How to Clean Home Irrigation Sprinkler Heads


Clogged or debris-ridden irrigation sprinkler heads are common. After all, the irrigation sprinkler system is inundated with grass, dirt and other debris all year long. You should clean your sprinkler heads not only when they're obviously clogged, but also routinely. Try to perform an overall check of your irrigation system--paying special attention to the sprinkler heads--every year in the springtime, right before the growing season begins. Cleaning your home irrigation sprinkler heads is easy, no matter what type of sprinkler system you have.

Step 1

Poke a thin, stiff wire into the sprinkler head's water hole or slit to dislodge debris. You can also use the tip of a small, sharp knife. Turn on the water to find out if this cleaned the sprinkler head sufficiently.

Step 2

Unscrew and remove the sprinkler heads. Clear away any dirt or debris inside the sprinkler head. If the head contains a filter screen, remove the screen and rinse the screen and the sprinkler head under running water until they're clean.

Step 3

Clean away debris from the wiper seal on the stem if you have pop-up brass sprinkler heads. Check and adjust the water pressure if you're having water-flow problems with several sprinkler heads in a row.

Step 4

Replace the filter screens and sprinkler heads. Turn on the water and make sure that the water is flowing properly.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't use a wire, knife blade or other metal tool to clean plastic spray nozzles on your sprinkler irrigation system. Instead, use a plastic or wood tool, such as a toothpick to avoid scratching or otherwise damaging the plastic nozzles.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire or small knife
  • Toothpick or other wood tool or plastic tool


  • How to Clean a Clogged Sprinkler Head

Who Can Help

  • Sprinkler System Tune-Up
Keywords: clean sprinkler heads, unclog sprinkler head, clean irrigation system

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.