How to Clean a Shower Head

Let’s face it: we’re all guilty of not thoroughly cleaning our bathroom. From those hard-to-reach places like behind the toilet to those not seen areas like the ceiling fan, we neglect the nooks and crannies of our bathroom way too much. Imagine all the dust, bacteria, and mold that accumulates in such an often-used, often humid room. One of the more often neglected parts of our bathrooms is frequently out of sight and out of mind, much like the ceiling fan. That part would be the shower head. It’s up high; it’s spouting out water, so it can’t get gross, can it? Wrong! Leave your showerhead uncleaned long enough, and you will find yourself with a mildew-infested, sometimes rusty (if you’re super neglectful) spout. That’s just gross. Imagine all the mildew getting into your hair every time you take a shower. Have I talked you into cleaning your shower head yet? I hope so because in this article, we will go over all the methods and how to clean out your showerhead.

Why You Should Clean Your Shower Head:

If you still aren’t convinced about taking the time to clean your shower head, then maybe a few facts will help motivate you. First, the outer part of the spout isn’t the only area with mould or mildew. If you see green, white, or black gunk on your shower head, then the chances are that there is gunk on the inside of it as well. Think about it. That water is leaving the pipe and landing on you. If the gross factor isn’t enough for you, consider your health. A 2009 study of about 50 shower heads in 9 different states showed that about 30% of them had a significant amount of the dangerous pathogen called Mycobacterium avium. Even for the healthy, this pathogen can cause illness, especially if your shower head hasn’t been cleaned in a long time, but it could be much more dangerous for those with poor immune systems or diseases. Symptoms that this nasty bug influences you include fatigue, dry cough, shortness of breath and weakness. If you are pregnant or already ill, this can exacerbate your problem. So if not for general hygiene, do it for your health!

Buy a showerhead that cleans itself; read our guide:

Cleaning a Shower Head: Know your starting point.

Before you begin cleaning your shower head, you first need to consider what type of cleaning you need to do. For example, If you recently cleaned the inside of your shower head, you might only need to clean the outside and then you will have their spout looking good as new. Others might be dealing with a bit more of a problem; rust or even a clogged shower head. Yuck! If your water pressure seems off, but you know you don’t have a leak in the piping, then it’s a good indicator that you’re going to want to know how to unclog the shower head. To do this, you’re going to understand how to clean the shower head holes, which might be blocked with minerals from the water. Don’t worry; whatever your problem is, we will solve it in this article.

Types of Build Up:


Mildew is a fungus that is just one step away from mold and can cause an array of health issues like breathing problems or allergies. It appears to be thinly distributed and white, unlike decay which is a lot darker and thicker. Luckily for you, it’s pretty easy to learn how to remove mildew from your shower head. Mildew is soft and therefore will not require as much cleaning and use of the product to remove.


Limescale is a mineral deposit that you will often see form on hot water piping. Cleaning lime from a shower head is not as easy as mildew as it is often crusted onto the piping and requires a lot more scrubbing. Although not as much of a health issue as mildew and mold, limescale often builds up within the holes of the showerhead and makes the water distribution poor. We will go over how to fix this when we talk about different methods of cleaning.


If there is iron within your piping and it has gone untreated long enough, you might find rust. Rust is oxidized iron that happens when water and air are consistently in contact with iron. It’s the erosion of the piping and causes it to be weak. If It’s within the showerhead, it can also be harmful or even deadly to you, causing poisoning. If your shower head experiences a lot of rust, you need to remove and replace the head completely. If it’s in its first stages, then we can show you how to remove rust.

Methods to Clean Residue off Shower Head:

There are several reasons your shower head may be dirty and several methods to disinfect and clean them. For example, cleaning a dirty shower head with mildew might be different from cleaning one with rust. We mustn’t use harsh chemicals like bleach or other cleaning chemicals because they can corrode the piping and potentially hurt your skin and hair. We will break down the methods to clean each type of situation you have with your shower head, from simple mildew issues to a wholly clogged one; stick around to know exactly what you can do.

How to Clean Shower Head With Vinegar:

Method One: Soak for an extended period.

This is one of the best ways to thoroughly clean a showerhead, although it may take a little time.

Items you will need:

  • Pot/Bucket/large bowl
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Wrench
  • Towell
  • Old toothbrush


Twist your shower head counter-clockwise to remove it from the pipe. If it is proving difficult to do so, use your wrench to help ease the part off. Next, use your bucket or pot to put your showerhead in and submerge it with enough vinegar to immerse your item completely. Please leave it to soak for a minimum of thirty minutes to no longer than overnight. If your shower head is brass or nickel, stop soaking after thirty minutes, wash it off, and if not sufficiently cleaned, let it soak again for another thirty minutes. After this, rinse off the item. Its mildew/rust/lime should be almost entirely gone by this point. You may notice, however, that water does not entirely evenly distribute through the holes. This means you need to take your toothbrush and scrub the holes with it to erode the buildup. Once this is done, reattach the head and let some water flow through it. Finally, Polish it up with your cloth, and you’re done! This is a simple way to clean your shower head with vinegar!

Method two: Baggy Soak.

If you are unable to detach your shower head from its spout, then don’t worry! We have an alternative route for you.

Items you will need:

  • Plastic bag big enough to cover your shower head
  • Thick elastic band or string
  • Old Tooth Brush
  • Towell


Carefully fill your bag with enough vinegar that you will completely submerge your shower head. Then, place the bag over the shower head with an expert hand, ensuring it is completely covered in vinegar. Next, take your rubber band or string and use it to fasten the bag in place over the item. If possible, it’d be best to have a buddy help you. Leave the bag on again from 30 mins to overnight but again, remember that brass or nickel heads can’t soak longer than 30 mins at a time, or they will discolour. Afterwards, remove band/string and bag and scrub the holes of the shower head. Wipe it clean and polish if desired. How to clean a clogged shower head can be that simple.

Vinegar is an excellent option because it’s natural, won’t irritate you or your spout, and disinfects. It can also remove less severe cases of rust if your fixture is experiencing minor rusting.

What if you don’t have vinegar? Is it possible to clean it safely? Absolutely. Let’s go over how to clean your shower head without vinegar.

How to Clean Your Shower Head with Baking Soda:

If you don’t want to or do not have vinegar, then you can use Baking Soda in its stead. Baking Soda, like vinegar, is highly acidic and will kill all those nasty pathogens and any minor rust. You can follow either method mentioned above steps but replace it with this mixture instead of vinegar:


  • ⅔ cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup of water

This is an excellent ratio to ensure your solution is strong enough to remove the residue. If this is not enough to fully submerge your shower head, feel free to double the mixture ratio and so on until it is enough to cover the spout.

In Conclusion:

Cleaning your shower head with baking soda and vinegar are great ways to naturally unclog your item without any harsh chemicals that might hurt your skin. It’s simple, cheap, and the best way to clean a shower head. We hope that this helped you clean up your act and make sure your bathroom is clean and safe!

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