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How to Clean a Shower Head: With & Without Vinegar

Stop living with a drizzling shower and learn how to clean a shower head.

Nothing is worse than stepping into your shower and only getting a drizzle of water instead of a steady stream. It’s a terrible way to start the morning. Thankfully, you can easily clean your shower head using simple household products such as baking soda and vinegar.

Read on and we’ll discuss how to clean a shower head so you can enjoy a hot shower that steams up your bathroom glass every morning.

Key Takeaways

  • Remove and soak shower head in vinegar and baking soda overnight to clean it.
  • Scrub nozzle with all-purpose bathroom cleaner and brush to remove deposits.
  • For a vinegar-free cleaning option, use baking soda paste, Coca-Cola, or Castile Liquid Soap.
  • Keep shower head clean by using daily cleaner spray and fixing drips.

Why Do Shower Heads Get Clogged?


Shower heads get clogged as a result of water deposits being left in the tiny holes of your shower head. Hard water has quite a few minerals in it that will lead to minerals such as calcium being left inside the holes. These deposits gradually build up and clog your shower which will reduce the spray force of your shower.

Eventually you will need to clean your shower head to remove the scaly buildup and restore the strength of the flow.

How to Clean a Shower Head With Vinegar and Baking Soda

The best way to clean a shower head is with baking soda and vinegar. You can use this method for deep cleaning a shower head every month. It works for both stationary heads on a shower arm and handheld shower heads.

If you prefer, you can substitute the white vinegar with apple cider vinegar. It will also remove the hard water buildup and remove any clogs.

Cleaning your shower head with vinegar and baking soda is great to do once a month as part of a deep bathroom cleaning routine.

  • Time: Overnight
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

1. Remove Shower Head

Remove your shower head by twisting it clockwise until it comes off. You may need to unscrew the nut at the shower arm using a wrench. Place a rag between the wrench and the nut to prevent scratching your fixtures.

2. Rinse Shower Head

Hold your shower head upside down underneath the bathroom faucet. Run water through the faucet so that any loosened debris inside the head is flushed out. Use a toothbrush and vinegar to scrub your shower head and loosen any debris still inside of it.

3. Clean Shower Head

Use a toothpick or safety pin to carefully remove any other mineral deposits from the nozzle.

4. Soak the Shower Head

Fill a container with vinegar and add a few tablespoons of baking soda to the vinegar. Then, place your shower head into the vinegar making sure that it’s completely immersed. Allow the shower head to soak overnight.

5. Rinse and Reassemble

In the morning, rinse your shower head thoroughly to make sure that all of the residue and mineral deposits have been removed. Then reassemble your shower head.

You will need to wrap new plumbing tape around the threads to make sure you have a good seal. Then reattach the shower head using the wrench. Remember to use a soft rag between the wrench and your fixture to prevent any scratches.

How to Clean a Shower Head Without Removing It

If your shower head isn’t very clogged, you can use this method to clean the shower head without needing to remove it.

  • Time: 1 ½ hour
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

  • Rubber hand
  • Plastic bag
  • Brush with nylon bristles or a toothbrush
  • All-purpose bathroom cleaner
  • White vinegar
  • Microfiber cloth

1. Scrub Nozzle

Apply the all-purpose bathroom cleaner onto the nozzle of your shower head. Use the brush or toothbrush to scrub at the shower head to remove any mineral deposits. Be careful not to scrub too hard as you may damage any rubber on your shower head.

This should unclog your shower head nozzle. Make sure by turning on the shower to test the spray. If you still need to decalcify your shower head, continue to the following steps.

2. Install Rubber Band

Take the rubber band and put it on your shower head. Loop it once or twice so it’s tight on the water pipe without much give. You will use this rubber band to keep a plastic bag full of vinegar over the shower head.

3. Place Bag Over Shower Head

Fill the plastic bag with white vinegar before placing it over the shower head. Then slip the top edge of the bag underneath the rubber band so that the bag is firmly held in place.

Leave the bag in place for 1 hour.

4. Rinse the Shower Head

Once the hour is over, rinse the shower head by turning on the water to flush it. Use a dry microfiber cloth to polish it.

How to Clean Shower Head Without Vinegar

If you’d like to avoid the nasty smell of vinegar, you can use a shower head cleaner such as Nuvera Shower Head Cleaner to clean your shower head. Simply follow the instructions on the bottle.

Another option is to use a DIY solution such as baking soda, Coca-Cola, or Castile Liquid Soap.

Baking Soda

One DIY cleaning solution is to make a baking soda paste by adding a small amount of water to ½ cup of baking soda. Cover the shower head with the paste and then wait 25-30 minutes. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the paste off of your shower head.

Turn on your shower to remove any paste and residue which may still be in the nozzle.

Coca Cola or Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

Pour a can of Coca-Cola into a plastic bag or add 1/8th cup of Castile liquid soap to the plastic bag. Place the bag over the head of your shower nozzle and use a rubber band to hold it in place. After your shower head has been soaking for 30 minutes, remove the plastic bag.

Then use a microfiber cloth to wipe down and clean the shower head. Turn on the shower to make sure that any leftover residue has been removed.

Tips For Keeping a Shower Head Clean

The best way to keep your shower head working well is to keep it clean. Here are some hacks to help you keep your shower head clean without constantly needing to scrub it.

  • Keep a bottle of shower head cleaner such as Clorox Tilex Daily Shower Cleaner Spray in the bathroom. Spray the cleaner over each showerhead to prevent any mineral buildup from occurring.
  • Fix drips. A dripping shower head will develop hard water deposits where the water drips.
  • Replace cracked shower heads that won’t stop dripping.
  • Install a water softener where your water supply enters the home. This will trap the minerals preventing them from leaving deposits in the shower head and other fixtures.
  • Do not clean your shower head with bleach, as it may damage the head and cause peeling.


How Long Should You Soak Your Shower Head In Vinegar?

If your shower head is extremely clogged, it may take over a day for the deposits to dissolve in vinegar. Usually, you can allow the shower head to soak for several hours or overnight and then test the spray.

How Do You Clean a Moldy Shower Head?

One way to clean a moldy shower head is to use a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and water. You can place the solution in a container, remove your shower head, and allow your shower head to soak overnight. The mold will be removed.

Another option is to place the solution in a plastic bag and put the plastic bag over your shower head. Use rubber bands to hold the bag in place and let it soak overnight. Again, your shower head will be mold-free in the morning.

Should I Install a Water Softener?

Yes, installing a water softener in your house will help prevent hard water minerals from leaving deposits in your shower head causing it to clog.

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About the Author

Sara Dennis

Sara Dennis is a coffee-loving freelance writer, homeschool blogger, and mom of six kids. In her free time, Sara loves reading books and researching more efficient and effective ways to keep a clean house, homeschool her children, and blog better while making a home for her large family.