How to Clean a Shower Head

Updated February 29, 2016
shower head
Remove the shower head every few months and soak it overnight in a bowl of vinegar to dissolve any sediment buildup. (Photo by Katelin Kinney)

Who doesn’t like a hot steamy shower? Make sure the water is coming at you full force by cleaning the shower head every so often. Here’s how.

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Think your bathroom's clean?

When it comes to house cleaning, the shower head is an often-neglected piece of bathroom hardware that needs a little TLC every once and awhile.

Signs you need to clean your shower head

Have you noticed that the spray is a bit uneven? Most likely it’s due to mineral buildup clogging the tiny holes in the shower head.

“There’s water that stays in it, and on the inside you get a buildup of hard water and mildew,” says Abe Gal, co-owner of highly rated Superior Home Cleaning in Orlando, Florida. “The water pressure comes out lower.”

You can fix the problem by knowing how to clean a shower head.

Cleaning the shower head

Gal recommends disconnecting the shower head and soaking it in a bowl of white distilled vinegar overnight. Depending on your municipality’s water supply, this should be done every one to three months — the harder the water, the more often the shower head should be cleaned.

Be careful not to put too much pressure on the shower arm when you remove the head or you could break it. Because the arm typically runs behind the wall, that repair would like require the services of a plumber.

If there are still stubborn deposits that resist dissolving in the vinegar, use an old toothbrush to give the shower head a scrub before reattaching it.

Another option is to use a toothpick to gently remove any remaining debris. If necessary, replace the Teflon tape on the shower arm before reattaching the head to ensure a tight seal.

If all else fails, consider replacing the shower head with a new one.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally published on Dec. 10, 2014.

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