Standing under the uninterrupted stream of water in a shower is more than just a cleaning ritual. It is often a source of relaxation and even contemplation. Crusty showerheads and an interrupted flow of water are two things that can completely kill that experience.

This is what makes shower head maintenance such an important and integral part of good home maintenance. And it is definitely something that you as a homeowner can do yourself, without having to hire a professional plumber.

We’re going to take you two different approaches to cleaning a showerhead. But let’s begin by understanding why the flow of water from your shower head may be affected, and what those crusty stains mean.

Why shower heads need cleaning

shower head maintenance tips

The main reason for the staining and the reduction in water pressure from your shower head being reduced is because of mineral deposits like limescale, caused by limestone as well as other minerals such as calcium and magnesium which are present in the tap water. 

This is especially prominent if you live in an area that has hard water. And that is why experts advise that a shower head has to be cleaned of these deposits at least once a month.

Read more: What shower head filter do

How to clean a shower head

Basic cleaning

This is the process to clean a showerhead without removing the head from the shower.

What you’ll need

  1. Distilled white vinegar
  2. A large plastic bag
  3. Zip tie, rubber band or thread
  4. Cleaning cloth

The process

  1. Fill the plastic bag partially with distilled white vinegar. Be careful not to fill it up completely because you do not want the vinegar to overflow when the shower head soaks in it.
  2. Dip the shower head in the bag and adjust the vinegar level until the shower head is completely submerged in it.
  3. Hold the head in place with a zip tie, thread or rubber band. Secure the bag in a way that does not allow the shower head to slip out once you let go.
  4. Let the shower head soak for several hours, even overnight if necessary. The dirtier the fixture is, the longer you ought to let it soak. However, if it is gold, nickel or brass-coated, remove it in 30 minutes to avoid damaging the coating.
  5. Once the head has soaked for long enough, remove the bag and drain out the vinegar.
  6. Then, let hot water flow through the head to remove the mineral deposits. If you see that the water flowing is still not satisfactory, scrub the area with the holes using an old toothbrush to remove stubborn deposits.

Some models feature flexible rubber nozzles. The mineral build-up in these nozzles can be dislodged by simply massaging the nozzles or by brushing them gently using a toothbrush.

  1. Turn on the water once again to make sure these last traces of residue are also gone. Then, polish the shower head with a soft cloth to finish the cleaning.

Deep cleaning

Some mineral deposits, especially limescale, are more difficult to clean. Sometimes, you can get these deposits to budge by adding a few spoons of baking soda to the vinegar before soaking the shower head in it. However, if even that does not work, what you need is heavy-duty cleaning that involves detaching the head from the shower.

What you’ll need 

  1. Distilled white vinegar
  2. Cleaning cloth
  3. A pin
  4. Pliers
  5. Needle nose pliers
  6. Wrench 
  7. A bowl
  8. Dish soap
  9. Brush

The process

showerhead maintenance
  1. Wrap the shower pipe with the cleaning clth or rag and hold it in place with the pliers. This is to make sure you do not damage the pipe or the shower head while you’re detaching the head.
  2. Loosen the nut connecting the shower pipe to the head using the wrench. Once it is lose, you can twist the shower head and remove it with your hands.
  3. Scrub and remove anyd ebris present in the threaded area of the shower head. Then, wash it clean under the tap.
  4. Detach the filter screen from the shower head using needle nose pliers. Clean it under running water. If necessary, use regular dish soap and scrub it gently with a brush to remove deposits.
  5. Soak the showerhead in a bowl of white vinegar overnight. Then, dislodge stubborn mineral deposits from the holes using a pin.
  6. Wash the head thoroughly under running water. Then, reattach the filter screen before screwing on the shower head to the shower pipe. Mount it back on the shower arm
  7. Turn on the shower at full pressure to fush away any remaining debris.

Pro tip

Avoid using strong chemicals or bathroom cleaning agents cleaning the shower head. These chemicals could cause permanent damage to the head.

Two approaches to shower head maintenance was last modified: October 14th, 2022 by Narayan Shrouthy
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Cleaning the showers should be something common. Sometimes you can even feel the drops cut when the showerhead throws up bits of rust…