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Step-by-Step Guide to
Cleaning Shower Heads

Blog Title Shape
March 21, 2024

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Depending on where your water comes from, your shower head is subjected to all kinds of daily abuse, from lime buildup to mineral deposits. We know you work hard to keep your bathroom clean. You scrub your tub, clean your shower, and keep mold and mildew at bay. But when was the last time you cleaned your shower head? If the answer is “never,” or you didn’t know you could do such a thing, here’s how to clean a shower head to make it look and work like new.

How Often Should You Clean Your Shower Head?

How often you should clean a shower head depends on what kind of water you use and other factors. For example, if your home has hard water, you may have to clean your shower head more often. But clogged shower nozzles aren’t the only reason to clean your shower head.

A shower head is damp and warm—the perfect conditions for mold and bacteria to breed. Research finds that residential shower heads harbor mycobacterium, contaminants that can lead to lung disease and other illnesses. The good news is you can minimize mold and bacteria by cleaning your shower head at least every three months.

If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your shower head, here are some sure signs it’s time:

  • Water sprays sideways, up, down, or in all directions!
  • Some water nozzles don’t spray at all.
  • Water pressure seems to be getting weaker over time.
  • There is pale gray or green slime around the nozzles or on the shower head.

If you find you have to clean your shower head too often because of hard water, installing a water softener can help. Water softeners break down minerals and other contaminants to reduce the wear and tear on your faucets and shower heads. Now that you know what to look for, here’s the best approach for cleaning a shower head.

How to Clean a Shower Head with Distilled White Vinegar

You may be surprised that you likely already have the ideal way to clean a shower head in your kitchen cabinet. Distilled white vinegar is one of the most versatile, safe, and natural products you can use for many cleaning tasks. White vinegar can be used as a disinfectant, weed killer, and shower head cleaner.

  1. Fill a one-gallon plastic bag about a third of the way with distilled white vinegar.
  2. Place the bag of white vinegar over the shower head, ensuring the fixture is completely submerged.
  3. Tie the bag to the shower head neck with string or twist ties.
  4. Only soak brass or other metal-coated shower heads for 30 minutes; you can soak other materials overnight.
  5. Untie the bag, remove it from the shower head, and pour the vinegar down the drain.
  6. Run hot water for a minute to flush loosened mineral deposits stuck in the shower head.
  7. Scrub the face of the shower head with an old toothbrush to remove stubborn buildup.
  8. Polish the shower head with a microfiber cloth for a nice finishing touch.

How to Clean a Shower Head With Baking Soda

Baking soda is an effective shower head cleaner, deodorizer, and degreaser. The mild abrasiveness provides the scrubbing power, and the slight acidity cuts through buildup. Using baking soda to clean a shower head is a gentle method you can use for regular cleaning. It’s also a safe and natural mold remedy for creating a healthier bathroom.

  1. Mix baking soda and enough water in a bowl to make a thick paste.
  2. Rub the baking soda paste over the shower head and into the spray holes.
  3. Let the baking soda work on the buildup for 30 minutes.
  4. Use a toothbrush to clean out stubborn buildup from the spray holes.
  5. Run hot water for a minute to flush debris from the shower nozzles.
  6. Rinse the shower head and use a microfiber cloth to give it a shine.

How to Clean a Shower Head With Lemons

Lemons are another safe and natural cleaning ingredient that cleans, breaks down buildup, and deodorizes. Plus, you get that wonderful fresh citrus aroma. Ensure you wipe off the lemon residue when you’re done to prevent damage to the shower head.

  1. Slice a large lemon in half.
  2. Scrub the shower head with the exposed halves of the lemon.
  3. Use plastic wrap to hold the lemon halves against the showerhead.
  4. Let the acids break down the buildup for an hour or two.
  5. Scrub the shower head with a toothbrush and use a paper clip to unblock spray nozzles.
  6. Run the shower for a few minutes with hot water.

How to Deep Clean a Shower Head

When the above methods don’t quite get the job done, it’s time for a deep cleaning. Removing the shower head and screen lets you clean inside and out to clear buildup. All you need is vinegar and a toothbrush.

  1. Remove the shower head with a wrench or lockable pliers.
  2. Submerge your shower head in a container of white vinegar for several hours.
  3. Scrub the shower head with a toothbrush to loosen debris.
  4. Rinse the shower head to remove the vinegar residue.
  5. Remove the screen between the shower head and the water pipe.
  6. Scrub the screen with a toothbrush and vinegar.
  7. Rinse the screen thoroughly to remove any remaining debris.
  8. Reinstall the screen and use new thread tape before reinstalling the shower head to prevent leaks.

How to Unclog a Shower Head

Sometimes, shower head cleaning isn’t enough to remove heavy buildup. The spray nozzles on your shower head can get clogged with minerals, scale, and soap residue. A can of soda like cola breaks down and loosens hardened buildup.

  1. Pour a can of carbonated soda into a plastic bag.
  2. Position the bag of soda over your shower head to completely submerge it.
  3. Wrap a rubber band around the bag to secure it to the water pipe.
  4. Let your shower head soak for about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the bag and pour the soda down the drain.
  6. Run hot water from the shower to clear out the loosened debris.
  7. Remember to clean the sugary soda residue from the shower head and then polish it to a beautiful shine.

Expert Cleaning Advice and Professional Solutions

From how to clean a shower head to cleaning glass shower doors, The Maids® shares decades of house cleaning knowledge with handy cleaning guides. Whether you invest in one of our popular cleaning services or do it yourself, we want to make housekeeping easier. Discover the joys of healthy cleaning when you get a free personalized quote today.

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