how to clean a shower head

How To Clean A Shower Head To Ensure It’s Hygienic And Functional

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Getting a squeaky clean and fully functional shower head is super easy. With our showerhead cleaning tips and step-by-step instructions, you can rest assured that every part of your bathroom is clean and germ-free.

1. Rub the Flexible Rubber Nozzles

Many shower heads come with flexible rubber nozzles. If this is the case with yours, massage each nozzle to dislodge mineral deposits clogging the tiny holes. In addition, you can use a toothbrush to gently scrub the nozzles to eliminate mineral buildup. However, this method is applicable if the slime buildup is not a lot, especially in between thorough cleaning sessions.

2. Soak the Shower Head In Vinegar

Soaking the shower head in white vinegar is one of the popular methods to keep it clean. Vinegar is an acidic and natural cleaner that dissolves mineral deposits and hard water stains. In addition, it is non-toxic and inexpensive.

There are two ways to go about the soaking method. First, when the shower head is still attached to the shower and when the head is removed, let us look at each method below.

i). Without Removing the Shower Head

Removing mineral buildup on the surface of the shower head without disconnecting it from the pipe. To do this, you will need white vinegar, a rubber band and a plastic bag.

  1. Pour white vinegar in a plastic bag while ensuring not to fill it completely.
  2. Place the plastic bag over the shower head until it is completely immersed in vinegar. You can adjust the vinegar level if need be.
  3. Use a rubber band, string or tape to fasten and secure the bag around the shower arm.
  4. Let the shower head soak for a few hours or overnight. However, note that nickel-coated, gold or brass shower heads should be removed after 30 minutes to avoid damaging the finish.
  5. Remove the bag from the shower head and pour the vinegar on the shower drain.
  6. Run hot water to flush out mineral deposits and vinegar left in the shower head.
  7. If buildup remains, use an old toothbrush to clean the tiny holes, then turn on hot water to flush out left residue. Repeat this process until you are satisfied with the results.
  8. Use a soft cloth to polish the shower head for a new, finished look.

ii). Removing the Shower Head

Removing the shower head allows you to do a more deep and thorough cleaning.

  1. Use a wrench to detach the shower head from the shower arm, not pliers. Be gentle as you do this to avoid damaging the fixture's finish.
  2. Let the shower head soak in white vinegar for a few hours or overnight.
  3. Reattach the shower head to the arm to remove any deposits left and rinse out the vinegar.

3. Remove and Scrub the Shower Head

Scrubbing is a vital step in every bathroom cleaning session. This method involves removing the shower head to clean out the deposits and slime buildup. In addition, you can use this cleaning method to eliminate hard water stains on the surface of the shower head.

You will need an old toothbrush, small scrubber, white vinegar, or all-purpose bathroom cleaner.


  1. Detach the shower head using a wrench. Do not use pliers as they could damage the finish. If you are cleaning a handheld shower head, twist it off at the connection to the flexible hose to remove it.
  2. Hold the shower head upside down under a faucet to rinse out loosened buildup and debris. If you can still spot some debris in the flexible rubber nozzles, use your fingers to massage them out or use a toothbrush to scrub gently. In addition, use the all-purpose bathroom cleaner to dissolve the deposits or vinegar if you want to stay clear of chemical agents.
  3. If the tiny holes are still blocked, use a needle, safety pin or toothpick to poke the deposits out.
  4. Dismantle the shower head by twisting the two parts. You will find this connection where the water supply pipe connects to the shower head.
  5. Remove the screen filter at the back section of the shower head and run it underwater for a few minutes while gently scrubbing with a brush. This will help flush out and brush out any buildup and deposits.
  6. Soak the parts in vinegar for several hours or overnight to dissolve any limescale deposits remaining. You can also add a few tablespoons of baking soda to the vinegar for extra cleaning power.
  7. Rinse, then reassemble your shower head. Next, wrap plumbing tape around the shower arm's threads to ensure the head has a good seal. Finally, use a wrench to reattach the shower. In addition, you can use a soft cloth or towel to avoid scratching the shower head.

Shower Head Cleaning Tips

how to clean a shower head

Maintaining a clean shower head is way easier than disassembling, scrubbing and soaking it. Below are a few tips to ensure that your bathroom is always clean, including the shower head.

  1. Keep a DIY diluted vinegar shower cleaner in a spray bottle and use it every day after your shower. This will help to keep the hard water buildup from accumulating.
  2. Replace a drippy shower head as it is susceptible to mineral buildup as the water leaks out. The same applies if you have an old and cracked shower head.
  3. If you have hard water in your home, installing a water softener will help trap minerals like calcium, rust and lime. In turn, no deposits will be left on your shower head.
  4. According to research, do not use bleach for this cleaning as chlorine increases harmful bacteria production.
  5. Avoid using a hard bristled brush if your shower head has a protective metal finish or chrome. This will prevent scratching and scuffing.
  6. Ensure proper ventilation when working with a bathroom cleaner, producing fumes. This could be a commercial cleaning product or vinegar, as people react differently to such fumes.


Keeping your shower head clean is essential in ensuring that the water pressure is optimal and the water coming out is not contaminated with germs and bacteria. In addition, you can use easy-to-find household products like vinegar and baking soda to dissolve and dislodge limescale and deposits in your shower head. Finally, with the easy tips we've shared above, keeping this part of your bathroom clean will be a breeze.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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