How to Clean a Showerhead

From left: A gentle cleanser, distilled white vinegar, tender bristle toothbrush, massive bowl, massive zip-tie bag (elective), wrench, needle-nose pliers, toothpicks, cotton swabs, rubber bands. Photo: Joshua Lyon

Large bowl: Make certain it’s large enough to submerge your showerhead.

Distilled white vinegar: Ditto—you’ll want sufficient to cowl your entire showerhead.

Wrench: Whatever you have got available is ok, however we’ve acquired a number of nice picks.

Needle-nose pliers: Ditto for these useful instruments.

Microfiber fabric: We like Amazon Basics.

A gentle lavatory cleanser: We used 9 Elements Bathroom Lemon Disinfectant.


Cotton swabs

Metal polish: Brasso can assist with cussed hard-water stains on metallic showerheads.

Sealant tape: Also often called plumbers tape, this skinny wrapping helps forestall water from seeping out while you screw a showerhead again onto the arm.


Large zip-top bag

Thick rubber band(s): A zipper-tie will work tremendous too.

Safety glasses: These will assist defend your eyes from errant splashes of vinegar or cleanser. Our cheap favourite pair will maintain you shielded.

Step stool: Folks who’ve bother reaching their showerhead may want a lift.

It is dependent upon the extent of hard-water stains, how dangerous the mould is, and the severity of the clog in your showerhead. Expect to spend wherever from 10 to twenty minutes truly cleansing. But if you happen to’re coping with a very soiled or clogged mannequin, consider roughly six to eight hours of ready time whereas your bathe head soaks (so you’ll want to take a bathe first).

Photo: Sarah Kobos

To maintain your showerhead operating easily, Tom Sindelar, senior product supervisor for Kohler, recommends common fundamental cleansing. “A fast, frequent wipe-down retains it wanting and dealing like new with minimal time spent,” he instructed us through e-mail. This is sensible counsel, nevertheless it’s understandably one thing that’s simply glossed over as a part of your routine. One of the showerheads we labored on hadn’t been cleaned in eight months.

Before embarking on a serious clear for a clogged showerhead, know that many trendy fashions have scale-resistant silicone or polymer nozzles which might be designed to simply dislodge hard-water buildup. If clogging is the one downside, generally you possibly can repair the difficulty with a vigorous swipe of your hand throughout the floor, or by working the nozzles backwards and forwards a bit.

“The water at my father’s is extraordinarily arduous,” senior employees author Tim Heffernan stated. “He thought he needed to exchange all of his showerheads, however I used to be in a position to clear them in only a few minutes by scraping the nozzles with my fingernail. I pulled them sideways and allow them to snap again just a few occasions.”

If this doesn’t alleviate the issue, or you have got a mannequin with fastened nozzles, begin by soaking your showerhead in a vinegar-and-water answer. The acidic vinegar will assist break down mineral buildup in and out, and it’ll assist dislodge mould and different development usually present in loos.

Many cleansing blogs, articles, and even some Wirecutter staffers advocate tying a bag of vinegar round a showerhead to soak it. I attempted this, and I personally discovered this methodology to be extraordinarily awkward, although it might work properly for smaller showerheads or kitchen-sink taps.

For showerheads which might be too huge to slot in a quart- or sandwich-sized zip-top bag, I’ve discovered that eradicating the showerhead completely is less complicated and ensures a more-thorough cleansing. But as a result of not everybody is ready to take away their showerhead, we’ll cowl each strategies, starting with what we’d do first.

Use an adjustable wrench to unfasten your showerhead on the base of the arm. To take away any unfastened particles on the skin, run your palms or a tender fabric throughout your entire floor, and pull out any sealant tape that may be caught to the inner threading.

Take a have a look at the small display and/or movement restrictor simply contained in the showerhead’s level of entry for the water. Some minor clogs there may dissolve through the vinegar soak. But if there are any massive items of particles, use needle-nose pliers to softly take away the display or the gasket above the movement restrictor. You can use a toothpick to poke any particularly cussed gunk out of the display, however be very cautious: You don’t need to widen the small gaps within the display; that might enable bigger bits of particles to get inside. When you’re performed, place the display and/or gasket again contained in the showerhead.

