a dirty shower head coated with mineral buildup

How To Clean A Showerhead and Keep it Clean

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Ever looked up at your showerhead while you’re rinsing your hair? If so, and you haven’t cleaned it lately, you got a face full of mineral buildup and possibly something worse. All that water coursing through it carries calcium and minerals, especially if you live in a hard water area, and those can build up in the nozzles.

That means your showerhead is the perfect breeding ground for not only mold but also legionella bacteria which can cause serious respiratory problems. Ready to clean yours now? Read on.

Steps to Clean Your Showerhead

Time required: 30 minutes

If it’s been a while since you last cleaned your showerhead, or if you’ve never cleaned it at all, this method will get rid of buildup and get your showerhead working like new.

Materials and Supplies You’ll Need

  • Deep bowl
  • Baking Soda
  • White vinegar
  • An old toothbrush or soft brush
  • Dry rags
  • Tweezers (optional)
  • Wrench (optional)

Step 1. Remove the showerhead.

Unscrew your showerhead by hand. If you need to use a wrench, cover the jaws with a rag to protect your showerhead from damage. Shake excess water from your showerhead once it’s off.

To clean it without removing

If you can’t remove your showerhead or don’t want to, fasten a plastic bag filled with vinegar over it with a rubber band. After an hour, remove the bag and wipe it off. Finish by poking a safety pin into the nozzles to dislodge debris then run the shower to clear the holes.

Step 2. Remove the filter screen

Locate the filter screen at the end of the showerhead where it attaches to the pipe. Use tweezers to gently remove it, then rinse the screen in the sink to get rid of any debris or sediment. Set it aside to dry.

Step 3. Apply baking soda

Sprinkle your showerhead inside and out with baking soda then scrub it with an old toothbrush dipped in water. Let that sit for a few minutes to loosen buildp.

Step 4. Soak

Put your showerhead with the nozzles down in a sink or deep bowl and slowly pour in vinegar until the face of it is covered. Let it soak for 30 minutes while the fizzing reaction dislodges buildup and the vinegar helps disinfect everything.

Step 5. Scrub and Rinse

Use the toothbrush to scrub the showerhead again then rinse it with hot water inside and out. Repeat the previous vinegar soak if needed to remove stubborn limescale deposits, then rinse and check it again after 30 minutes.

Step 6. Reassemble

Once your showerhead is clean, let it completely air dry then reinstall the filter screen. Reattach the showerhead to the pipe.

Tips and Troubleshooting

• Clean hand-held sprayers and hoses in a bathtub using the steps above.

• Never use chlorine bleach on your showerhead—it can damage the fittings and discolor metals like brass and stainless steel.

• If your showerhead drips after you reattach it, wrap the pipe threads once or twice with Teflon plumber’s tape which will snug it in and stop the drips.

How Often Do Showerheads Need Cleaning?

In most cases, you only need to deep clean your shower head once or twice a year. In humid environments you may need to do it more often if you see visible signs of pink or orange slime around the nozzles. In hard water areas, a gray, green, or white crust calls for immediate cleaning, too.

To help keep your showerhead clean, spritz it after bathing with my homemade daily shower cleaner that stops mold, mildew, and bacteria.

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  1. Jenny Williams says:

    Hi I just discovered my shower head was so filled with mold yuk! I was ready to jump in shower and I had look up and there it was awful creature MOLD. I was wondering why my skin felt so itchy and my face felt like fire.

  2. Great tips! The Shower head came up a treat! Stupidly been using standard “bathroom cleaner” previously and could never get mould off. Goes to show – the old ways are the best ways – hooray for vinegar! Just a pity it makes my bathroom stink while you are soaking.

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