Everyone loves a nice, hot shower with great water pressure. Your bathroom showerhead is one of those spots in the home you’d probably expect to be mostly self-cleaning, but it does actually need some routine upkeep to look its best and function at full capacity.
It may not come into contact with much besides water and soap, but cleaning the showerhead helps to treat hard water build-up and keep soap scum at bay.
Mineral deposits like limescale in your water supply can create blockages in the holes through which water passes, reducing the power of the jet or entirely clogging it. Time to get those micro-jets clean and improve your overall showering experience!
Why Shower Heads Need Cleaning
Showerheads require routine cleaning to operate at full capacity. Over time water and soap residue can build up and block the holes through which water passes. The slime that develops in a shower head prevents the chlorine in the water from flushing out irritants and organic matter.
Mineral deposits in the water supply like limescale can clog the showerhead’s tiny holes. The hot, humid environment of a shower is an ideal breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and germs. Regular cleaning of the shower head to keep the holes and jets clear and functioning normally can improve the bathing experience.
How Often Should Shower Heads be Cleaned?
If you’ve never cleaned the shower head or there is reduced water flow, it should be cleaned immediately. Set a regular reminder on your phone to clean the shower head thoroughly at least once every other month or more frequently if you live in an area with hard water. Regular cleaning will also help limit mold and bacteria growth inside the shower head.
How to Clean A Shower Head
Cleaning Shower Head With Vinegar
- Fill a plastic bag partway with distilled white vinegar. Be careful not to overfill the bag, as it could overflow when you completely submerge the shower head.
- Place the bag over the shower head until the entire fixture is immersed in the vinegar. If you need to adjust the vinegar level, do so now.
- Fasten the bag with a rubber band or twist ties wrapped around the neck of the shower head. Carefully test how secure the bag is to make sure it won’t slip once you let go. (It’s also a good idea to close the shower door or curtain so if there is a spill, it will stay within the shower.)
- Let the shower head soak for several hours. For an especially dirty fixture, leave it overnight. If you have a brass shower head, remove it from the vinegar after 30 minutes, as any longer than this could damage the finish, and skip this method on nickel-coated shower heads.
- Untie the bag and remove it from the shower head. Pour the vinegar down the shower drain (add some baking soda to help remove soap scum buildup in the drain).
- Run hot water through the shower head for a minute to flush out any mineral deposits stuck inside the fixture.
- Use a toothpick or paper clip tip to unclog any nozzles that still look clogged. Scrub the fixture with an old toothbrush dipped in dry baking soda if the buildup remains. Focus on the areas around the holes where water comes out. Turn the hot water back on to flush out even more residue. Repeat this process until you no longer see mineral deposits.
- Polish the shower head with a soft, lint-free cloth for a finished look. Buff and dry it to remove water spots and help the shower head look like new.
If the shower head is removable, make cleaning even simpler by submerging the shower head in a bucket of distilled white vinegar. Follow the same cleaning steps after soaking and then reattach the fixture.
Clean Shower Head With Lemon Juice
- In a cup or small bowl, moisten a few tablespoons of baking soda or salt with a squirt of some lemon juice. Mix until it forms a paste. Dip a toothbrush into the paste and scrub the show head with it.
- Let the hot water run through the shower head. If possible, take the shower head apart so you can scrub both the interior and exterior of the fixture with the toothbrush.
- Rinse well, reassemble, and reattach the shower head. You can also use a commercial shower head de-scaler if these natural methods aren’t working. Follow the label directions carefully.
How to Clean the Filter Screen?
If the shower head is still sputtering after cleaning the fixture, it’s time to take a look at the filter screen.
- To do this, unscrew the fixture by turning it counterclockwise and pulling it off. You may need a wrench or lockable pliers. In that case, cover your tool with a cloth and place it over the connecting nut. Squeeze and turn counterclockwise to unscrew the shower head and pull it off.
- Hold the shower head under a sink faucet and flush warm water through the interior to clear away any loose debris.
- Remove the filter screen (which sits between the showerhead and the water pipe). You may need to use a pair of needle-nose pliers to pull it away from the nozzle.
- Make a solution of equal parts water and vinegar and water.
- Dip a toothbrush into this solution and scrub the filter clean. You can also use a commercial de-scaler.
- Run it under water and wipe it with a microfiber cloth. Put the filter back in place. (Buy a new filter screen once a year.)
- Clean the rest of the shower head by following the recommended steps above.
- Replace the shower head and turn it clockwise to reattach it. Run the shower at full pressure for several minutes to flush out any remaining debris.
Can you clean a showerhead with bleach?
Bleach should not be used on shower heads because it can damage chrome, nickel, brass, and other finishes. Bleach is also unsafe to use around children and can stain clothes.
How do I remove the buildup from my shower head?
Fill a bag with white vinegar and wrap it around your shower head with a rubber band, allowing it to soak in the acidic liquid for an hour. Once you remove the bag, you can turn on the shower head to quickly rinse the vinegar off.
How long should you soak your shower head in vinegar?
Leave it to soak in the vinegar for at least 30 minutes, preferably around an hour. Don’t leave brass shower heads in vinegar for longer than 30 minutes.
How do you remove limescale from a shower head?
Put the showerhead in a bucket or plastic container and cover it with white vinegar. Leave it to soak in the vinegar for at least 30 minutes, preferably around an hour.
For more cleaning tips and tricks from your favorite Boston cleaning services, check out our blog full of DIYs, cleaning guides, and more! You can also browse our variety of services and book yours today. We’re here to help you work towards a happier and healthier home all year long.