How to Clean a Showerhead

Over time, hard water can cause build-up on your showerhead. Here is everything you need to know about how to clean a showerhead to remove calcium and other mineral deposits.

clean black showerhead with water running from it

A dirty, clogged showerhead can significantly reduce water pressure to a weak dribble. Regularly wiping down your showerhead can prevent frustrating clogs.

If a simple wipe-down doesn’t suffice, you can clean your showerhead and make it like new. Follow along for a step-by-step cleaning guide and answers to frequently asked questions. 

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Step-By-Step How to Clean a Showerhead

Deep cleaning your showerhead once a month helps to remove clogs and harmful bacteria. If you have hard water, you may need to do this more often. Here are the steps and materials needed to deep clean your showerhead.

What You Will Need:

  • White vinegar
  • A gallon-size plastic bag
  • Rubber bands
  • An old toothbrush or a small cleaning brush
  • A cloth or sponge
  • Wrench

Step 1: Remove the Showerhead

how to clean a showerhead removing from shower arm

Use a wrench to remove your showerhead from the shower arm. If your showerhead is not detachable, you can still deep clean it attached to the arm; skip to step 3 for non-detachable showerheads.

Step 2: Look Inside

Remove any loose debris with a toothbrush or small cleaning brush. 

Step 3: Soak the Showerhead

Fill a gallon bag with white vinegar, using rubber bands to keep it in place. Allow the showerhead to soak in the vinegar for at least 30 minutes. For heavily soiled showerheads, you can soak for up to 24 hours.

Step 4: Scrub

cleaning showerhead nozzles with a toothpick

Use a toothbrush or other small cleaning brush to scrub mineral deposits away. If there is a flow restrictor on the inside of the showerhead, you can lift it out with tweezers and scrub gently in the areas between. 

For clogs in the showerhead flow, use a toothpick to remove the clog and open the water flow.

Step 5: Rinse Clean

running water through showerhead

Rinse out the showerhead to get rid of any leftover vinegar or deposits. If the showerhead is attached, run the shower running until the water stops sputtering.

Step 6: Reattach the Showerhead

Reattach the showerhead to the arm using a wrench and check for leaks. If you notice leaks, replace the thread tape. 

Step 7: Final Step:

Run the shower for a few minutes, shut it off, and then wipe with a cloth or sponge to prevent water spots. 

Economical Cleaning Options

Cleaning your showerhead doesn’t require fancy tools or chemicals. If you are looking for some trusted cleaners and tools, here are a few tested products:  

Preventative Care

maintaining a clean showerhead

Now that your showerhead is clean, here’s how to keep it clean with simple preventative care.

  • Once a week, spray the showerhead with a store-bought cleaning product, like the CLR Brilliant Foaming Action Cleaner, or a mix of equal parts water and white vinegar.
  • Use a toothbrush to scrub the nozzles
  • Run the shower for a few minutes to remove debris. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Do You Know if Your Showerhead Needs to Be Cleaned?

There are several ways to know if your showerhead needs a deep clean, including: 

  • If you can see mineral build-up or hard water build-up around the edges of the water nozzle’s holes
  • If the showerhead is sputtering or water isn’t coming out of the holes
  • If you see green or brown discoloration on or near the showerhead.

Should I take my showerhead off to clean it? 

If you can remove your showerhead from the nozzle, you should consider periodically deep-cleaning it. It will improve the water flow and pressure and remove any gross stuff trapped there, such as mold, hard water deposits, or mildew. 

What Is the Best Thing to Clean a Showerhead With?

A gentle acidic substance like white vinegar or lemon juice is often preferred for cleaning showerheads. However, you can use any bathroom cleaner meant to remove mineral deposits. You shouldn’t use heavy, harsh cleaners, which may damage the showerhead. 

How Often Should I Clean My Showerhead?

If you have hard water, you should clean your showerhead once a month. You can wipe down the outside of the showerhead after every shower to prevent buildup.    

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