Try Cleaning Your Showerhead Before You Replace It

Is your showerhead just not working as well as it used to? Is it covered in ugly scale or mineral buildup? Before you give up and replace it, try using one of these cleaning techniques first.

Use a Plastic Bag

The simplest way to clean the buildup from your showerhead is to use a plastic bag filled with white vinegar. Simply submerge the showerhead in the vinegar and secure the bag with a twist tie or rubber band. Soak the showerhead for several hours (overnight is best), and remove the bag. Run hot water through the shower to flush the vinegar and loosened minerals from inside the shower head.

Wipe down the outside to remove any bits that are left on the finish. If your showerhead had a lot of buildup, you might have to do this a couple times to remove all of it. If your water is heavy in minerals, you might want to invest in a filter to reduce their effect on your plumbing. In the meantime, soaking the showerhead like this every couple months will help it to stay clear.

Take the Shower Head Off

While the plastic bag method is simple, it is not the most efficient. The vinegar must be left on overnight, and it can take several attempts to get all the crust off. Fortunately, there is a way to make the vinegar work harder—warm it up.

Unscrew the showerhead from the pipe and remove the faceplate if there is one. Fill a pot with enough vinegar to allow the showerhead to float in it. Bring the vinegar to a boil and remove it from the heat. Let the showerhead soak in the warm vinegar for about an hour. Use tongs to safely remove it and wipe it with a cloth to see if the vinegar has done its job. If not, let it soak another hour.

You can also leave the vinegar on low heat to speed the process up further, but you do run the risk of melting any plastic parts in the showerhead. However, the higher the heat the more effective the vinegar will be.

Clean the Filter

Some showerheads have an additional filter inside the head. You will need your manual to locate and remove the filter in your model. Once you have it out, clean it by running it under water and scrubbing it with a sponge. If there is anything stuck in the filter, you can use an old toothbrush to work the bits out safely. If there is too much damage, you will need to purchase a replacement filter to keep the showerhead working properly.

Replace It

While this article is about cleaning the shower head instead of replacing it, sometimes replacement may be what you really want. A jug of vinegar is cheaper than a new shower head, but there are reasons why a new showerhead might be a good investment. Maybe you want something with a few more options. Maybe you want to invest in a shower head that is more efficient. These are both good reasons to skip the stinky pot of vinegar and head to the home improvement store. However, these tips will come in handy when your newer, better showerhead starts to collect buildup.

Keeping your showerhead clean might be a challenge if your water contains a lot of minerals. Instead of using harsh chemicals or just buying cheap showerheads and replacing them, use some warm vinegar to keep the water flowing. If you are in the market for a new showerhead, go ahead and replace it with a quality product and use this technique to keep it in good condition. If your showerhead is clean and you still aren't getting enough water, you might have a serious plumbing problem that will require a visit from a licenced plumbing company like Orange Coast Plumbing.