How To Clean Sprinkler Heads

How To Clean Sprinkler Heads

Is your lawn not being watered properly due to a clogged sprinkler head?

Hard water, debris, and rust can build up over time and cause your sprinkler to distribute the water evenly.

This can cause your lawn to flood in certain areas and be completely dry in others.

Instead of heading out to buy new sprinkler heads, the problem might actually just be a clogged or dirty head that a good clean will fix.

How To Clean Sprinkler Heads?

It is quite easy to clean your sprinkler heads by soaking the nozzle and flushing out the sprinkler sleeve and body. If the problem was due to a dirty head, the sprinkler should work fine once you put it all together again. It is a good idea to clean your sprinklers once a year, making it part of your spring clean. It is important that you have a sprinkler working properly to ensure the plants and grass are being watered with the correct amount of water.

What Is The Right Way To Clean Sprinklers?

First, start with wiping the head of the sprinkler clean. You will need to disconnect the sprinkler from the water hose. Use a clean cloth to wipe the heads to remove any organic material or dirt.

Inspecting your sprinkler head is next, which can help you to see if there are any obstructions that might be blocking the sprinkler heads.

Bits of mud, lawn clippings, and insects can all block the heads but are easily removed.

If you can see something blocking the holes, then grab yourself a paperclip or even a piece of wire if you have one and insert it into the opening.

This should be enough to move the debris and dirt that has built up in the sprinkler.

Now rinse clean with the hose to flush anything out that may be still remaining.

I Think I Have A Mineral Build-Up. How Do I Clean This?

For a mineral build-up, you will need to do the cleaning differently from above. You need to disconnect the sprinkler from your hose and place it into a bucket or container.

The head needs to be fully submerged. 

Now you can apply a rust and mineral remover such as CLR into the bucket and add water until the head is completely covered.

This will ensure the calcium and mineral build-up is removed. You need to soak the head for around 30 minutes, then remove and place it in a bucket of hot water which will help to remove any remaining build-up.

If you can still see some build-up on the head, you can get a small scrubbing brush and use that to help remove the gunk. Finish with a rinse in clean water.

How Do I Prevent Clogs?

You won’t be able to prevent all clogs and build-up, but you can reduce the amount of build-up by greasing the working parts after you have cleaned them with lubrication that doesn’t create build-up.

Make sure you clean the area around the head of the sprinkler and if you have a sprinkler type that is embedded into the ground, make sure you don’t have grass or weeds overgrown near the heads.

If you have an above-ground sprinkler head, then you need to ensure it is sitting flat and not sitting on any obstructions.

If your grass is not all level, then consider sitting the sprinkler on top of a board to make sure dirt and grass doesn’t come directly into contact with the sprinkler head.

Clean twice a year if you can. Most times, once a year, cleaning is sufficient enough but depending on how much you use your sprinkler and how much debris you are already building up, you might need to do the cleaning process twice a year.

If you still have problems with the sprinkler, it could be a water distribution problem, and you may have a few kinks along with the hose, which will stop the sprinkler heads from working as they should be.

Are There More Than One Sprinkler Type I Need To Clean

Yes! Sprinklers are a great way for water to be distributed around your garden, and there is no need to stand around holding the hose.

Sprinklers will need some TLC to keep them in good condition and functioning as they are meant to be. 

Above Ground

This is the type of sprinkler that sits on a support system. The pipe can be moved around and change directions.

The part that pushes out the water needs to remain above the ground. These are less likely to get too much build-up.


These sprinklers are underground. The head normally sits flush with the ground, with the body underneath the ground.

The head will rise when you turn the water on and the pressure is operating. Once the water is turned off, the sprinklers will go back down to ground level.

Due to being so close to the ground, these sprinklers tend to get more debris and dirt in them, which is why it is recommended that you keep the area around the head clean and tidy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Sprinkler Heads

Do All Sprinklers Need To Be Cleaned?

It doesn’t matter what sort of sprinkler you have; all types need to be cleaned often as they will all get a build-up of debris over time.

My Sprinkler Is Shooting Water Everywhere. Is It Clogged?

Most likely, yes. If one hole is blocked, the water is forced out of the other holes with more pressure which can cause the water to shoot out unevenly and can cause the hose connection to shoot off if too much pressure is building up.

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