How to Remove a Stuck Showerhead

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Whether your showerhead is broken or you simply need to replace it with a low-flow model to save water, it may not want to come easily. Hard water deposits and rust can lock the threads and make it impossible to turn by hand. You need the help of a wrench, which you can also use to replace the shower arm, if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Strap wrench

  • Spray lubricant

  • Vinegar

  • Cloth

  • Pipe wrench

  • 1 1/4-inch steel pipe; 2-foot length

Wrap the strap of a strap wrench around the base of the showerhead and tighten the strap securely.

Twist the showerhead in a counterclockwise direction. If it doesn't move, spray lubricant into the threads and wait at least five minutes, then try again. Repeat once or twice.

Loosen the threads with vinegar if spray lubricant doesn't work. Vinegar dissolves hard water deposits, while spray lubricant is best for rust. To allow the vinegar to soak into the threads, wrap an absorbent rag around the base of the showerhead, soak the rag with full-strength vinegar and let it sit overnight.

Tip

Keep the rag wet -- if it dries out, spray or pour more vinegar on it. Or cover the entire showerhead and the rag with a plastic bag held by a rubber band.

Use a pipe wrench if you can't get the head to move with a strap wrench. Extend the handle of the wrench with a 2-foot length of 1 1/4-inch steel pipe to give yourself leverage. It's unlikely the threads will be able to resist this much torque, but it's possible that the entire shower arm will unscrew before the head comes off. If so, replace the arm along with the head.

Tip

When replacing the showerhead and -- if necessary -- the shower arm, wrap plumbing tape clockwise around the male threads to prevent leaks. Wrap a rag around the chrome to protect the finish before gripping the arm or the head with pliers or a pipe wrench.


Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.

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