The One Ingredient You Need to Clean Your Showerhead (You Probably Already Have It)

Cleaning removeable showerhead
credit: Ana Stanciu

It's time to add the showerhead to your bathroom cleaning checklist. Clogged showerheads can turn a once powerful spray into an annoying trickle. With a thorough cleaning and a bit of maintenance, you'll have your soothing shower back to full strength in no time.

How to clean your showerhead
credit: Ana Stanciu

The minerals in water are the culprits behind reduced water flow. As water goes through the showerhead, small amounts of the calcium, magnesium, silica, and other minerals are left behind. Those deposits accumulate over time, creating a white, crusty-looking buildup on a showerhead that can eventually block the openings. If you have hard water, this buildup happens even faster.

Vinegar is a simple, inexpensive ingredient that removes mineral buildup and soap scum from your showerhead. Once you give it a thorough cleaning, be sure to keep it clear by soaking or spraying it once a month with vinegar. (You can make a daily shower spray by filling a spray bottle with vinegar.) If you have hard water or reduced water flow, clean the showerhead more regularly, like every two weeks.

Tools you need to clean showerhead
credit: Ana Stanciu

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic bag

  • Rubber band

  • Distilled white vinegar

  • Toothbrush or scrub brush

  • Toothpicks

Step 1: Assemble a cleaning bag

Find a plastic bag or Ziploc that's big enough to completely cover the showerhead. Then, add distilled white vinegar to the bag. Start by filling it about halfway. Test to make sure there's enough vinegar to submerge the entire showerhead; add more vinegar if needed.

Cleaning showerhead with vinegar
credit: Ana Stanciu

Step 2: Soak

Secure the bag over the showerhead with a rubber band. A twist tie or tape will also work. Let the showerhead soak for one to two hours.

Clean showerhead with vinegar
credit: Ana Stanciu

Vinegar is usually four to five percent acetic acid, which is strong enough to break up mineral deposits and soap scum, but not so strong that it would damage chrome finishes.

If your showerhead is removeable or has an arm attachment, you can submerge the showerhead in a bowl of vinegar instead of covering it with a bag.

Cleaning removeable showerhead
credit: Ana Stanciu

Step 3: Scrub

Remove the showerhead from its vinegar soak and wipe off any any remaining buildup. If mineral deposits are still stuck on, scrub the showerhead with toothbrush or gentle scrub brush dipped in vinegar. For small jet openings, use a toothpick to dislodge clogs.

Scrub showerhead with toothbrush
credit: Ana Stanciu

Step 4: Rinse

Run hot water through the shower for a minute or two to wash away the buildup and rinse off the vinegar. Keep your showerhead clog-free by soaking or spraying it with vinegar once a month.

How to clean a showerhead
credit: Ana Stanciu

Stephanie Gerber

Stephanie Gerber

Stephanie Gerber is the founder and editor of the beauty and wellness site, HelloGlow.co. She lives in Nashville with her husband and three children.