the water hits the sink bowl.
How To Remove A Moen Faucet Aerator
Faucets With A Side Sprayer
If you have a faucet with or without a side sprayer, the process is simple. The aerator threads onto the end of the spout, so you can easily remove it by turning it counterclockwise.
Pull-Down Kitchen Faucets
However, the fix isn’t as straightforward if you have a pull-down kitchen faucet. For instance, let’s say you have a top-mount handle or a side-mount handle with a pull-out sprayer. In this case, you will have to remove the entire spray head from the hose.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Rubber band
- Replacement parts (as necessary)
Start by pulling the hose out of the faucet body. Secure a towel and rubber band around it to prevent it from feeding backward. Then, unthread the spray head.
If the issue is due to poor water flow, check the flow from the hose itself. If the problem exists only when the spray head is on, you may need to replace the screen washer located between the sprayer and the hose.
However, if the problem persists when the spray head is removed, and there is low flow from the hose, the issue might be the cartridge. Depending on the faucet and circumstances, there may be warranty coverage for this type of thing. So, check with Moen before buying a replacement.
Faucets With A Recessed Aerator
If your kitchen faucet has a recessed aerator, removing it shouldn’t take long. When you buy the tap, it comes with an aerator key. This makes it extremely easy to remove the aerator. The key is plastic and circular, with small teeth on one end.
Insert the key into the spout, then slowly rotate it until you feel the teeth lock in against the aerator. Then, turn the key counterclockwise to unthread and remove the aerator.
Some of Moen’s faucets, like the Moen Brecklyn kitchen faucet, feature an aerator on the face of the sprayer. Generally, these faucets don’t come with a specific tool for removing the aerator upon purchase.
However, even though it doesn’t come with a tool to simplify the process, it isn’t challenging to do by any means. Of course, corrosion or limescale on the metal or plastic may complicate the process, but it’s usually pretty straightforward.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Allen key
Cover the drain with a towel. Some faucets feature a water saver, which might fall out when you remove the aerator. So, cover the drain, so you don’t lose any parts.
Fit the Allen key flat against the aerator and line it up with the small grooves. While you press firmly on either end of the Allen key, begin to turn the aerator counterclockwise. Once the aerator loosens enough, finish removing it with your hands.
How Do I Remove The Aerator From My Moen Kitchen Faucet Without A Tool?
Moen’s cache aerator design complicates the process when trying to remove the screen for cleaning. Without the tool, it seems impossible to remove. After all, it doesn’t sit right at the end of the spout with threads on the faucet. Instead, the aerator sits back inside the spout, with threads on it.
So, although it doesn’t seem doable, removing a recessed aerator from your Moen kitchen faucet without a tool is entirely possible. Here are a few different ways to approach the problem:
- Use your fingernails: Moen’s faucet aerators feature ridges, allowing you to twist the aerator with your fingernails. Try to turn the aerator counterclockwise using your fingernails.
- Use a kitchen knife: A butterknife is probably the safest option here. Wedge the tip of the blade in one of the grooves, then attempt to rotate the aerator counterclockwise.
- Use a flathead screwdriver: A small flathead screwdriver may also do the trick. Just like with the kitchen knife, wedge the end of the screwdriver in one of the grooves and attempt to turn the aerator.
If the aerator doesn’t budge, try to see if there are visible mineral deposits or limescale on it. More often than not, a stuck aerator is all or partially due to mineral deposits, limescale, or corrosion. So, fill a sandwich bag with enough white vinegar to submerge the end of the faucet spout and aerator.
Secure the bag on the end of the faucet with a rubber band, then let it sit for a few hours, preferably all day/overnight. Then, remove the bag and try the steps again.