How to Clean a Shower Head, According to an Expert

Your bathroom isn't finished until you tackle this overlooked spot.

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If you've just cleaned your shower, you're probably reveling in its spic-and-span status. But before you celebrate, look up. No, not that high; this isn't an article about ceilings. Look at the shower head. Is it clean too? Or does it look a bit dingy? If it's a bit less than shiny, don't worry—you're not alone. The shower head is an easy thing to overlook while you're cleaning, since it's one of those out-of-sight-out-of-mind things. But since the water that cleans your body comes from the shower head, it's a good idea to give it a scrub from time to time. We reached out to Bailey Carson, head of cleaning at Handy, to tell us how to clean a shower head in just a few simple steps.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning a Shower Head

Below, we've outlined all the steps you'll need to follow to refresh your shower head. Just don't forget to give yourself a big pat on the back when you're done—or at least take a nice, hot shower.

Step 1: Make a cleaning solution

Homemade cleaning solution vinegar and water
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There's no need to spend money on a bunch of supplies to clean your shower head. The best cleaner for this job is one you can make at home. "Simply combine equal parts water and white vinegar to create an effective yet eco-friendly cleaning solution," Carson says.

Why is vinegar the perfect shower ingredient? Because the acetic acid is a solvent that breaks up mineral deposits, which is what builds up in the tiny holes on your shower head.

Step 2: Apply the cleaner to your shower head.

Cleaning shower head with sponge and gloves on
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Once you've mixed your cleaner, you can clean your shower head in one of two ways:

Method 1: Carson says if your shower head is removable, you can unscrew your shower head and place it into a bowl full of the cleaning solution.

Method 2: If your shower head isn't removable, simply place the cleaning solution into a plastic bag and, using a rubber band, tie it around the shower head. If you choose to use this method, it's important to ensure the entire shower head is submerged in the vinegar solution.

Step 3: Soak your shower head.

Shower head in bowl of cleaning product
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Let your shower head soak in the solution for a couple of hours. To allow enough time, you can start the process at night right before you go to bed or immediately after the last person in your home takes their daily shower.

Step 4: Rinse your shower head.

Cleaning shower head rinsing
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After soaking is complete, start the shower and run hot water for several minutes to flush the shower head and get rid of any excess white vinegar and debris. If you clean your shower head regularly or if it's new, this may be the last step you need to do.

Step 5: Scrub the shower head with a sponge or toothbrush to remove any remaining mineral deposits.

Cleaning shower head with sponge
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If your shower head was pretty dirty before you tried soaking it in vinegar, you may need to add a bit of elbow grease before it's sparkly again. Grab a toothbrush, dip it in the cleaning solution, and scrub the shower head, taking care to get inside the tiny holes as much as possible.

Step 6: Dry.

Drying shower head with cloth
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This step is optional, but to get your shower head as shiny as it can be, you can buff it off with a soft, dry cloth after cleaning.

Christin Perry
Christin Perry is a freelance writer covering health, lifestyle, and parenting. Read more
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