How to Clean a Shower Head: Decalcifying Showerheads

Your showerhead is probably the least cleaned part of your bathroom largely due to the fact that you don’t touch it much. This increases the chances of mineral sediments and bacteria building up in the shower head. Eventually, the showerhead will become clogged or pass on infections to the household. 

Pour a cup of distilled white vinegar in a plastic bag then tie it around the shower head ensuring the shower head is fully submerged. Let it soak overnight then remove the bag and run hot water through it. Brush the outside with a toothbrush then rinse it with warm water to clean the shower head.

You can use various household items such as white vinegar to clean your shower head. In fact, it’s the main cleaning agent to use for your shower head. Commercial chemicals such as Easy-Off Professional Oven & Grill Cleaner also do a good job at this. You should clean your shower head at least once a month. In some cases, you may need to do it every week. 

How to Clean a Shower Head

How to Clean a Shower Head with Vinegar

One of the easiest methods to clean a shower head is by using white vinegar. You need a plastic bag, white vinegar and a toothbrush. You then follow these steps: 

  1. Pour white vinegar into a plastic bag about ¾ full. Don’t fill it up as you risk the bag overflowing when you insert the shower head in the bag. 
  2. Pull the bag of vinegar over the showerhead to ensure that the head itself is completely submerged in the vinegar. 
  3. Fasten the bag around the shower head with a piece of string or another item. Ensure it’s tight enough not to fall off when you let go. 
  4. Let the bag stay over the shower head for a few hours. If the shower head was very dirty, you can let it soak in the white vinegar for the whole night. Be careful with shower heads with nickel, gold and brass. For these ones, only let the them soak for 30 minutes before untying the bag since longer exposure to white vinegar damages them. 
  5. Untie the bag from the showerhead then pour away the vinegar from the bag. 
  6. Run hot water through the shower for a few minutes to flush out any dirt and minerals that would have been loosened by the vinegar. 
  7. With the toothbrush mentioned above, scrub the outside part of the shower head paying particular attention to the area around the nozzles for sediments. Knowing how to clean shower head rubber nozzles is important as it helps unclog them without damaging them in the process. After that, run the hot water once more. Repeat until you’re satisfied with the results. 
  8. If the nozzles aren’t clear yet, use a toothpick or needle to poke them to release the sediments. 
  9. Rinse the shower head with clean water then wipe it dry. 

You’ll have a clean and sparkling shower head again. Some rainfall shower heads have self-cleaning mechanisms although you’ll still to clean them every now and again. The same feature is found on some hand held shower heads too.

Avoid using rough materials as they can damage your shower head. Also, always open a window or ventilation system when using some chemicals such as bleach as they emit poisonous fumes. 

The video below shows a quick way to clean a shower head:

How to clean shower head without vinegar

Besides vinegar, you can use other easily-available items to clean shower heads such as bleach, Coca-Cola, baking soda and Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap as explained below. 

How to clean a shower head with bleach

To clean the shower head, you need bleach, water, a Ziploc or plastic bag, and dish cloth. The steps are as follows:

  1. Mix equal parts of bleach and water then pour the mixture in a Ziploc bag.
  2. Tie the bag around the shower head making sure to submerge the shower head in it. 
  3. Wait for 15 minutes. 
  4. Remove the bag then pour away the bleach mixture. 
  5. Rinse the shower head with hot water on the outside with the dish cloth. 
  6. Turn on the shower on the hot water setting to rinse the inside.

Bleach is not safe for use on chrome-plated shower heads as it can dull the shine of the shower head. If you are looking for an alternative to vinegar, try this method.

How to clean a shower head with Coca-Cola

For this procedure, you will need a 12oz can of Coca-Cola, a rubber band, a plastic bag (or Ziploc bag) and dish cloth. The steps are as follows:

  1. Pour the 12oz of Coca-Cola into the plastic bag. A 1-qt plastic bag or any that fits the size of the shower head is enough. 
  2. Submerge the shower head into the soda and tie the bag around it with a rubber band or piece of string. 
  3. Wait for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the plastic bag from your shower head then get rid of the Coke. 
  5. Put the dish cloth in warm water then use it to wipe the outside of the shower head. 
  6. Turn on the hot water to rinse the inside of the shower head. 

Coca-Cola cleans and unclogs and even brightens chrome shower heads. It also cleans hard-to-remove lime deposits and hard water stains on the shower heads.

How to clean a shower head with Dr. Bronner’s

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castille Liquid Soap can be used for many different cleaning purposes at home including cleaning dirty shower heads. You need Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castille Liquid Soap, a 1-qt Ziploc bag, a rubber band, dish cloth and warm water. Hot water might burn the plastic bag and you should thus use warm water. 

