How to Clean a Shower Head?

Is your shower head not functioning properly and shooting out in all directions? Then its time to clean it to eliminate the scaly buildup within the fixture. Generally, showerheads look worn and dirty over time due to the accumulation of small debris or mineral deposits.

They make your shower not provide a consistent water flow and thus makes you a bit less enjoyable. Cleaning a showerhead from time to time will restore its water flow strength. It can be done simply with the tools available around your home.

Here is a guide that let you know about how to clean a shower head effectively. Have a look at a few quick and easy methods that help your showerhead to get back into its shape.

Method – 1: Basic Cleaning with a Toothbrush

It is a basic method that used widely to clean a showerhead. Have a look at its step-by-step procedure.

  • Most models have flexible rubber nozzles to send water into the stall. Over a course of time, the nozzles get clogged up with the mineral deposits in their fixture and thus worsen its performance.
  • To unclog the nozzles, take an old toothbrush and use it to scrub all over the nozzle to places you can reach.
  • It will remove the deposits (if any) but avoid scrubbing the soft rubber vigorously.
  • Don’t use strong chemical cleaning agents, as they damage the nozzles.
  • Check the instruction manual to detach the showerhead and extract the filter screen, a point that shower head attaches to water supply pipe.
  • Place this filter under the faucet and run water to scrub it gently with a toothbrush.
  • After you finished cleaning, re-assemble the filter screen and attach the showerhead back to its place.
  • Now test it to know whether the shower head had improved performance and free flow of water or not.
  • Regular clean up and removing the mineral deposits will definitely improve the water flow through the fixture.
  • In case, if you didn’t find much difference even after cleaning the showerhead, then it might be due to low/weak water pressure in your house.

Method – 2: Cleaning a Shower Head with Vinegar

If you find that gentle toothbrush scrubbing of your shower head nozzles didn’t remove all the mineral buildup, then clean it off with vinegar. The acidic nature of vinegar will effectively remove the dust and mineral deposits.

  • Take a plastic bag and fill it with white vinegar (about 1 cup).
  • Place it over the showerhead in such a way that nozzles are submerged in the liquid completely.
  • Use a binder clip or zip tie to secure the bag.
  • Leave it for overnight or about 8 hours to dissolve the deposits.
  • Finally, remove the bag and polish the showerhead by using a soft cloth.
  • Run the shower for a couple of minutes to check its flow.

Note: If you’re in a rush or performing regular cleaning of a showerhead, then soak it in vinegar for an hour (at least 20 minutes). Remove the bag and run the shower on hot to flush out those deposits.

Method – 3: Heavy-Duty Cleaning

To remove stubborn debris and mineral deposits (such as lime) on your shower head, you have to put extra effort to remove them. Here is the process that let you remove the shower head for its thorough cleaning.

  • Wrap the shower pipe with either a cloth or rag and use pliers to hold the pipe. It will prevent the pipe and shower head from damaging or scratching.
  • Loosen the nut connecting the feed pipe and shower head with a wrench. Then unscrew the showerhead by using your hands to remove it completely.
  • Check the threaded interior portion of the showerhead and flush it with water to remove any debris.
  • Carefully remove the inside filter screen of shower head with a pair of needle-nose pliers and rinse it off with water/dish soap/cleaning brush/all-purpose cleaner to remove stubborn, sticky debris.
  • Take a bowl of warm distilled white vinegar and put this showerhead in it. Make sure that the showerhead submerged in vinegar.
  • Now, let it soak for overnight.
  • Then use a straightened paper clip or a needle to open any holes in your shower head, which are still blocked by mineral deposits.
  • After a thorough cleaning, re-fix the filter screen and shower head in its place by wrapping a new plumbing tape to ensure a good seal.
  • Run the shower for a few minutes at full water pressure to clear away any remaining debris.
  • Finally, rinse the surrounding tile with a shower scrubber or shower cleaner.

Method – 4: Deep Cleaning

If the power of vinegar alone is not enough to clean the mineral deposits, then you need to choose a thorough cleaning to make your showerhead clean and free of debris.

  • Disconnect the showerhead as mentioned in the above method.
  • Rinse the showerhead and scrub it with an old toothbrush immersed in vinegar to loosen the debris and mineral deposits.
  • Take a safety pin or toothpick to poke out those deposits effectively.
  • Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl of vinegar.
  • Immerse this showerhead completely in this vinegar solution.
  • Soak it for overnight and clean it with normal water.
  • It will dissolve and remove the limescale deposits and thus releases clogged passages.
  • Then wrap a plumbing tape around the threads of the shower arm and reassemble the showerhead with a wrench.
  • Run the shower to check for its constant water flow.

How to Maintain the Shower:

Regular cleaning of your showerhead of at least once a month will allow steady water pressure and prevent bacterial growth. Here are a few cleaning tips that help you maintain a showerhead effectively.

  • Clean the showerhead surface with vinegar along with your bathroom cleaning routine, which you have done every week.
  • Using bleach for cleaning your showerhead is not advised, as the chlorine bleach is caustic and may increase the harmful bacteria.
  • A hard bristle brush should not be used on the showerhead with protected metal or chrome finish. The reason is that it may result in scuffing and scratching.
  • While cleaning the shower, it’s best to turn on the ventilation fan or open a window to have proper ventilation. This prevents you not to get any effect from the strong fumes from cleaners.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How often we shall clean a showerhead?

The showerhead has to be cleaned, removed and disinfected once in every 2 – 3 months. Regular cleaning will ensure perfect and consistent water flow that lasts longer. Follow any of the above methods to clean your showerhead effectively.

2. How to dissolve limescale from the showerhead?

Remove the showerhead and keep it in the container filled with enough white vinegar. The acids in the white vinegar will dissolve the mineral deposits. Depending on the buildup of limescale, allow it to soak for at least 30 minutes or overnight. In case, if the showerhead made with brass then avoid leaving for more than 30 minutes.

3. Shall we clean the showerhead with baking soda?

Yes, of course. We can mix 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of white vinegar in a bowl. Pour this mixture into a bag. The vinegar and baking soda mixture will create bubbles to unclog the holes in your showerhead. Secure the bag over the showerhead by using a rubber band. Immerse the head completely in this solution. Leave for 30 minutes and rinse off.

4. Is apple cider vinegar used instead of white vinegar for cleaning a showerhead?

Yes, it can be used to clean a showerhead. It possesses similar properties just like white vinegar.


The holes in the showerhead get clogged with minerals and small debris over a course of time. We hope the above-mentioned methods will help you to unclog the showerhead and provide an even water flow.
Do you still have any queries left on the showerhead? Share with us in the below comments section.