If your shower only produces a weak water flow, it might be due to a clogged shower head. The water, even if it comes from a city water supply, contains minerals that can accumulate and block the tiny openings in the shower head. If you reside in an area with hard water or use well water, this problem can be even more severe.
How to Clean Shower Head
To prevent mineral buildup and contaminants, you can install a good shower filter. However, when the openings or nozzles in the shower head get clogged, it creates a humid and warm environment where bacteria and mould can thrive not very pleasant!
So, it’s time to learn how to clean your shower head effectively. Follow the steps below, and you might find yourself preferring a refreshing shower over a relaxing bath.
Here’s what you’ll need for different cleaning methods:
To Clean with Vinegar:
- Distilled white vinegar or cleaning vinegar.
- A heavy-duty plastic food storage bag.
- Rubber band or twist ties.
- Cleaning cloth.
- Baking soda.
- To Clean with Lemon Juice:
- An old toothbrush.
- Baking soda.
- Lemon juice.
To Clean the Filter Screen:
- Wrench or lockable pliers.
- Needle-nose pliers.
- Vinegar or a commercial descaler.
- Baking soda.
To Remove Mineral Deposits:
- Vinegar, lemon juice, or a commercial descaler.
- Scrub brush.
- Microfiber cloth.
How to Clean a Shower Head with Vinegar
Cleaning a shower head is best done with vinegar because its natural acidity helps dissolve the limescale buildup without needing strong chemicals. Here’s a step-by-step guide to make it simple:
Step 1: Prepare the Vinegar
Take a plastic bag and fill it with distilled white vinegar. Be careful not to overfill it, as it might spill when you put it over the shower head.
Step 2: Cover the Shower Head
Place the bag over the shower head so that the entire shower head is submerged in the vinegar. Adjust the vinegar level if needed.
Step 3: Secure the Bag
Use a rubber band or twist ties to secure the bag around the neck of the shower head. Make sure it’s tight and won’t slip. It’s a good idea to close the shower door or curtain to contain any potential spills.
Step 4: Soak for Several Hours
Let the shower head soak for a few hours. For really stubborn dirt, you can leave it overnight. However, if your shower head is made of brass, don’t soak it for more than 30 minutes to avoid damaging the finish. Skip this method for nickel-coated shower heads.
Step 5: Remove the Bag
Untie the bag and take it off the shower head. Pour the vinegar down the shower drain (you can add some baking soda to help with soap scum buildup in the drain).
Step 6: Flush with Hot Water
Run hot water through the shower head for a minute to flush out any remaining mineral deposits stuck inside.
Step 7: Unclog Nozzles and Scrub
If there are still clogged nozzles, use a toothpick or paper clip to clear them. Scrub the shower head with an old toothbrush dipped in dry baking soda if there’s any remaining buildup. Focus on the areas around the water holes. Turn on the hot water again to rinse out more residue. Repeat this process until you no longer see mineral deposits.
Step 8: Polish with a Cloth
To finish, polish the shower head with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove water spots and make it look like new.
If your shower head is removable, you can make the cleaning process even easier by soaking it in a bucket of distilled white vinegar. After soaking, follow the same cleaning steps and reattach the fixture.
How to Clean a Shower Head with Lemon Juice Paste
If you don’t have any distilled white vinegar, there are alternative methods you can use to clean your shower head. One option is to soak it in a mixture of lemon juice and water, as lemon juice contains acids that can dissolve mineral deposits. Just follow the same soaking and cleaning steps as before.
If you’d rather not wait for the shower head to soak, you can clean it by making a homemade paste with lemon juice and either baking soda or salt. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Scrub with DIY Cleaning Paste
- In a cup or small bowl, mix a few tablespoons of baking soda or salt with a squirt of lemon juice until it forms a paste.
- Dip a toothbrush into the paste and use it to scrub the shower head.
Step 2: Flush with Hot Water
- Let hot water run through the shower head. If possible, take the shower head apart to scrub both the inside and outside of the fixture with the toothbrush.
