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How to Clean a Showerhead

Get those clogged nozzles running like new in no time.

With its often clogged drains, showers with soap residue and less than stellar looking grout, the bathroom is probably on everyone’s weekly cleaning to-do list. But even in our most often cleaned room there are spots we sometimes overlook. If the water from your showerhead is shooting out in all directions, or your flow has become almost nonexistent, the holes in your showerhead are probably clogged with hard water minerals and soap residue.

Not to worry: Carolyn Forte, Executive Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, has a remedy for this situation — and you can use it without taking your showerhead off.

What You'll Need:

    1. Scrub the nozzles with a sponge and baking soda

    Start by scrubbing as much of the dry debris from the holes as you can with a scrubber sponge, and follow up with a paste of baking soda and water. Baking soda's abrasive quality will make it easier to wipe away debris that is stuck to the surface of your showerhead. Use the paste to scrub your showerhead and run the shower on hot to wash away the paste before you move on to the next step.

    Pro tip: Baking soda isn't strong enough to penetrate the holes on clogged nozzles or clean away any hard water stains

    2. Try soaking it in a vinegar solution

    If it's still not spraying straight, mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water (about 1/2 cup of each should be enough) and pour it into a plastic bag. Put the plastic bag around the showerhead so the holes are immersed in the liquid, and secure the bag to the shaft with a twist tie or rubber band. Allow it to soak for at least 15 to 20 minutes (up to an hour if you can).

    Pro tip: Be careful soaking high-end finishes like polished brass and oiled bronze for more than an hour. You can also dip a brush in vinegar and scrub the clogged nozzles instead.

    3. Finish by flushing the showerhead out with hot water

    Remove the bag and wipe away loosened deposits. Run the shower on hot to flush out the hard water minerals still stuck in the showerhead holes and you're all set!

    Can I clean my showerhead without white vinegar?

    If you prefer to clean your showerhead without white vinegar, you can make your DIY cleaner with apple cider vinegar — but it won't clean your showerhead as well and will cost you more. Don't try to use bleach as this can damage the chrome finish of most showerheads.

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