5 Signs You Need to Clean Your Shower Head Before Using It Again, Experts Say

Concerning bacteria can build up if you're not cleaning it often enough.

Your shower may be responsible for getting you clean, but you are responsible for cleaning your shower—and that means every part of it. A dirty shower head can make your bathing experience less than ideal, serving as a breeding ground for some concerning bacteria. Despite this, most people don't give much thought to regularly cleaning this part of their bathroom. If you're guilty of letting your shower head go a long time without a good scrub, there will likely be certain indicators that your health may be at risk. Read on to discover five signs that you need to clean your shower head before using it again.

READ THIS NEXT: Never Start a Shower If You Haven't Done This First, CDC Says.

1
Your water pressure has gotten weaker.

Shower head with low water stream. Broken shower in the bashroom
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There is nothing quite as disappointing as getting in a shower where the water feels like it's barely sprinkling on you. As it turns out, reduced water pressure in your home could be the result of a dirty shower head affecting the flow, according to Karina Toner, a cleaning expert who works as the operations manager at Spekless Cleaning.

"If you've noticed a drop in water pressure in your shower, it's likely because of mineral buildup clogging your shower head's tiny nozzles," Toner explains. "This can be a sign that it's time to clean your shower head."

2
The shower head is spraying unevenly.

morning beginning of the day backlit sunlight bathroom female washing her hand with running water
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If you start noticing a difference in the way your water flows out while you're showering, that could also be a telling sign, according to Toner.

"When water sprays out of the shower head in different directions or flows out in an uneven pattern, it's often due to blockages caused by hard water minerals or grime," she says. "Cleaning the shower head can improve water flow and help distribute water evenly."

READ THIS NEXT: What Happens If You Don't Shower for a Month, According to Doctors.

3
You notice strange smells in your shower.

Shower man taking hot bath washing hair and body in hotel luxury bathroom. Relaxing skincare men beauty.
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You may be able to spot a dirty shower head with your nose. Lauren Doss, a cleaning expert and the owner of Nashville Maids, advises people to pay close attention to any strange odors that appear while they are showering.

"If you notice an unpleasant musty or earthy smell coming from your shower head, this could mean that there is a buildup of mold or mildew that needs to be cleaned away," Doss says. "Cleaning the shower head regularly will help keep these odors away."

4
There is discolored water coming out.

Low angle view of flowing shower head in the bathroom. Horizontal composition. Image taken indoors and developed from Raw format. Focus on water. Shower head and other background are blurred.
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You should also watch out for any concerning changes with the appearance of your shower water. Discoloration may be a sign that the shower head is too dirty for you to use, according to Justin Carpenter, a cleaning expert and owner of Houston-based cleaning company Modern Maids.

"If the water coming out of it has taken on a strange color, it is likely a sign that bacteria and other contaminants are building up," he shares.

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5
You see visible buildup on your shower head.

Dirty shower head in bathroom. Household chores, cleaning and housekeeping concept
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Finally, there's a sign that you should be able to see without much effort: visible buildup.

Both mold and mildew "thrive in damp environments like showers," and they're easy enough to see as they build up, according Michael Golubev, a cleaning expert and the CEO of Mold Busters.

"If you see black, green, or pink spots on your shower head, it's time to clean it to avoid potential health risks associated with mold exposure," he warns.

Golubey says you can also watch out for other visual signs. "Rust, limescale, or mineral deposits can cause discoloration or staining on your shower head," he adds. "Regular cleaning can help prevent these unsightly issues and keep your shower head looking fresh."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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