How To Clean Unwanted Mineral Build Up From Your Showerhead

Reclaim the water pressure you deserve!

Okay, so we’re betting at some point you’ve looked up at your showerhead and noticed one or more of its holes isn’t actually shooting out any water.

No, your showerhead doesn’t need to be replaced, it just needs to be cleaned! All that water is being blocked by mineral deposits, preventing it from getting to you and majorly hindering your water pressure. Whether you want a quick clean or a deep clean, our Choose Your Own Adventure Guide will allow you to decide—based on how severely clogged your showerhead is and how ambitious you’re feeling—between either keeping the showerhead attached for a basic cleaning or removing it to perform a complete and thorough scrub down.

__To get started, ask yourself this short series of questions to determine whether to just give your showerhead a basic cleaning or a serious deep clean. __

  • How’s your water pressure? Be honest. It’s worth noting if your water pressure was very strong to begin with.
  • Have you noticed a decrease in pressure lately? Has it gotten steadily worse over the last few weeks or months? If your showerhead has multiple settings, try switching through them to make sure the water comes out of all of the holes, even the ones you don’t typically use on your regular setting.
  • Are some of the holes visibly blocked? Is the water spraying out in a steady stream or is it shooting erratically in various directions? If some holes are blocked, it’s likely due to hard water deposits, mineral build up (usually limestone, which appears in patchy white spots on hardware) or small bits of debris.

If your water pressure is great and you can tell that water is actively shooting out of all your showerhead’s holes, there’s probably no need for a deep clean right now. Follow our steps for the Basic Showerhead Cleaning Guide.

If your water pressure leaves something to be desired, it’s likely time for a deep cleaning and scouring of your shower head. Follow steps for our Deep Cleaning Showerhead Guide. You’ll have your showerhead spraying smoothly and steadily again in no time. Because there are few things sadder than trying to rinse shampoo out of your hair under a sad, drippy faucet.

Supplies for basic cleaning:

Microban 24 Bathroom Cleaner
White vinegar
Gallon sized plastic bag
Rubber band(s)
Soft bristled scrub brush (or a toothbrush would work fine!)
Mr Clean Magic Eraser
Clean rag

Additional supplies for Deep Cleaning:
Baking soda
Wrench + needle nose pliers
Paper clips or a needle

Basic showerhead cleaning guide

Soak your showerhead in 50/50 white vinegar/hot water solution. The vinegar will help dissolve mineral deposits and prevent clogging so you can enjoy that feel-good water pressure.

If you can remove your showerhead, you can soak it in the vinegar solution in a bucket or by plugging and using your bathroom sink in lieu of a bucket.

If removing the showerhead seems like a colossal chore in itself, fill a gallon sized plastic bag with the vinegar solution. Position the plastic bag around the shower head, securing it at the neck with a tight fitting rubber band. Make sure the showerhead’s holes are all completely submerged in the vinegar solution.

For best results, it’s wise to soak your showerhead overnight, or for at least 6-8 hours. (While it's soaking, have a go at cleaning your shower doors or the tile grout of its walls!) When the showerhead is done soaking, rinse it with clean water and give its holes a once over scrub with your scrub brush or toothbrush to make sure all of the mineral deposits are gone. If you’ve removed your showerhead, you can test your results by holding the hose attachment end up to your sink and running water through it for 30 seconds to be sure all of the holes are now unclogged. If they’re not, continue to clean using our deep cleaning tips below. If the water flows freely through all of the showerhead’s holes, you’re all done and can reconnect your showerhead.

Deep cleaning showerhead guide

Okay, we’re sorry but you’re going to have to use your wrench and pliers to remove the showerhead for this version. Be mindful not to scratch the pipe or showerhead and using your wrench, loosen the nut that connects your showerhead to the pipe. (Pro tip: You can put a soft cloth or rag between your wrench and the showerhead to avoid scratching any of the hardware!) Once it’s all loosened, you ought to be able to simply unscrew the showerhead using just your hands. Peek inside the interior threaded part of the showerhead and check for debris, rinsing it clean under the faucet if necessary. Using your needle nose pliers, carefully remove the filter screen from the neck of the showerhead (it should be visible in the area that you’ve just rinsed free of debris). Now rinse the screen more thoroughly, using your toothbrush to give it a scrub if it’s especially gross. Once it’s clean, return the screen to the showerhead.

Now follow the complete list of steps for the Basic Showerhead Cleaning Guide, but add ⅓ cup baking soda for each cup of vinegar you use. The baking soda will help further dissolve mineral deposits and build up.

Once your showerhead is done soaking, take your scrub brush and give the holes a thorough scour to be sure all those pesky mineral build ups have dissolved or become dislodged. If the holes still appear clogged, make an additional paste of baking soda and vinegar (1:1 ratio) and scrub onto the holes with your toothbrush, letting sit for an additional hour before wiping off with a clean wet rag. If you’ve got especially sticky bits of grime, you can use a sewing needle or paperclip to remove them.

If your showerhead still appears to be dirty or malfunctioning, try specific rust cleaner and/or limescale remover. Apply to the showerhead as needed, following directions on the product’s label, and also around all of its fixtures and hardware.

Wipe the exterior of your showerhead off with a clean wet rag to eliminate any residual grime before replacing it. We also recommend using Mr Clean Magic Eraser (made specifically for bathrooms) to buff out at stains, spots or imperfections on the showerhead hardware, hose and faucets. Once you replace the shower head, let the water run for a couple minutes before using the shower.

As a final step, we recommend sanitizing your showerhead with Microban 24 Bathroom Cleaner to kill 99.9% of bacteria for 24 hours*. Just spray and walk away, allowing the product to air dry.

And just like that, you’ve given your clogged old showerhead a whole new lease on life. Using our simple techniques, you can kiss those infuriating mineral deposits goodbye. Try using the Basic Showerhead Cleaning Guidelines monthly to keep your showerhead healthy and water pressure steady.

* When used as directed, effective for 24 hours against Staphylococcus aureus & Enterobacter aerogenes bacteria. Microban 24 does not provide 24-hour residual virus protection.

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