Home Plumbing: How To Clean A Shower Head

If the water flow from your shower head is sporatic, your shower head probably needs cleaning.

Shower heads can become clogged by mineral deposits left by hard water. When this happens, the shower head often spits water out in different directions instead of spraying. If the shower head is severely clogged, you might only get a dribble of water. If this is the case with your shower head, it might be time to clean it.

To begin cleaning your shower head, you first must remove the head. Before you start using the pliers to loosen the head, wrap the chrome parts in a towel or something of that nature. Wrapping the parts in a towel will keep the pliers from scratching the chrome.

In order to clean the shower head once it has been removed, heat vinegar (do not boil) and pour it into a container. Place the shower head in the vinegar and let it soak for 10 to 12 hours. Check the holes on the shower head. If you see that some of the holes are still clogged, use a very thin wire and poke each hole before rinsing. Once you have cleared all of the holes, rinse the shower head vigorously with hot water. For those stubborn mineral deposits, try scrubbing the shower head with a small brush such as a toothbrush.

Gold or brass finished shower heads are coated to protect them from oxidation. If you use anything abrasive, you can ruin the finish on your fixture. To clean these shower heads, aim the shower arm down and rotate the head so the holes face the ceiling. Spray a commercial cleaner or vinegar on the shower head. You will need to let this stand for 15 minutes in order to remove the mineral deposits. Repeat this step if the shower head did not come completely clean. Do not let your fixture soak for more than 30 minutes at a time. If you soak the shower head any longer, the finish on your fixture could be damaged.

If you do not want to take your shower head apart to clean it, you can pour two to three inches of vinegar into a small sandwich bag. You then place the bag over the shower head, tape it in place, and let it soak overnight. Be sure and check the holes to make sure that all are clear from mineral deposits.

There are commercial cleaning products on the market that are also very effective at cleaning the mineral deposits from your shower head. However, these can be quite costly. Vinegar is very cost effective and gets the job done. White vinegar is probably your best choice, but any vinegar will work just as well.

There is one last thing to look for when cleaning your shower head. Look at the parts of the shower head after you have taken them apart. If you notice that the parts are worn looking, it might be time to replace them.

As you can see, cleaning a shower head is not difficult. It does not require expensive equipment or a deep knowledge of plumbing. It can be accomplished while you are sleeping. When you wake up, you have a clean shower head and great water flow for your morning shower.

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