How to Clean a Shower Head with Vinegar and Baking Soda?

Who hasn’t experienced a clogged shower head? It’s a very frustrating and inconvenient thing that happens often or a little too often. And there’s no way we can avoid that, especially if you’ve been using that shower for a long time.

But why does it happen? Over a period of time, hard water deposits or mineral deposits can build up around your shower head caused by the accumulation of soap scum or lime soap. This could cause several issues like clogging your shower head, reducing water flow, etc.

But you can easily remedy this by using two popular ingredients from your kitchen, vinegar, and baking soda. But is it safe to use these ingredients on a shower head? If yes, how to clean shower heads with vinegar and baking soda? Let’s take a look.

How to Clean Non-Removable Shower Heads With Vinegar Solution?

You shouldn’t be surprised to know that you can easily get rid of a clogged, messy shower head with vinegar. Just put it in vinegar, and it’ll do the work. But how would you dip your non-removable shower head in vinegar? Let’s take a look at the step-by-step procedure.

Cleaning With Vinegar

Required Tools & Materials:

  1. Vinegar
  2. Toothbrush
  3. Plastic bag
  4. Rubber band/cable wire
  5. Microfiber cloth

Here is a step-by-step process you can follow in cleaning your non-removable shower head:

Step 1. Inspection

Clean any visible dirt that can be brushed off the shower head before soaking it in the chemicals.

Step 2. Fill a Plastic Bag With Vinegar

Now, take a plastic bag and fill it with enough vinegar to fully immerse the showerhead.

Step 3. Tie the Plastic Bag around the Shower Head

Take the filled plastic bag and tie it around the neck of the shower head carefully using a rubber band, ensuring there is no spillage or leakage.

Step 4. Soak the Shower Head

Leave the shower head soaked in vinegar for a few hours or overnight if the accumulation of the dirt or buildup is too much.

Step 5. Remove the Plastic Bag

After the shower head has been soaked enough, remove the plastic bag and run a hot shower to eliminate any leftover dirt stuck inside the shower head.

Step 6. Brush the Shower Head

Finally, you can gently brush each hole of the showerhead under running water to clean it thoroughly and then wipe it with a microfiber cloth.

How to Clean Removable Shower Heads With Vinegar?

There is another way to clean your shower head that is removable from the shower pipe.

Required Tools & Materials:

  1. A bottle of vinegar
  2. A toothbrush
  3. Bucket/container
  4. Soft cloth

Instructions for cleaning a removable shower head with vinegar:

Step 1. Remove the Shower Head & Clean Visible debris

Firstly, remove your shower head carefully and brush off the dirt with an old toothbrush.

Step 2. Fill a Bucket with Vinegar

Take a bucket and fill it with enough vinegar to submerge the showerhead.

Step 3. Soak the Shower Head

Dip your showerhead in the vinegar-filled bucket for a few hours. You could leave your showerhead soaking overnight if the debris or deposits are too hard. But if the fixture has a brass or nickel-coated finish, take it out after half an hour as it could damage the finish.

Step 4. Remove the Mineral Deposits

Remove the shower head from the vinegar solution once it has been thoroughly soaked. Next, take a brush and sweep up any loose dirt. This should be done in the shower drain with flowing water.

Step 5. Run it through water

Run the shower head through the water once again and then fix it back to the main shower pipe. Finally, turn on a hot shower to check whether the water is flowing freely and the water pressure is adequate.

Can Vinegar Damage My Shower Head?

Yes, vinegar could damage your shower head in some cases. It is an acidic solution that eats up or corrodes metals with prolonged exposure. If your showerhead has iron, brass, or nickel-coating, soak it for no longer than 30 minutes to avoid damage.

How to Clean a Shower Head With Vinegar and Baking Soda?

If your shower head has solid, stubborn mineral and water deposits, it may not be cleaned adequately with just vinegar. In that case, you need to bring another magical ingredient from your kitchen, baking soda.

Yes, being acidic, baking soda can easily remove the dirt and debris stuck in your shower head. And when it’s used with vinegar, the result is a clean, shining, and unclogged shower head.

Cleaning Shower Head

Required Tools & Materials:

  1. Baking soda
  2. Vinegar
  3. Ziploc bag
  4. Rubber band/cable wire

Once you have all the materials, follow the stepwise instructions, and your showerhead will work fine again.

