Routinely cleaning your showerhead is an excellent way to prevent bacteria, mold, and hard water buildup. Using products you likely already have at home, like vinegar and baking soda makes the process easy and affordable. 

Here’s how you can clean a showerhead with vinegar and baking soda in 6 easy steps:

  1. Gather your supplies
  2. Use a large bowl to combine white vinegar and baking soda
  3. Place your showerhead in the bowl
  4. Allow the showerhead to soak
  5. Scrub the shower head and rinse with clean water
  6. Reinstall the showerhead

However, you can also use more advanced techniques to clean a showerhead more thoroughly. Keep reading if you’d like a more detailed guide that expands on the basic steps above. You will also find some additional showerhead cleaning tips and tricks.

1. Gather Your Supplies

Before starting any project, cleaning or otherwise, it’s essential to ensure that you have all the necessary items. Gathering your supplies before diving into a task will save you time and energy searching for and picking the necessities mid-task.

Plus, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a project without gathering all the needed items and realizing halfway through that I’m missing something. If you collect your supplies first, you’ll be able to establish if you are missing something. This will give you time to do a quick run to the store, if need be, before you begin. 

When preparing to clean your showerhead using this method, you will need the following items:

  • 1 large bowl
  • 3 cups of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of baking soda

Make sure that you get a bowl large enough for the task. This is where you will let the showerhead sit and soak, so it needs to be large enough to accommodate it. Additionally, combining white vinegar and baking soda can create a lot of bubbles. The excess bubbles shouldn’t become an issue if you have a large bowl. 

There are also many different types of vinegar out there, including apple cider vinegar. However, they are not all made the same. Be sure to use white vinegar – it’s known more for its cleaning properties. 

2. Use a Large Bowl to Combine White Vinegar and Baking Soda

Once you have all the necessary supplies, you will combine them in the large mixing bowl. AS mentioned, be prepared for a good amount of bubbles after mixing the vinegar and baking soda. 

Ensure to measure out the correct amounts. For this purpose, you want to use 3 cups of white vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda.

Sometimes, though, you can remove the nasty buildup without vinegar. For example, if you gather all of your supplies but realize you don’t have any white vinegar, you can mix baking soda and water to the consistency of a paste.

You only need a few tablespoons of baking soda and a small bowl to do this. Once you have your paste, use an old toothbrush or other soft-bristled cleaning brush to scrub the showerhead. Let it sit for half an hour, then rinse it off again.

If the showerhead is still clogged with debris, acquire some white vinegar and follow the remaining steps outlined in the rest of this article. 

3. Place Your Showerhead in the Bowl

Step three is to place your showerhead in the bowl containing your vinegar and baking soda solution. 

To do this, you will need to remove your showerhead from the stem of your bathroom shower. This sounds more intimidating than it really is. Most showerheads are very similar in structure, even if the design varies. 

In most cases, you only need a wrench to unscrew the showerhead from the stem and loosen it from the parts attaching it. Once the showerhead is out, it is much easier to clean and scrub in the steps outlined below. 

Many showerheads also have a mesh inside them to hold calcium buildup. This needs to be removed periodically. So, it’s essential to remove the showerhead altogether to complete this step.

If you’ve never removed a showerhead before, this YouTube video will walk you through the process.

4. Allow the Showerhead to Soak

For decades, vinegar and baking soda have been used for deep cleaning various household items. If you’re like me, you may have even heard about this hack from your mom, who heard it from her mom before her, and so on. Maintaining your appliances is essential, and your showerhead is no exception.

Once you remove the showerhead from its stem, place it in the bowl containing your vinegar and baking soda mixture. This is why it was essential to ensure that the bowl is large enough to hold the showerhead. 

Allow the showerhead to sit in the mixture for at least 30 minutes. If you can, I suggest letting it soak for a minimum of an hour. That said, 30 minutes can work if the showerhead isn’t that dirty. 

5. Scrub the Shower Head and Rinse With Clean Water

Once you have allowed the showerhead to soak adequately, take a stiff-bristled brush and scrub off the buildup. It should come off easily. If it doesn’t, you may want to consider letting it soak for a more extended period. 

If you don’t have a stiff-bristled brush specific for cleaning, you can also use an old toothbrush. I prefer using an old toothbrush when cleaning my showerhead. It’s small enough to fit into the small crevices of the showerhead, and the bristles are effective at removing the calcium and other buildup.  

Whatever type of brush you opt for, I suggest making sure that it is small and stiff-bristled.

6. Reinstall the Showerhead

Once your showerhead is clean and all buildup removed, you need to dry it completely then gather what you need to reinstall it in your shower.

Home Depot recommends using seal tape to cover the threads in the arm stem of the shower. After applying the seal tape, you can then screw the showerhead back into position. 

You shouldn’t need any other tools to reinstall the showerhead. However, make sure to tighten the showerhead once you position it. 

Once your showerhead is in place, turn on the water and check for leaks. If you notice any, wrap the area with thread seal tape and use an adjustable wrench to tighten the showerhead once more.  Check to make sure the leak is fixed by turning on the water again.

Watch the short video tutorial below from Home Depot showing the above steps in more detail:

Other Ways to Clean Your Showerhead

You can use other methods besides vinegar and baking soda to clean your showerhead.

The CLR Method

To clean your showerhead with CLR, you’ll follow the same steps listed above. However, instead of mixing vinegar and baking soda, you will mix CLR and water in equal quantities. CLR is a tough cleaning solution, so it’s essential to make sure you dilute it with water. 

You can purchase CLR from most retailers, including Walmart and Amazon.

Still, if you’re looking for a way to clean your showerhead without removing it from the pipe, you can use the Ziploc bag method. 

Using a Ziploc Bag

Sometimes, I don’t have the time or energy to remove my showerhead from the stem pipe for cleaning. In these situations, I prefer to leave the showerhead attached. To clean it, I use the simple but effective Ziploc bag technique.

If you are like me, and prefer something quick but efficient, all you’ll need is vinegar, a large gallon-sized Ziploc bag, and a rubber band. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a plastic bag with white vinegar. Once the bag is full, wrap it around the showerhead and secure it by tying a rubber band around the bag and shower pipe. 
  2. Soak the showerhead. Once the showerhead is submerged in the bag and adequately secured, let it soak for several hours. 
  3. Remove the bag. After a minimum of two hours, remove the bag. Let water run out of the shower for a few minutes to clear the vinegar out of the showerhead.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your showerhead regularly will help ensure that it performs the way it’s supposed to. Over time, mineral deposits often build up, which can cause the nozzles to squirt water in all directors, clog, or decrease the water pressure and flow. 

If you enjoy a hot shower with optimal water pressure, cleaning it regularly will keep it in peak condition. 

Using the methods described in this article will help you ensure that your showerhead stays clean and works properly. Whether you use the Ziploc bag method or remove the showerhead and soak it, keeping the showerhead clean is essential. 

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