The cleaning steps are as follows:

  1. Pour 1/4 cup of Dr. Bonner’s soap in the plastic bag.
  2. Add 4 cups warm to hot water to the plastic bag. The ratio is 1/8 of soap for 2 cups of water
  3. Submerge the shower head into the plastic bag then tie it around the shower head. 
  4. Wait for 30 minutes. 
  5. Remove the bag from the shower head then rinse the shower head and wipe it with the dish cloth. 
  6. Turn on the shower on the hot water setting for 2 minutes to rinse the inside of the shower head. 

This will rid the shower head of any dirt both inside and outside. You can use other commercial cleaners such as the Easy-Off Heavy Duty Oven and Grill Cleaner, CLR, and lime scale removers such as the RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover Spray for the same purpose although each one has its own instructions. 

How to clean a shower head with baking soda

Baking soda is another great option when it comes to cleaning shower heads without vinegar. You need 1/2 cup of baking soda, a small spoon, a mixing bowl, dish cloth, a toothbrush, rubber gloves and warm water. 

Clean a shower head with baking soda as follows:

  1. Make a baking soda paste by adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to a bowl then adding water as you stir to form a smooth paste. 
  2. Cover the shower head with the paste using your hand. 
  3. Wait for 25 minutes. 
  4. Gently scrub the surface with a toothbrush to remove any tough stains. 
  5. Rinse and wipe with the dish cloth and warm water. 
  6. Turn on hot water in the shower head to rinse it further. 

This method is only good at cleaning the outside of the showered head. Cleaning the inside means removing the shower head and cleaning it with vinegar or alcohol. You can also combine both methods to clean and remove lime deposits from both inside and outside of your shower head.

If you need to clean a corroded shower head, use a sharp object such as a small screwdriver or needle nose pliers to clean it out.

How to clean a shower head with lemon juice

The acidic properties of the lemon juice will have dissolved away all the stubborn build-up that had previously formed on your shower head. You need lemon juice, salt, a plastic bag, cotton swab, a rubber band, and dish cloth. 

The steps are as follows:

  1. Pour approximately 2 or 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice into a plastic bag. 
  2. Place the bag over the shower head and secure it in place with a rubber band. 
  3. Leave the plastic bag on your shower head overnight.
  4. Remove the plastic bag containing lemon juice from your shower head. 
  5. Use a cotton swab dipped into lemon juice to clean away any remaining residue or mineral deposits. 
  6. Rinse your shower head with warm water then wipe the outside with a dish cloth dipped in hot water. 

Add a few pinches of salt to the lemon juice to shine the shower head since the salt helps kill off mildew and mold. 

How to clean shower head rubber nozzles

For shower heads with flexible rubber nozzles, clean them by massaging each nozzle with your fingers or scrubbing them gently with a toothbrush. After then turn on the shower on the hot water setting. This dislodges the dirt and mineral buildup in the shower head.

How to Clean a Shower Head Filter Screen

At times, your shower head may have issues with a clogged filter screen. The role of this screen is to filter dirt from the water so that they don’t clog the nozzles of the shower head from the inside. With time, the sediments build up enough to prevent enough water from reaching the shower head. 

You clean the filter screen of your shower head as follows:

  1. Use a pair of pliers or a pipe wrench to remove the shower head from the inlet stem. 
  2. Use tweezers or needle-nosed pliers to remove the filter screen out of the pivot ball. 
  3. With the filter in your hand, gently scrub it with a toothbrush before placing it under running water to rinse it. 
  4. Fix it back into the showerhead and unto the shower stem as well. The procedure will be the same with how to install a handheld shower head. make sure there are no leaks after the installation.

You’ll have a clean filter screen that doesn’t reduce the pressure of the water reaching the shower head. 

FAQs

How to clean shower head without vinegar

Without vinegar, you can clean your shower head using baking soda, oven cleaner and cola. 

How to clean shower head with clr

Mix CLR Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover with equal parts of water then soak in the shower head for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrub it with a soft toothbrush then rinse it clean. 

How to clean a shower head with bleach

Chlorine and bleach increase the chances of bacteria buildup in the shower head and shouldn’t be used for the cleaning process. 

How to clean shower head with baking soda

Mix 1/3 cup of baking soda with a cup of white vinegar until they’re a smooth mixture. Pour in a plastic bag then wrap it around the shower head for 8 hours. Remove it and rinse the shower head. 

How to clean a shower head with apple cider vinegar

Mix ½ cup of baking soda with enough apple cider vinegar to submerge the shower head. Soak in the shower head for 1 hour then rinse it with clean water. 

How to clean a shower head with oven cleaner

Soak the shower head in oven cleaner or spray it with the oven cleaner then wait for 20 minutes before rinsing it off. 

How to clean a shower head with cola

Pour cola in a bowl, soak in the shower head then scrub it. Rinse with clean water. 

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