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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.

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.

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.

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.

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


Be sure to straighten any sprinkler heads that are leaning. If a sprinkler head leans to one side or ends up laying flat on the ground, you’ll not only waste a lot of water and create dry spots, but you’ll also have to clean the sprinkler head more often.


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.

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