What to Know to Clean a Shower Head

Why Should I Clean My Shower Head?

The shower is somewhere everyone spends time to get their hair and body clean. Realizing that you haven’t cleaned the shower head may make you wonder exactly how clean you are actually getting when you step inside and suds up. This is especially true if you have noticed that your shower head isn’t working the way it used to in the past. Dirt, mineral deposits, and other things can get stuck in the spray holes in the shower head, which means that the water is not going to blast out the way it used to. If you are noticing decreased performance when you step in the shower, cleaning the shower head is a simple task that can change that.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Shower Head?

If you decide to forgo cleaning the shower head or you simply forgot to do so, the first thing that will be impacted is the force of the water coming out when you shower. However, you also need to realize that all the debris and mineral deposits in the shower head could come out and end up on your body, which defeats the purpose of a shower. Soap scum, mildew, bacteria, dirt, and mold can also be present in shower heads that have not been properly cleaned. Research shows that one out of three shower heads has the bacteria that can cause pulmonary diseases and some shower heads can even spread Legionnaires disease.

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Cleaning Your Shower Head:


  • 1. Method One-Remove the shower head from the mounting collar.
    • The first thing you want to do is find the swivel ball nut that keeps the shower head attached to the mounting collar. Unscrew this piece and then completely remove it. Most of the internal parts will come off easily, but you are likely going to require a wrench to take off the shower head itself.

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  • 2. Jot down the assembly process.
    • When disassembling the shower head, make a note of how things go back together, or snap a photo. This will make it easier to get things back in place after cleaning it up. A diagram or picture that shows where parts go will be a huge help later on in the process.

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  • 3. Soak the components in white vinegar.
    • Once you have disassembled the shower head, it’s time to let it soak. You can fill a bowl with vinegar and heat it up in the microwave to do this. The process of cleaning is going to take a fair few hours so make sure to schedule it for when the shower won’t be in use. Let the shower head and parts soak to remove most of the debris.

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  • 4. Scrub any extra debris off.
    • After the soaking is complete, it’s time to look over the parts for any deposits that still exist. Scrub down any of those parts and then rinse everything off. Avoid using a brush with hard bristles, especially if you have a shower head with a protective metal or chrome finish. A hard brush can result in scuffing and scratching.

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  • 5. Reassemble the shower head.
    • Use silicone grease on the threads of the shower head after reassembling it. Put it back on the shower and turn the water on to check for leaks.

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  • 6. Method Two-Remove the shower head.
    • Take the shower head off of the shower hose for starters. If it can be disassembled without trouble, you can do that as well, if desired.

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  • 7. Fill a pan with vinegar and water.
    • Take a large pan that will easily fit the shower head and fill it up with an equal mixture of vinegar and water. If it turns out that stubborn deposits are on the shower head, adding additional vinegar, later on, is an option. While you might be tempted to use bleach to clean the shower head, that isn’t the best idea. Bleach and increase production of bacteria on shower heads. It is also dangerous and can ruin your clothing.

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  • 8. Boil the liquid mixture.
    • Now, take the pot and place it on the stove. You want to bring the liquid to a boil and then add in the shower head. All parts of the shower head that have mineral deposits should be fully immersed. If the entire thing is immersed that will work just as well.

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  • 9. Keep boiling for 15 minutes.
    • In most cases, boiling the shower head for about 10 or 15 minutes will be sufficient. Some people may find that boiling longer helps but adding more vinegar and avoiding boiling more than 20 minutes is best when plastic parts are involved. If that isn’t possible, make sure to remove the shower head every 10 minutes or so to cool down.

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  • 10. Rinse and reattach the shower head.
    • After you have finished the boiling process, you can dump out the liquid mixture. Let the shower head cool down a bit and then rinse it in warm water. Once you are certain everything is clean and cool, you can reassemble the shower head and put it back on the shower. Check for leaks and you can use your shower again as soon as you like.

      That’s all you need to do to have a sparkling clean shower head that you can trust for that morning soak and scrub. You won’t need to clean the shower head again for at least a month and in some cases, you may not need to go through the process again for up to three months. It will depend on the quality of your water and how many minerals are found in it.

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