Step 3: Rinse and Reassemble
- Rinse the shower head thoroughly.
- Reassemble it and reattach it to your shower.
If these natural methods don’t work for you, you can also consider using a commercial shower head descaler. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully.
How to Clean the Filter Screen in a Shower Head
If your shower head is still sputtering even after cleaning, it’s a good idea to inspect the filter screen. Here’s how to do it in a clear and easy-to-understand way:
Step 1: Remove the Shower Head
To start, unscrew the shower head by turning it counterclockwise and pulling it off. If it’s too tight, you might need a wrench or lockable pliers. In that case, cover the tool with a cloth, place it over the connecting nut, squeeze it, and turn counterclockwise to remove the shower head.
Step 2: Clear Loose Debris
Hold the shower head under a sink faucet and run warm water through it to clear out any loose debris inside.
Step 3: Remove and Clean the Filter Screen
Now, remove the filter screen, which is located between the shower head and the water pipe. You may need needle-nose pliers to gently pull it away from the nozzle.
To clean the filter screen:
- Create a solution with equal parts water and vinegar.
- Dip a toothbrush into this solution and scrub the filter screen clean. You can also use a commercial descaler if you prefer.
- Rinse the filter screen under water and wipe it with a microfiber cloth.
- Put the cleaned filter screen back in place. It’s a good practice to replace it with a new one once a year.
Step 4: Clean the Rest of the Shower Head
Clean the rest of the shower head by following the recommended cleaning steps mentioned earlier.
Step 5: Reinstall and Test
Reattach the shower head by turning it clockwise. Run the shower at full pressure for several minutes to flush out any remaining debris.
How Often to Clean Your Shower Head
If you’ve never cleaned your shower head before or if you notice reduced water flow, it’s essential to clean it right away. To ensure regular maintenance, consider setting a reminder on your phone to clean the shower head thoroughly at least once every two months. If you live in an area with hard water, you might want to clean it even more frequently.
This routine cleaning will also help prevent the growth of mould and bacteria inside the shower head.
Routine Cleaning Tips for Shower Heads
When you clean your shower weekly, don’t forget to take care of the shower head as well. Here’s what you need to do:
- Mix equal parts water and distilled white vinegar or use a commercial cleaner.
- Spray this solution onto the shower head.
- Scrub the openings of the shower head with a toothbrush to remove any mineral deposits.
- After scrubbing, let the shower run for a few minutes to flush away any remaining debris.
- It’s crucial to keep an eye on your shower head’s performance. If you notice reduced water flow, it’s time for a more thorough cleaning.
- Mineral deposits tend to worsen over time, so don’t wait too long before cleaning.
- If you want to prevent mineral deposits and bacterial growth, think about installing an exterior shower head filter. There are filters available, like the one from AquaHome, that you can place between the shower head and the water source.
- When choosing a showerhead, opt for a metal one. Plastic shower heads are more likely to develop mould compared to metal fixtures.
- To prevent mould and mildew growth in your bathroom, use the bathroom fan during and after taking a shower. This helps to remove humidity quickly.
How to Clean a Shower Head with Rubber Nozzles?
- Begin by soaking your shower head in vinegar. This helps to soften the build-up.
- After soaking, gently dislodge the softened build-up by manually manipulating each rubber nozzle with your finger.
- Follow this by scrubbing the shower head with a wet toothbrush.
- Finally, rinse the shower head thoroughly. If some build-up remains, you can repeat the process, starting with another vinegar soak.
Can You Clean a Shower Head with Bleach?
No, you should not use bleach on shower heads because it can harm the finishes of the shower head, such as chrome, nickel, and brass. Additionally, bleach is not safe to use around children and can also stain clothing.
How to Clean a Rainfall Shower Head?
Despite their larger size, rainfall shower heads can be cleaned similarly to regular ones. You can either use a vinegar soak or a baking soda paste to clean them effectively.