How to Remove Flow Restrictor from Kitchen Faucet

If your kitchen water pressure is too low it might be because of the flow restrictor. This small part is inside the faucet and controls the water flow. It helps save water and reduce bills but sometimes it does its job a little too well and leaves homes with a low water flow and weak pressure. The flow restrictor can be cleaned, replaced or removed relatively easily.

A flow restrictor can become clogged up over time which worsens water pressure. It is easy to locate the flow restrictor and either clean it, replace it or remove it. The flow restrictor is usually underneath the aerator and all you need to remove it is a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench. 

Tools Required 

It is quick and easy to remove flow restrictors from a kitchen faucet. You may be able to access the restrictor with your hands but have these tools on hand in case:

  • Towel to cover drain
  • Adjustable Wrench 
  • Flat-headed Screwdriver
  • Vinegar for cleaning if the flow restrictor is heavily clogged

How to Locate Faucet Flow Restrictor 

Cover the Drain With the Towel

Before we start getting into the finer details of the flow restrictor, place a towel over the drain. Losing one of the pieces from the kitchen faucet down the sinkhole happens all too easily and can slow down your DIY. Fortunately, it’s a simple problem to fix. 

Locate and Remove the Aerator 

It is possible to remove the aerator using only your hand but if it feels tight use the adjustable wrench. If you do need to use the wrench, it is a good idea to wrap a rubber band around it to avoid scratching the faucet. 

Concealed aerators require a specialist tool for removal. This means the aerator threads directly into the spout of the faucet and only some aerators are this type. In this case, you may have to go to your local DIY store for this remover tool. 

Place the Aerator Down

You will notice there are a couple of different parts to the aerator, make sure you place the parts down in order so you can put it back together properly later. 

Locate the Faucet Flow Restrictor

Once you take the aerator from the kitchen faucet you will be able to see the flow restrictor. The flow restrictor sits behind the aerator and is basically the aerator screen. It looks like a small screen with lots of holes drilled into it. 

The restrictor connects to either the faucet or to the aerator depending on the faucet make and model. If it is connected to the faucet a screwdriver will gently loosen it. Once it is loose, you can use a wrench to remove the flow restrictor from the faucet. 

How to Remove Faucet Flow Restrictor 

It’s now time to remove the flow restrictor. This is for cleaning, replacing or removal purposes.  The process is slightly different depending on the kitchen faucet you have. 

Removing Flow Restrictor From Delta Kitchen Faucet 

Remove The Aerator 

Use a wrench to loosen the aerator until it can be easily removed by hand. Once removed, you will see a small rubber washer inside the aerator that should be taken out. Below the washer is the flow restrictor, this is flat, plastic and has a star-shaped hole in the middle.

Remove the Flow Restrictor

Now you have located the flow restrictor, it can be removed for cleaning or replacing. With Delta faucets, there is usually a screen above the restrictor and a screen below it. These screens are different as one is metal and one is plastic. When you remove the flow restrictor take note of the order the screens are in to ensure you can reassemble it in the right way. 

Clean the Aerator and Flow Restrictor

Once the flow restrictor is off, you may notice that it has debris and sediment clogging it up. Clean this under the faucet but be careful when you turn the faucet on as the water flow will be different from usual. 

Rinsing the flow restrictor under water should be enough to clean it but if you find it is really clogged you may find that soaking it in the vinegar helps. If you don’t have vinegar you could try to unclog the holes using a toothbrush. 


With the flow restrictor cleaned or replaced you can now reassemble the parts and place them back into the faucet. After positioning the flow restrictor you can replace the small rubber washer and reattach the aerator. Once it is all secured, turn the water back on to test the flow rate. With the restrictor now cleaned or removed, it should solve any flow issues you were having. 

Removing Flow Restrictor from Kohler Kitchen Faucet 

Remove the Aerator

First things first, remove the aerator and put it to one side. Do this with your hand or with a wrench. 

Remove the Debris Screen

There should then be a debris screen to remove as well. Underneath the debris screen is the flow restrictor. 

Look Closely At the Flow Restrictor 

With many Kohler kitchen faucets, you cannot remove the flow restrictors without breaking or damaging them. If this is the case, you can soak the faucet in a white vinegar and warm water solution to help dissolve any debris that has built up. You can tie a bag of the solution to the tip of the faucet or simply remove the faucet handle and soak it in a bowl of the solution. 

Clean the Debris Screen and Aerator

You should also clean the other parts you have removed to help your faucet work efficiently. Warm water is often enough to clean these parts but white vinegar can help remove tough stains and debris build up too. 

Reassemble the Faucet 

Now that the flow restrictor and other parts are clean, put them back onto the faucet in the order you removed them. 

Test the Water Flow

Turn on the water to see if the flow has improved. If the flow has not improved you may need to clean the supply lines to remove any sediment or debris that are slowing down or blocking the water. Another possible cause is that debris has collected in the valve or cartridge and it needs a replacement. 

Removing Flow Restrictor from Hansgrohe Kitchen Faucet 

Remove the Aerator

Certain Hansgrohe faucets come with a wrench designed specifically for removing the aerator. Use this tool or your own pliers and insert it between the ring and aerator. The ring will pop out and then use the wrench to remove the aerator by reaching into the spray head and rotating counterclockwise.

Remove the Flow Restrictor Inside the Aerator

The flow restrictor is inside the aerator. It is a small screen with holes in it and should be easy to find. Once located, remove the flow restrictor from the kitchen faucet. Sometimes there is more than one flow restrictor and you may find another one in the aerator. Double-check so you can save time and clean all of the restrictors at the same time. 

Clean the Flow Restrictor 

This part can now be cleaned with water or a water and vinegar solution. We also recommend that you clean the mesh screen too as this can become clogged as well. 


Now that the faucet flow restrictor is clean you can put it back into the faucet. While some people like to leave the flow restrictor out this isn’t recommended. The restrictor helps to catch dirt and debris and stop it from going into your water. You should find that cleaning the restrictor has solved your water flow problems.

Put the Aerator Back into the Faucet 

With the clean flow restrictor in position, you can now put the aerator back. Make sure you reassemble the aerator in the right order. You should be able to reattach it with your hand but use a wrench if you can’t get it tight enough. 

It is important to get the aerator tight as the water flow is going to be stronger now so the aerator could pop off the faucet if it is not positioned correctly. 

FAQs: Faucet Flow Restrictor 

Why do faucets have flow restrictors?

A flow restrictor helps reduce water usage as it will lower the maximum flow rate of your faucet. The flow restrictor also catches larger particles of dirt and debris and stops them from flowing out of the faucet. 

What causes slow water flow from faucets? 

Slow water flow can be the result of everything from a clogged up flow restrictor to a blocked valve or a leak somewhere in the pipe. Cleaning the faucet, aerator and flow restrictor is a quick way to help improve slow water flow that’s caused by a buildup of sediment. 

Next Steps

Now that you have found and cleaned or removed the flow restrictors you should find your water pressure has improved. If the water pressure has not changed, there could be a buildup of sediment in the pipe. This is likely if you found a lot of dirt on the aerator and flow restrictor. Other potential causes include an issue with the valve or possibly a leak somewhere along the pipe. 

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