How To Clean A Shower Head And Why You Should

How to clean a shower head from HousewifeHowTosWe’ve already gone over how to remove mold and mildew from the shower curtain and stall, but did you realize that shower heads accumulate mold and mildew, too?

It’s true! In fact, a third of shower heads tested by researchers were found to contain a bacteria associated with pulmonary disease. Dirty shower heads are also associated with the spread of Legionnaires disease. As if we didn’t already have enough to clean, right?

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Fortunately, cleaning your shower head isn’t difficult. The payoff isn’t simply a healthier bathing environment, though: you’ll also get a better, stronger spray of water! Here’s how to clean yours.

How To Clean A Shower Head The Easy Way

In most cases, you can improve the shower flow by spraying the holes in your shower head with equal parts white vinegar and warm water, then scrubbing them with a brush (or even your fingertips). Run the shower for a minute to dislodge any residue you’ve loosened, and repeat as needed until the spray head is free of debris. Now, that’s good enough to clean it but not necessarily good enough to wipe out any bacterial “bio-film” that’s growing in there.

How To Clean A Shower Head With Build-Up

When a shower head is coated with build-up, you need to be more thorough. If possible, remove the shower head completely and place it in a large bowl. Combine 3 cups very hot water and 1 cup white vinegar, and pour it over the shower head. Swish the head around in the bowl to start loosening debris and scrub it with a brush. You can use a bottle brush to get inside the shower head and dislodge even more crud. Rinse well with hot water and allow it to completely dry before re-installing the shower head.

NOTE: if you can’t remove the shower head, don’t worry. Grab a plastic bag and combine 3 parts hot water with 1 part vinegar. Wrap this around the shower head so it’s immersed in the liquid, and fasten it in place with rubber bands. Allow it to sit overnight to loosen any gunk. After you remove the bag, run your shower on the hottest possible setting to clear out more debris along with the vinegar residue.

Once your shower head is clean, plan to scrub the nozzles each time you clean the shower, and soak it every couple of months to reduce bacteria build-up, too.


    • Katie B. says

      Don’t feel bad, Kelly. I didn’t know how important it was to clean the thing until my husband started chemotherapy. The doctor’s office gave me a long list of trouble-zones for immune-compromised people, and this was one of them. Before that? I never gave the shower head a single thought!

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