It’s happened to all of us. You step into the shower, and your once steady stream has turned into a sad trickle that shoots out at weird angles. It’s hard to rinse the soap off, let alone get the conditioner out of your hair.
The culprit is usually lime or other mineral deposits that have blocked your flow. But not to worry! There’s a straightforward method for cleaning your showerhead with something you already have in your kitchen cabinet. Vinegar!
It dissolves deposits and it’s much more friendly to the environment than other harsh chemicals.
But getting rid of lime deposits isn’t the only reason to clean your shower head. Over time, they can also become a breeding ground for nasty bacteria and mineral buildup. This can happen even quicker if you have hard water.
To keep you and your showerhead cleaner, we’re going to give you two methods for cleaning this important fixture. In the first method, there’s no need to remove your showerhead at all.
In the second method, for seriously clogged fixtures, you will be removing the head. But it will be totally worth it when you’re sudsing up under that delicious cascade of warm water again. Plus, you don’t need to call a plumber!
Let’s get down to work.
Cleaning the ShowerHead Without Detaching It
If you can’t remove your showerhead or would rather not hassle with it, this simple method should do the trick.
Here’s what you’ll need:
First, fill a plastic bag partway with vinegar. (Be sure not to fill it all the way as the vinegar could overflow when you submerge the showerhead.)
Now place the bag over the showerhead making sure that the head is completely covered in vinegar.
Next, secure the bag to the showerhead using a rubber band or a large twist tie.
You can let most showerheads soak for several hours or even overnight if it’s especially dirty. But if your fixture has a brass, gold or nickel plating, be sure to remove the bag in 30 minutes as vinegar could damage these more delicate finishes.
Carefully remove the bag from the showerhead, making sure the vinegar doesn’t splash into your eyes. You can let it run down the drain.
Turn on the hot water and let it run for a few minutes to clean out any remaining mineral deposits and vinegar.
If you still see deposits around the holes in your showerhead, you can use a toothbrush to scrub them away. Once the area looks clean, run the hot water again.
Finally, use a soft cloth to dry and buff your showerhead.
Cleaning Your Showerhead By Removing It
Sometimes there’s so much buildup inside of your showerhead that it needs a really deep cleaning. In this case, you’ll want to remove the fixture before cleaning it.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- White Vinegar
- Bowl or bucket To Soak the Fixture
- Wrench (optional)
- Needle nose pliers
- Old Toothbrush
- Toothpicks, needle, safety pin or a paperclip
- Rag or soft cloth
Remove the showerhead. In some cases, you can easily unscrew it using only your hands. If not, wrap the showerhead with a rag where it connects to the feed pipe. (The rag will protect the finish of your showerhead while removing it).
Next, use a wrench to loosen the nut that connects the showerhead and feed pipe. Once it’s loose, you can use your hands to unscrew it the rest of the way.
Give the showerhead a quick blast of water to help remove any debris.
Use a pair of needle nose pliers to remove the filter screen from inside of the head. You can clean it with water or a little dish soap and a toothbrush.
Now place the showerhead in a bowl of white vinegar making sure that it’s completely submerged.
You can let most showerheads soak for several hours or even overnight if it’s especially dirty. But if your fixture has a brass, gold or nickel plating, be sure to remove the showerhead in 30 minutes as vinegar could damage more delicate finishes.
Inspect the showerhead once you remove it. Use a toothpick or a needle to unblock any holes that are still covered by calcium deposits, mildew or other gunk. Or you can scrub the fixture with a toothbrush.
Reinstall the filter screen and reconnect your showerhead to the feed pipe. Be sure to run the hot water through it for a few minutes to clear out any remaining debris.
Use a soft cloth to polish your showerhead up.
A Few More Tips
As you can see, getting your showerhead back in running order is pretty simple. Here are just a couple of more things to keep in mind when cleaning it:
- Never use bleach to clean your showerhead. Yes, it may seem like the best go-to heavy-duty cleaner. But bleach can actually increase the number of harmful bacteria in your fixture. Better to stick with environmentally friendly vinegar!
- Be careful not to clean your metal showerhead with a hard-bristled brush as scrubbing it can damage the finish.
- If you’re unsure how to remove the filter screen from the inside of your showerhead, consult the manual or look up the manual for your model online.
With these handy tips, your shower should be running at full blast in no time. Time to break out the salt scrub and get rid of that grime build up!
You might also be interested in: How to Clean a Dirty Dishwasher