How To Clean Shower Head And Say Goodbye To Build-Up 

 Last Update September 19, 2023

By Jenny Zhang

A clean and refreshing shower is a simple pleasure that can rejuvenate our body and mind. However, over time, mineral deposits, bacteria, and other impurities can accumulate on the surface of our shower head, affecting water flow and potentially compromising the quality of our showering experience. Regularly cleaning your shower head not only ensures efficient water flow but also helps maintain good hygiene.

In this guide, we will explore various methods and techniques to effectively clean your shower head, along with some useful tips, allowing you to enjoy a revitalizing shower every time.

Why You Should Clean A Shower Head

Cleaning a shower head is essential for several reasons. Mineral deposits and sediments from hard water can clog the small nozzles or restrict the flow of water, resulting in weak water pressure or uneven spray patterns. With the wet environment, your shower head is a breeding ground for bacteria. While not all bacteria are bad for you, and most are harmless, some can be. In a recent study, researchers found that residential shower heads contain a bacteria known as mycobacterium, which can cause lung disease.

What Do You Need To Clean Your Shower Head

To clean your shower head, you will need the following:

1/3 Cup Baking Soda 

2 Cups Distilled White Vinegar 

Mixing Bowl (Medium/Large)

Brush (Or Old Toothbrush)

How to clean shower head

1. Make Mixture

Mix the vinegar and water in a medium or large bowl (depending on the size of your shower head). You will notice it is starting to bubble, and this is perfectly normal.

2. Remove Your Shower Head

Remove your shower head from the shower arm by twisting it counterclockwise.

I find that removing the shower head is easier for scrubbing later on. But if you have too many deposits inside, you may not be able to twist it off.

If it's not removable, you can still use this method by securing the bag of vinegar around the shower head using a rubber band or a zip tie.

3. Let the Shower Head Soak

Place your shower head in the solution, and the face of your shower head should be fully submerged in the solution. Let it soak for at least an hour or overnight. The longer you can let it soak, the easier it is to scrub. 

Un-removed shower head

Place the mixture in a strong bag if you cannot remove your shower head. Secure the bag over your shower head and tie the bag to the shower arm. Let the shower head soak for at least an hour or overnight.

4. Scrub, Scrub, And More Scrubbing 

Take your shower head out of the solution and gently brush away with a brush or an old toothbrush. Focus on where the water holes are because this is where most mineral deposits are located.

5. Rinse

Rinse the shower head with hot water and dry it with a microfiber cloth.

6. Place It Back

Twist your shower head back on. Before use, let the water run for a minute to flush out any residue that the brush did not get.


  • If you cannot find white vinegar, you can substitute it with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. 
  • Not every shower head is removable. If your shower head is not removable, use a plastic bag and fill it with a solution. You will want to use a strong plastic bag that could hold the answer. Use a bag like a trash bag and tie it with a string. Or make sure to secure the bag with a rubber band. You can also use this method if you don't feel like removing your shower head. 
  • You must let the shower head soak in the solution for at least an hour or leave it overnight. If your shower head is made from non-chrome surfaces, check the manufacturer's recommendation before using this method. If you are unsure, let this method soak for 15-30 minutes and repeat the process until you get rid of all the gunk. 
  • Cleaning nickel-coated shower heads requires a bit of extra care to ensure that the finish is not damaged. Avoid harsh or abrasive cleaners that scratch or strip the nickel finish. Instead, opt for mild cleaning solutions. Typically, a combination of gentle dish soap and warm water is considered safe for use. Diluted white vinegar can also be effective for removing mineral deposits.
  • When removing the bag from the shower head, please be sure you remove it slowly and do not get the vinegar in your eyes. 
  • If you don't like the smell of vinegar, the plastic bag method may be the better solution for you.
  • If you find that there is still buildup remaining on the shower head, you can repeat the cleaning process by starting with the vinegar soak again.

How vinegar and baking soda cleans the shower head

Vinegar and baking soda are commonly used as natural cleaning agents due to their mild acidity and gentle abrasive properties. When combined, they can effectively clean and remove mineral deposits from a shower head. Here's how the vinegar and baking soda combination works:

Vinegar: Vinegar is a weak acid (acetic acid) that helps dissolve mineral deposits, such as limescale, that can accumulate on the shower head. It works particularly well for breaking down and removing calcium and magnesium deposits.

Baking soda: Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, possesses mild abrasive properties. It helps to scrub away any stubborn grime, hard water stains, soap scum, or residue on the surface of the shower head. Baking soda also has deodorizing properties, which can help eliminate any unpleasant odors.

How Often Should You Clean Your Shower Head

At this point, how often should I clean my shower head? If you live in an area with hard water or water with a high calcium and magnesium level, the chances are you experience problems with a clogged shower head often. There is no one simple answer, but you should thoroughly clean your shower head bi-weekly or monthly to avoid buildup. Luckily, cleaning the shower head is quite simple and easy.

How To Avoid Mineral Buildup In Shower Head

By following the below tips and incorporating them into your regular bathroom maintenance routine, you can help prevent mineral buildup in your shower head and enjoy a clean and efficient showering experience.

Clean regularly

Developing a routine of regular shower head cleaning is crucial, particularly if you reside in a region with hard water. Follow the cleaning tips mentioned earlier to remove mineral deposits and grime.

Use a water softener

If you have hard water, it's advisable to contemplate the installation of a whole-home water softener system or a dedicated water softener for your shower. This can help reduce the mineral content in the water and prevent buildup in your shower head.

Install a water filter

An alternative solution is to incorporate a shower-specific water filter that is designed to meet your shower. These filters can help remove impurities and minerals from the water, reducing the chances of buildup in your shower head.

Remove and soak shower heads regularly

In addition to regular cleaning, it is recommended to periodically remove your shower head and soak it in a vinegar solution every few months. This can help dissolve any potential mineral deposits and keep your shower head functioning optimally.

Use a shower head with self-cleaning nozzles

Some shower heads come with self-cleaning nozzles that are designed to prevent buildup. These types of shower heads can be beneficial in reducing maintenance and ensuring a consistent water flow.

Wipe down your shower head

After each use, it's a good practice to take a moment to wipe your shower head with a clean cloth or towel. This can help remove any water droplets or residue that may lead to buildup over time.

Maintain proper ventilation

To minimize moisture levels, ensure that your bathroom is adequately ventilated. High humidity can contribute to the growth of mold and mildew, which can impact the cleanliness of your shower head.

cleaning shower head with baking soda

Jenny passionately advocates a holistic and natural approach to health and well-being. She has a Bachelor of Science degree and years of working in food sciences, specializing in organic & natural products. She is committed to helping others embrace a balanced, natural lifestyle that fosters well-being. Jenny believes that a harmonious balance between nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness is the key to unlocking the full potential of one’s well-being.