How to clean a shower head

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In this article we tell you everything you need to know about cleaning your shower head. Why do you need to clean your shower head? How do you clean your shower head? How often should you clean your shower head? All of these questions will be answered. We also provide some tips on how to clean effectively and efficiently.   

How to clean a shower head

Why do you need to clean your shower head?

There are two main reasons you need to clean your shower head regularly. The first reason is that mold will form on your shower head if you do not clean it and the second is that limescale will build up on your shower head. 

Mold growth on shower heads. The shower is a damp confined space, which is the perfect place for mold to grow. Your shower head is particularly vulnerable to mold growth if it drips between uses or if you do not have good ventilation in your bathroom. Visible mold may not show up on the shower head as quickly as it does on the grout of shower walls, but give it some time and it will appear. Mold spores can be hazardous to your health so it is important to clean your shower head regularly. 

Limescale buildup on shower heads. Limescale is a mineral deposit that is made up of primarily calcium carbonate. Limescale builds up in places where hot water is found such as showers, sinks, and tea kettles. Limescale deposits are left behind when water containing trace amounts of minerals evaporate. Limescale deposits appear as chalky white stains that are most often found near the source of the water. Irritated skin and dull hair are common side effects of long term exposure to limescale. You might be more likely to experience these if there is sustained limescale buildup in your shower head.  

How to clean a shower head

How do you clean your shower head?

Method 1: The plastic bag method for cleaning shower heads

Here are the materials you will need to clean your shower using the plastic bag method.

  • a cleaning solution such as distilled vinegar 
  • a gallon bag
  • a rubber band, hair elastic, or strong zip tie

The easiest way to clean your shower head is to use what I call the plastic bag method. To use this method first fill a gallon sized bag about a third of the way with a cleaning solution. Then submerge the shower head in the cleaning solution and tie off the end of the bag around the shower head with a rubber band. The shower head should be fully submerged in the cleaning solution. Leave the shower head like this for at least 4 hours then remove the plastic bag and drain it. If there are loose deposits hangin off of the surface of your shower head, grab a damp paper towel and wipe them off. 

I recommend using distilled vinegar as your cleaning solution. If you want to avoid using vinegar I list some vinegar alternatives below.  

How to clean a shower head

Method 2: Using a brush on your shower head

Here are the materials you will need to clean your shower head using a brush.

  • One brush with stiff bristles
  • A spray bottle
  • A cleaning solution such as distilled vinegar

You can also use a dense brush to clean your shower head. This method is more labor intensive than the plastic bag method and might take a few rounds of scrubbing, but it will get the job done. You should spray your shower head with your cleaning solution and coat it liberally with the solution. Let the solution sit for 3-5 minutes then scrub the solution off with a stiff bristled brush. You might need to repeat this process multiple times to get off densely packed limescale. 

I do not recommend using a flat surfaced cleaning utensil like a sponge or a paper towel to clean your shower head. Your shower head is full of small grooves where water collects and mold thrives. You need a cleaning utensil with bristles to be able to get into these grooves. 

How to clean a shower head

How do you clean a shower head without vinegar?

Some people do not like to use vinegar when they clean because of the smell. If you do not want to use vinegar as your cleaning solution, you could also use a store bought cleaning solution such as CLR.  

How often should you clean your shower head?

In general, we recommend cleaning your shower head at least once a month. You should clean your shower head more often if you see mold or limescale buildup appearing on your shower head within a month’s time. You do not need to clean your shower head every single time you clean the walls of your shower, but you should clean it on a regular schedule.

Other tips for cleaning your shower head

If you are using the plastic bag method for cleaning your shower head, you should give the plastic bag a squeeze every now and then. This will cause some disturbance in the cleaning liquid and knock caked on buildup off of the shower head. 

Other bathroom cleaning tips

Check out some of our other articles for more tips on how to clean your bathroom more efficiently.


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