How to Clean a Shower Head and Banish Mineral Buildup

Fill the plastic bag halfway with the distilled vinegar. Place the bag over the shower head so that it’s completely submerged in the fluid and add more if necessary. Carefully wrap rubber bands around the top of the plastic bag to secure it to the shower head. This might be tricky if the rubber band is too small or flimsy. Tip: Save the quarter-inch-thick bands from the grocery that hold broccoli together. As a precaution, be sure to close the shower curtain or glass shower doors in case of a spill, should the vinegar-filled bag become loose and fall off. While it won’t harm your tile, it could leave a temporary acidic scent.

Generally, it’s a good idea to spray your shower head weekly with a cleaning solution of equal parts distilled white vinegar and water. You may also consider applying a paste with baking soda and lemon juice monthly to keep the grime and buildup at bay.

How long should you soak your shower head in vinegar?

The vinegar shower head soak needs to sit for several hours. At least four hours is optimal, and 12 hours is even better. That’s why it’s a good practice to start this cleaning project either in the morning (right after you shower) or in the evening (that way it has all night to sit).

One caveat: Tread carefully with this cleaning hack if your shower head is made from brass. The material shouldn’t be submerged in white vinegar for more than 30 minutes. Skip this cleaning method completely for nickel-coated shower heads, as the shiny finish can get damaged by the acid.

Alternatively, if soaking the entire shower head in vinegar isn’t your jam, make a cleaning solution of baking soda and lemon juice, then scrub it on the surface using an old toothbrush to get into the nozzles. Turn on the hot water to ensure that every opening is clear, and your work is done.

How do you deep clean a shower head?

To deep clean your shower head, follow the shower head soaking instructions above, and then once it’s had several hours to soak in the vinegar, untie the bag from the shower arm and pour the liquid down the drain. At this point, you can use an old toothbrush and baking soda to scrub your drain, faucet, nozzles, and any other hardware to remove grime and hard-water stains for a double-duty hit of freshness.

Next, turn on the hot water to check if the shower head is clean or needs more treatment. The rinse will also help any mineral deposits inside the shower head to loosen and release. As a final step, take a microfiber cloth to dry and buff the shower head, ensuring that it has no limescale on it and is truly sparkling clean.

whitegloved hands holding a detached shower head below metal arm extending from blacktiled wall

For shower heads in need of a deeper clean, remove the shower head from its base to get a closer look.Photo: yunava1/Getty Images

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