Step 1. Prepare a mixture of Baking Soda & Vinegar

Take ½ cup of baking soda in a Ziploc bag and add enough vinegar to submerge the showerhead.

Step 2. Let It React

As you add the vinegar, you should see some bubbles forming in the bag. The mixture will now become a paste-like solution.

Step 3. Soak the Shower Head in the Solution

Soak the showerhead in this solution/paste properly by tying the bag around its neck with a rubber band or cable wire. Allow it to soak overnight.

Step 4. Remove the Shower Head & Rinse It

Once soaked well, remove the bag and run a hot shower. Check the spray holes and ensure the shower is running fine. Once everything is in order, rinse the showerhead and get ready to take a shower.

Warning: Make Sure that the shower head is brass or nickel coated. Otherwise, the acid in vinegar or baking soda will eat off the coating and ruin the metal finish. In this case, soak it for just half an hour. 

Precautions to Take While Cleaning a Shower Head With Vinegar And Baking Soda

Everything we do has a fair share of threats or things to look out for; this is no exception. When cleaning a shower head with vinegar or baking soda, it’s all a chemical reaction doing the work; hence, we need to be cautious about some things.

  1. If you want to clean a metal shower head, it’s best to use diluted vinegar to avoid damaging the metals.
  2. When using baking soda, be careful with a glass shower door, glass shower enclosure, or even marble and quartz, as it could leave scratches.
  3. Only use white vinegar as it does not contain a coloring agent.

Other Methods to Clean Clogged Showerheads

1. Lemon juice: Lemon juice is a good option if you have a removable shower head and want to go with natural products. It has citric acid that will dissolve mineral build-ups as vinegar does and works like magic for clogged shower heads. 

Cleaning With Lemon

You will need:

  1. Lemon
  2. Container
  3. Hot water
  4. Brush

Simply Take 3-4 lemons and squish them in the hot water container. Then, place your showerhead in the container and leave it for about half an hour. After that, remove the showerhead, gently brush off the debris, and rinse it.

2. Coca-cola: As silly as it sounds, it has been tried and found that coca-cola is an excellent alternative to a clean showerhead because of its grease-busting ability, and that’s because it has phosphoric acid. 

All you have to do is remove your showerhead, add some detergent and soak it for half an hour. For a non-removable shower head, fill a Ziploc back with this solution and wrap it around the shower head. Finally, brush it off and rinse it after about an hour.

3. Simple detergent: This method won’t work for a serious case, but it sure does help if you’ve been cleaning your shower head regularly and there are not many mineral deposits. This method will be the safest for your metal showerheads which are reactive to acids. 

All you need to do is mix the detergents like dr Bronner soap with water and make a cleaning solution, then soak the showerhead and brush it until the dirt and debris are gone.

How long should I keep my showerhead in vinegar?

If your showerhead is extremely dirty, it is advisable to keep it soaked for several hours or even overnight. But if you have a brass, iron, or nickel-coated showerhead, don’t keep it any longer than 30 minutes as it could damage the finish.

What kind of vinegar do you use to clean a showerhead?

Distilled White vinegar and cleaning vinegar are the best for cleaning as they are more refined and have more cleaning power than other vinegar.

How often should you clean your showerheads?

Even if your showerhead doesn’t look filthy virtually, it is advisable to clean it every week to avoid severe buildup. Since water runs almost daily, a dirty shower head can become a breeding place for bacteria.

Is bleach cleaning a good option?

Cleaning the showerhead with bleach is a strong no. It is one of the many harsh chemicals that could damage your showerhead; on top of that, it has been known to burn human tissue.

As neglected as it is, cleaning the showerhead frequently is a must as hard water stains are unsightly. Not only that, we use showers almost every day to cleanse ourselves, and if they are not clean, it could even cause serious skin and health issues.

Cleaning the showerhead should be a regular ritual, and it is not rocket science and can be done at home without professional help. If you find these cleaning tips useful, don’t forget to check out our other home improvement tips.

  1. Showerheads – the United States Environmental Protection Agency
  2. Bathroom Cleaning Tips – American Cleaning Institute