How to Clean Shower Heads

Updated: May 11, 2023

A quick soak will make your grimy shower head shine.

How to clean a shower headFamily Handyman
We'll show you an easy way to clean your clogged shower head and get it operating like new again. Mineral build up can plug up the spray holes. Here's a simple way to restore the flow.

You might also like: TBD

A full day
Less than $20

Remove the shower head and soak it

cleaning a showerhead

Photo 1: Protect the finish when removing the shower head

Begin this DIY shower head cleaning project by unscrewing the shower head by gripping the shower neck with a pipe wrench (as shown), grabbing the nut on the shower head with the adjustable pliers and turning pliers counterclockwise until the nut loosens. Protect the finishes on the shower head and wall pipe by wrapping them with a cloth.

how to clean a showerhead

Photo 2: Soak the shower head in vinegar

Open the shower head holes by soaking the head overnight in a vinegar bath and poking the loosened mineral scale free with a toothpick. Rinse the shower head in tap water, then reinstall it by applying Teflon tape to the wall pipe threads, screwing it on and tightening it by reversing the technique in Photo 1. Complete the repair by turning on the cold water in the shower and blasting out any remaining mineral gunk to make sure you have a clean shower head.

Over time, hard-water minerals in tap water build up and clog the spray holes in shower heads. Fix this problem by removing the shower head and cleaning it (speaking of cleanliness, check out the best shower filters, too). Buy a lime removing product to loosen the scale, or soak the head overnight in vinegar (either white or apple cider). Check the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website to confirm that vinegar won’t harm the finish.

Carefully remove the shower head and open the holes using the steps shown in Photos 1 and 2. If the shower head is too stuck to remove, try filling a plastic bag with vinegar, tying the top of the bag around the top of the shower head and submerging it overnight in the vinegar. If that doesn’t work, you might want to consider one of these outstanding shower heads that provide a spa-like feeling.

Required Tools

Have the necessary tools for this how to clean shower head with vinegar DIY project how to clean a shower head project lined up before you start — you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Pipe wrench
  • Pliers
  • Rags

Required Materials

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time for this how to clean a shower head project. Here’s a list.

  • Vinegar