Rinse the showerhead. Then place it in a big bowl, nozzle aspect up or sideways, and fill the bowl with equal elements distilled white vinegar and water, till the showerhead is totally submerged. Give it a swirl, to assist the answer run by means of the inner mechanics. The required soaking time varies relying on how soiled the showerhead is. And as a result of this isn’t a precise science, we predict it’s finest to let the showerhead soak in a single day, or let it sit for the day (after your morning bathe). With sufficient time, the acid within the vinegar can dissolve the mineral buildup and assist dislodge another development in and out.

Placing the showerhead face up helps water flow into inside; you must see some bubbles popping out of the nozzles while you first dunk it. Photo: Joshua Lyon

When you’re able to take away the showerhead, rinse it totally afterward. If you continue to see some faint mineral stains, don’t fear. The vinegar may have loosened them up sufficient to make cleansing them by hand simpler.

Sindelar stated to keep away from utilizing any cleaners which might be abrasive or include bleach. He additionally warned towards cleaners formulated for bogs or acids focused to take away rust. And don’t use abrasive brushes and sponges, just like the Magic Eraser, since they will scratch your showerhead’s floor.

We have been interested in how straightforward it truly is to break a showerhead by cleansing it with one thing abrasive. So we used the scrubby aspect of a typical sponge on a mannequin fabricated from plastic with a chrome-color end that had some gentle hard-water stains. After only a few mild swipes, the sponge visibly scratched up the floor, so you must positively heed the warning.

Our high showerhead decide, the Kohler Forte, has a gently pebbled floor. This made it a bit harder to utterly erase stains after we’d soaked the showerhead in a single day. We acquired a lot of it off by utilizing a tender bristle toothbrush and a little bit of baking soda combined with vinegar, however some cussed spots remained.

As a final resort, Sindelar advised making use of a small quantity of Brasso, a mild metallic polish that’s been round since 1905. This extra step lastly acquired the Forte wanting as near model new as doable. But Brasso’s noxious fumes have been in stark distinction to the pure cleansing merchandise we’d been working with, and there have been just a few faint splotches that we lastly gave up on. Sindelar pressured that “a little bit TLC incessantly will assist forestall buildup.”

If you see any cussed mould or dust remaining inside the inner threading, use a cotton swab to get contained in the grooves. Make certain you don’t depart any small cotton strands behind when performed. And earlier than reattaching the showerhead, pull off any outdated sealant tape from the threading on the arm, and exchange it with new tape to assist keep away from future leaks.

If you possibly can’t take away your showerhead, or if it’s on the smaller aspect, one possibility is to tie a bag of vinegar and water round it and let it soak in place. Tested on a showerhead just below 6 inches in diameter, I discovered this to be a a lot messier and inefficient methodology of cleansing. You can’t examine the water inlet for particles, which is a typical supply of slowness. Plus, tying a bag of liquid onto one thing positioned above you is awkward and probably messy. I gave the in-place methodology a shot because it’s a preferred bit of recommendation. And I got here away unimpressed, in addition to smelling of vinegar, after some spilled down my arms. That stated, if you wish to give it a go, right here’s how.

Take a few thick rubber bands and slide them over the bathe arm; you can additionally loosely connect a zipper tie. The level is to ensure your fastener is in place and prepared as soon as your different hand is attempting to carry a bag of liquid shut.

Fill a zip-top bag with an answer of 1 half distilled white vinegar to 1 half water. The quantity wanted to submerge your showerhead will differ relying on the scale of your mannequin. But one cup of every is an efficient place to start out; then add extra if needed. Fasten the zip-top bag tightly across the showerhead, ensuring the top is totally submerged.

I discovered it troublesome to each gauge the correct amount of liquid and maintain the bag on tight. Each time I believed I had sufficient vinegar to cowl the entire showerhead, I’d end tying the bag solely to seek out that the burden of the answer had pulled the bag down, leaving some areas uncovered. The first time I attempted this methodology, I ended up including a lot liquid whereas attempting to submerge the showerhead that I noticed a visual pressure on the bathe arm. Working with a handheld mannequin was a lot simpler, since I might unfasten it from the dock and let it soak in a bag sitting on the bathe caddy.

After you’ve let your showerhead soak for six to eight hours, comply with the identical steps outlined above to take away any remaining stains. Run the water to rinse out the vinegar, after which take a pleasant lengthy bathe to reward your self for all of your work.

This article was edited by Connor Grossman and Alejandra Matos.

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