Many people blame their shower heads for poor water flow rates. That would be the wrong assumption in most cases, except for when the shower head is so clogged that it simply can’t give the promised output anymore.
But cleaning a shower head is not all about the flow rate. It’s also about making sure that you’re washing yourself with clean water. As clean as it can be anyway. Very dirty shower heads can spread lots of bacteria which can cause skin rashes, allergies, or even pulmonary diseases.
Remember that you inhale a lot of steam. If that steam comes from dirty water, your lungs would have their work cut out for them. So, how do you go about cleaning your shower head? – Check out the following steps.
1. Start from the Outside In
How dirty is your shower head, really? – Sometimes you may only have to eliminate the deposits forming on and between the nozzles. If that’s the case, you’re in luck because you won’t have to take the shower head apart.
To clean the nozzles, you can try using a toothbrush. Whether they’re ceramic, silicone, or any other material, a soft toothbrush strikes a good balance in scrubbing power and safety.
Run the bristles over the nozzles thoroughly. You may want to be extra aggressive if the nozzles are flexible and don’t offer resistance.
You can also sprinkle some baking soda on your toothbrush before scrubbing to remove the harder deposits. Just be careful about scratching the nozzles.
Another maintenance tip regarding the nozzles is to use a vinegar-based solution to spray them every other week. This should help deal with any potential buildups on the outside.
2. Soak the Shower Head
If you’re still experiencing issues with the water pressure or dispersal pattern after cleaning the exterior, you can try soaking the shower head next.
There are various commercial cleaners available in home improvement and grocery stores. Those come with their own instructions so there’s no point going into details here.
Alternatively, you can also use ingredients that you may have laying around in every household. White vinegar is an excellent cleaning solution for your bathroom and kitchen.
Fill any container big enough to fit your shower head with white vinegar. Submerge the shower head and let it sit for a couple of hours. After you take it out, you can scrub the nozzles for a few minutes to make sure everything is clean on the outside.
After that, reattach the shower head to the pipe. Turn on warm or cold water and let it run for at least two to three minutes. This should be enough to clear out any leftover gunk and rinse off the vinegar.
You can also use the plastic bag trick to make your life easier. Get a solid plastic bag and fill it halfway with white vinegar. Secure the bag to the shower pipe after submerging the shower head in the vinegar.
To keep it in place, use tape, twist ties, rubber bands, string, or something else of the sort. Don’t fill the bag as it might pop.
With this method, you don’t have to worry about taking apart the shower head or even detaching it from the pipe.
Important Note: If you take your shower head apart and soak the pieces individually or wash and scrub them individually, it’s a good idea to let them air dry before putting the shower head together and back on the shower pipe.
This eliminates the possibility of any buildups forming and ruining the tight seal.
3. Clean the Filter
Shower heads come with a filter screen, which protects you and the shower head from coming into contact with many contaminants and debris that could be flowing through the pipes. This is why the filter screen needs regular maintenance in order for you to get clean water at a steady flow rate.
The filter screen will almost always be on the pipe connection where you attach the shower head. It usually pops right off, though in rare circumstances, you may have to consult your instruction manual. If the gasket is out of shape or if the filter screen is messed up, you can easily a replacement at most hardware stores.
Assuming it’s in good shape, get the filter out and run it under a powerful jet in the sink. You may also want to take a toothbrush to it to be extra thorough.
How to Cut Down the Cleaning Frequency
Do the following so you don’t have to repeat this too often.
Install a Water Filter
By cleaning the water before it goes through the shower head filter, any deposits that might form on the filter screen will take longer to form.
You can either install a whole-house water filtration system or install a water filter for your shower head alone. If the water in your area is prone to hardness, you may want to soften that water before it reaches your bathroom.
Get Rid of Excess Water
I’m referring to the small amount of water that remains in the shower head after you turn your water off.
You can get rid of this by switching between the bathtub tap and the shower head in your final moments before you finish showering. By routing the water flow to the tap, very little will remain inside the shower head. Of course, this is assuming you have the standard shower with the shower head above the bathtub.
Your shower may have fancy silicone nozzles and a ceramic casing, but there are other parts which are vulnerable to corrosion or limescale if they’re soaked in water for too long.
A Clean Shower Head is Just Better
Remember that shower heads rarely come with fancy filter screens that can purify the water. Eventually stuff gets past the filter and buildups occur. It may be a slow or fast process, depending on your shower head.
In the end, you can include the shower head whenever you clean your bathroom. Take the extra time to soak your shower head in a home-made solution and scrub away between the nozzles. It’s an effortless task that improves your quality of life.
A hardcore woodworking and welding enthusiast, Russ is the editor-in-chief of TAH. In his spare time, Russ loves watching sports, and (binge) watching Netflix.