How to Clean Faucets and Shower Heads Without Removing Them

Want to clean up your faucets or increase the water pressure from your shower without removing it? Learn how here.

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Over time, calcium and hard water buildup can block faucets and shower heads, preventing maximum water flow and hampering water pressure. In extreme cases it might be necessary to break out your tools and take apart these plumbing fixtures to really dig in and remove all of the gunk. Most of the time, though, faucets and shower heads can be cleaned without removing them, using a few common household items.

Family Handyman

How to Clean Shower Heads and Faucets With Vinegar

Here’s what you need:

Here’s the step-by-step process:

  • Fill a plastic bag about halfway with vinegar. Use quart-sized for faucets and gallon-sized for shower heads. (If you have a large shower head you may need to get creative.)
  • Wrap the vinegar-filled bag around the shower head or faucet so that any place where water exits is completely submerged in the vinegar.
  • Hold the bag in place by snapping a rubber band around it, affixing it to the shower head or faucet.
  • Wait approximately one hour to let the vinegar eat away at any hard-water deposits or calcium buildups.
  • After the hour has passed, remove the bag and scrub the faucet or shower head with a toothbrush to clear up any stubborn residual.
  • Run water as a final rinse.

If you turn the shower on and the individual spray holes in the shower head are still blocked, trying poking them with a small tool like a toothpick. The vinegar will have loosened any buildup so that it can be easily dislodged.

remove hard water buildup with a lemonFamily Handyman

How to Clean Faucets With a Lemon

If you don’t have vinegar on hand or prefer a more “natural” solution, try this:

  • Cut a fresh lemon in half.
  • With one of the halves, use your thumbs to gently open up the center.
  • Press the lemon onto the end of the faucet.
  • Put a small plastic bag around the lemon and secure it around the faucet with a rubber band. Be sure the rubber band is cinched tightly and the lemon covers the end of the faucet.
  • Leave the lemon in place for a few hours to allow the citric acid to work its magic.
  • After removing the lemon, use a gentle scrubbing pad or a toothbrush to wash off any loosened hard water buildup.

Wipe the faucet with a damp cloth to remove any leftover lemon juice, and your faucet will be squeaky clean.

On a cleaning kick? Here are some cleaning tips from the pros: