How to Clean Shower Heads

Mineral deposits can build up in your shower head, resulting in sporadic water pressure and a stream that spurts out in all different directions. Cleaning your shower head will result in better water flow and a more uniform stream.

What You’ll Need

  • Pliers or vice grip (optional)
  • Wide rubberband or towel (optional)
  • Container
  • White vinegar
  • Thin wire or paperclip
  • Old toothbrush

The Cleaning Process

  1. Remove your shower head. If it is difficult to remove, try using pliers or vice grips to loosen the head. If you do this, make sure to place a wide rubberband container or a towel around the shower head to protect it from scratches. If possible, remove the cover from your shower head, as well.
  2. Put the shower head into a container filled with warmed white vinegar. – Do not boil the vinegar.
    • If you cannot remove your shower head, fill a small plastic baggie with 2-3 inches of white vinegar and rubberband or tape it to the shower head, making sure that the faceplate is completely submerged.
  3. Let soak in vinegar for 15-20 minutes. If your shower head has a brass or gold finish, don’t soak for more than 30 minutes at a time.
  4. Check the holes of the shower head and use a thin wire or paperclip to clear any clogs.
  5. Scrub off softened mineral deposits with an old toothbrush or similar brush.
  6. Rinse with hot water. Repeat steps 2-6 if necessary.


  1. Leigh says:

    Fill a freezer-quality Ziploc baggie with straight white vinegar. Place it over the shower head so the shower head is completely immersed in the vinegar. Use a thick rubber band to secure it. Leave it for 30 minutes, then remove it (pour it down the drain for more cleaning!) and run hot water through the shower head for a few minutes.

  2. Jean says:

    If the shower head is left in place, the air in the shower head will not allow the vinegar solution to go UP into the head.

    If it is a handheld, you can turn/prop it upside down (holes facing up), maybe then the air can gurgle out while the vinegar solution goes into the holes via gravity.

    Best is to remove it entirely, disassemble if possible and soak the entire piece in a vinegar solution, making sure the air can get out so the interior can be bathed in the solution.

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