How to Clean Your Shower Head (and Why You Should)


So the shower head won’t clean itself? Next time, wipe it dry?

After a long day, nothing is more important than taking a proper shower. However, if weak water pressure or erratic jetting patterns are preventing you from rinsing off the areas of concern, it may be time to give your shower head a deep cleaning.

Realizing that the thing that is supposed to clean you is inherently dirty is like realizing you’ve been drinking from a moldy water bottle. Additionally, showerheads are one of the appliances you may want to consider self-cleaning. (I am reminded of Nick Miller’s logic regarding towel cleaning in “The New Woman.”) It is easy to skip this area when you are busy cleaning high-profile items such as toilets and sinks. But showerheads, like many other problem areas in the bathroom, deserve attention.

Why Showerheads Need Cleaning

Showerheads are not contaminated because people are in constant contact with them, but they can still suffer from mold, mineral buildup, and even bacteria. If you live in an area with hard water, you will most likely notice that the holes in your showerhead are clogged due to mineral buildup, such as limescale.

When to Clean Your Showerhead

The frequency of showerhead cleaning varies from source to source, but the Internet suggests the following soaking method, which is generally done once a month. Otherwise, it is wise to incorporate the showerhead into your regular deep cleaning routine.

Regardless of your previous bathroom cleaning habits, if you notice a significant drop in water pressure or diffuse water pressure in your showerhead, it is likely that the above-mentioned contaminants have accumulated.

What you need to clean your showerhead
If it can be removed

Completely removing the showerhead is the easiest way to ensure a thorough soak. You will need the following

  • 4 cups white vinegar (or enough to soak the showerhead)
  • 1/2 cup baking soda (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • Large container or tub
  • Optional: toothbrush or scrubbing brush

If you cannot remove

If you cannot remove the showerhead, you can still soak it, but you will need the following in addition to the above materials

  • Large plastic bag (can be placed around the shower head)
  • Rubber bands or zip ties

Step-by-Step Guide to Shower Head Cleaning

  • Remove the shower head. Most can be unscrewed manually, but you may need a wrench to loosen them.
  • Fill a large container or bath with vinegar, baking soda (optional), and water.
  • Completely submerge the showerhead.
  • Soak. It’s not a perfect science, so how long you soak depends on how deeply you need to clean it. You can leave it overnight or for an hour or two.
  • Optional. After soaking, spot clean any remaining dirt with a toothbrush or brush.
  • Rinse the showerhead to rinse off any excess vinegar. Make sure to run the water completely so that the vinegar does not seep in when reconnecting the showerhead.
  • Wipe with a soft cloth. Any remaining vinegar mixture can be safely poured down the drain.
  • Reconnect the showerhead to the main power source. Shower until the vinegar odor is gone.

How to clean a shower head that cannot be removed

If you cannot remove the shower head, you can still soak it in a plastic bag.

  • Have a rubber band or zip tie ready at the bottom of the shower head.
  • Fill a large plastic bag with vinegar, baking soda, and water. The bag should be large enough that it will not overflow after the shower head is submerged.
  • Wrap the bag around the shower head, making sure it is completely submerged. Secure the bag with the rubber bands already in place (in other words).
  • Perform steps 4-7 above.

Note : If you have brass, gold, or nickel-coated showerheads, remove them from the vinegar after 30 minutes, as exceeding this time may damage the finish.

Keeping Showerheads Clean

The best way to reduce scale buildup is to avoid getting on top of it. Fill a spray bottle with diluted vinegar (1 vinegar to 1 water) and spray the showerhead as you do your usual bathroom cleaning.

Now, celebrate a job well done and enjoy quality water pressure.