How To Clean A Shower Head: Why Is It So Important?

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Are you finding that your shower head isn’t performing as well as it used to?

This might be because it has become blocked and corroded.

If that’s your situation, then you are in luck!

We think we have a great solution to help you clear out your blocked shower head. With our tips, you’ll be under a gorgeously hot shower in no time!

Table of Contents

Why Is A Clean Shower Head So Important? 

A clean shower head is vital for the health and wellbeing of your body when you shower.

Why’s that?

When your shower head clogs up and becomes less effective, this is due to the mineral deposits that are building up in your shower head.

These minerals come from your hard water and are not the only thing lurking in your shower head.

It is so important to remove this build-up, not just for a better shower but for a cleaner one too. Vinegar and baking soda are the perfect fusion as a natural cleaner; they will help remove this build-up. 

Of course, these mineral build-ups aren’t the only problem you’ll face when your shower starts to clock up.

You may not have heard of the term Biofilms before, but they are a collection of bacteria that can grow inside your shower head.

See, a research group at CIRES found that the Biofilms that can be found growing inside a shower head contain Mycobacterium, a bacterium that causes lung disease.

As you can imagine…

… this makes cleaning your shower head more critical than ever. 

Planning Your Cleaning! 

Right, let’s get that shower head cleaned!

To start with, you are going to need to collect your cleaning items together.

You are going to need a descaler and a pot or bowl that is deep enough to submerge your shower head. 

If you are able, remove the shower head from the shower hose or fixed arm bracket.

A simple twist-off motion can remove most shower heads, but if your shower head doesn’t come off, then there is another way to clean it without removing it. 

Cleaning Your Shower Head While in Situ

Regardless of what type of shower head you have, even if it is a super expensive, high-tech model, you will see signs of mildew and clogged nozzles over time.

If your shower head is fixed in situ and there is no way to remove it, you can still clean your shower head.

All you are going to need are a rubber band, sandwich bag, and some vinegar.

Then follow these steps:

  • Put approx one cup of vinegar into your sandwich bag (although any plastic bag without holes will do)
  • Place your shower head into the bag of vinegar, making sure that you have enough in there to completely cover the head and nozzles (if not, add some more vinegar in). 
  • Now tie the bag up and seal the vinegar inside the bag with the shower head. 

It would be best if you left the shower head to soak for at least an hour, but the longer it soaks for, the better it will work.

The vinegar works by breaking down limescale and debris build-up, the longer you leave it, the more debris it will break down.

After soaking…

… be sure to give it a thorough rinse with clean water to remove any of the broken-off debris. Then give it a polish. 

Cleaning Your Shower Head Independently

If you can get your shower head off by removing it from the hose pipe or the wall bracket, then you will be able to clean your shower head more deeply.

In case you’re wondering…

That will allow you to tackle the debris from both sides of the blockage, not just from the outside of the shower head. 

If you are struggling to disconnect your shower head, then try this:

  • Most shower heads have a simple twist on/off mechanism, but if this is not the case, then you might have a nut that is located near the arm that needs unscrewing. If you can’t get your head off, then check your user manual for further guidance. 
  • Remember to use the appropriate tools for removing your shower head and to protect the outer layer of color. 
  • To prevent any damage, use a rag or a cloth to act as a buffer when you use any hand tools on your shower. Don’t forget to work counter-clockwise too! 
  • If your shower head is made from plastic, then ditch the hand tools and unscrew it by hand to prevent damage. 

Cleaning process

OK, so now you need to grab the bowl or pot that we suggested earlier on.

Fill it with a mix of vinegar and water (we recommend 50/50). Remove your shower head and completely submerge it into the mixture. 

If your shower head is particularly dirty, then you could use a few tablespoons of baking soda too.

You might be wondering what happens with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.

This is quite interesting!

When baking soda and vinegar are mixed, the result is fizzy, and the abrasive formula will break down any blockages while brightening your shower head.

The chemicals formed from this process are carbonic acid and sodium acetate, which, when mixed, release carbon dioxide, which helps remove any soap build-up or calcium build-up from your shower head. 


Your build-up can be massive and need an overnight soak.

This is the most effective way to break down everything that is lurking in your shower head, so we recommend leaving it as long as possible.

Once this has happened, you should be able to rinse out any leftover build-up, paying close attention to your shower head’s actual arm. 

You only need to flush out this part of the shower head if you have left it to soak overnight.

Hopefully, this process will have broken down all the build-ups, so now it is time to get it out.

Hold it under the faucet on full power for as long as you need before you see the water running clear.

If you can still see the build-up, then you might want to make a paste mixture of baking soda and vinegar and apply it using a toothbrush. 

If you can still see the build-up, then you could always try and prise it off your shower head with a toothpick.

It will be a lot softer and easier to remove now, so it shouldn’t take much to pick away at any clogs or into the nozzles.

Once this is complete, you should have a gorgeously clean shower head! 

Reattaching the Shower Head

  • If you can, use some Teflon tape (also known as plumbers’ tape) to seal the threads around your shower head. This will prevent leakages 
  • When applying Teflon tape, always unroll it to the right This creates a maximum bond between the head and the threads 
  • If you need to, tighten the shower head using a wrench (remembering to use a cloth or rag to soften your wrench when tightening) 

No one enjoys deep cleaning their bathrooms, but we recommend that if you want to keep your bathroom hygienic and clear from bacteria, clean your shower head at least once a month.

No doubt…

Your manufacturer will suggest leaving the harsh chemicals behind when it comes to cleaning your bathroom products, and there is a good reason for this which you can reach in this blog post.

Some of the cleaners can scratch and damage the surface of the product, therefore tainting the coating and making it less structurally sound.

Many people use bleach in their bathrooms to clean, mainly because it is known to kill off germs fast.

But there is a natural method that will work just as well. 

Using Vinegar as A Cleaner

Cleaning with vinegar is something we have been doing for decades, simply because it is so cheap, effective, and easy to find! 

While vinegar has been around for hundreds of years, it is now lab-made using ethanol, a key ingredient found in most cleaners.

White vinegar is great for the environment, it is still a really effective cleaner, which can break down some of the toughest blockages. 

Amongst the most popular reasons people turn to vinegar for cleaning is because they know it is safe.

This is even more important when using it in a house of children or pets. The reason it is safe AND effective is down to the acidic pH level. 

A pH test is usually performed to see how corrosive and effective acid is.

You can learn more about this here. On this website, it says that on a scale of 1-14 (with water being 7), vinegar and other acids are over 7.

If you want to decrease the acidity of your vinegar, simply mix it with water.

The reason vinegar is such an effective cleaner is that not only does it break down build-up, but it also kills off lots of bacteria strains.

This makes it the ideal cleaning agent. If you are concerned about how strong the vinegar might be on your household products, then you can at all times use a pH testing kit to determine how acidic it is and then lower that pH with water. 

In Summary

Whether you have managed to clean your shower head effectively or not, you might want to think about replacing it instead.

Signs of wear and tear or rust are often obvious signs that you need a replacement.

If the build-up of limescale or debris is too great, then you might want to check your water quality as well by visiting the Water Quality Association Website.

They will be able to tell you what kinds of deposits you’ll find in your water.

If you want to be informed more about your water quality, then you can always perform a test.

These kits can be found at hardware stores and can cost only a few dollars.

Once you know what sort of water you have, you will be able to tell what is blocking up your shower head and how to deal with it. For full results, you might want to consider a water treatment solution such as a softener to a filter.

This is the best way to ensure the longevity of your bathroom products. 

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