How to Clean Shower Heads for Long-Term Maintenance

Do you take a daily shower? Most of us love to wash off our work day and relax in clean comfort, and our showers always provide a steady stream of H2O. What if your water pressure starts to slow down in the shower? If it isn’t affecting the rest of the water in your house, then the likely culprit is your shower head.

Getting your shower head back up to full capacity is easy if you know what you are doing. Nobody wants to have an issue with water pressure while they shower, so clear your shower head and enjoy a relaxing, high-pressure shower. If you can’t fix the problem on your own, call a plumber for help. Don’t be surprised if the improvement is dramatic because it may shock you into getting the full shower experience.

Let’s learn the best ways on how to clean the shower head:

Soaking the Shower Head

Over time your shower head collects mineral deposits that restrict water flow. Vinegar is a good cleaner that helps break down these deposits and leaves everything cleaner, so grab white vinegar or apple cider vinegar if that’s all you got. Lemon juice mixed with water is another alternative that works well.

Take a plastic bag like a large ziplock and fill it halfway with vinegar. Now carefully place it over your shower head, ensuring enough liquid to submerge it completely. That way, all the vinegar can get inside of the head. Tie it off with an elastic band and twist ties so it holds in place and leave it there for 3-4 hours, checking to see if it’s still in place. If it is clogged, leave it there overnight.

When it’s done, take off the bag, mix a half cup of baking soda, and pour it down the shower drain. This will help clear any blockages in your drain pipes. Run hot water on the shower for a few minutes to wash away any debris, and if you need to, clear the nozzles with a toothpick. You can also take off the shower head and submerge it in a tub of vinegar for a few hours.

Scrubbing the Shower Head

For a more hands-on approach or if there is a significant clog, nothing beats good old elbow grease. This is easiest if you can remove the shower head. Bring together some small tools like:

  • Old toothbrush
  • Clean rag
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Toothpick

You can start with a vinegar soak or go straight to scrubbing. Make a paste with baking soda, salt and lemon juice and use your toothbrush to scrub all exterior surfaces. Take time to clear the nozzles, too, with your toothpick. Then it’s time to take apart your shower head. Pay attention to the disassembly because you need to put it back together where you are done. Scrub the interior along with any loose parts and rinse them out well with vinegar. There is also a screen inside that may have mineral buildup on it. Take it out and soak it in a bowl of vinegar while cleaning everything else. Then you can give it a good scrub with your DIY paste.

Put everything back together and run hot water through the shower head for 5-10 minutes to clear out all the paste and debris.

You can, of course, use both methods as they work well to double team the shower head and give you the best chance of total success.

Shower Head Maintenance

It’s important to be proactive and keep the shower head clean before you lose water pressure. Use the soaking method once every few months or more often if you have hard water. Make cleaning your shower head part of your shower cleaning routine by having a bottle of vinegar or lemon juice and water on hand. Spray the shower head and clean out the nozzle openings with a toothpick. Then run the hot water for a few minutes.

You should consider installing an exterior shower filter to prevent a clogged shower head. Running the fan when showering is also good for reducing mould and mildew growth because if the nozzle is blocked, the mould can more easily take hold.

If you have hard water, you can install a water softener, drastically reducing or eliminating the minerals from coming into your home and building up. It will benefit your shower head and all faucets, water lines and drain lines. Get your water tested for mineral content, and you will have a water softener.

A leaking shower head is more likely to develop mineral deposits so if you have any dripping, get it fixed. It may be a simple case of tightening the connections but if the shower head is cracked, buy a new one.

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