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Nothing is quite as refreshing as stepping into the shower to get ready in the morning. Or better yet, a shower to wash away the day’s activities. A shower offers a soothing respite from our routine. 

But unlike the various areas in your bathroom, like the sink, toilet, and tile floors, the shower head gets the least amount of cleaning attention and often goes neglected. 

However, neglecting to clean your showerhead can have significant consequences. While the showerhead may appear clean on the outside, over time, our showerheads can accumulate dirt, minerals, and bacteria, which can greatly impact both hygiene and the quality of our showering experience.

​​To ensure optimal performance and showering experience, it is essential to regularly clean your showerhead.

So, if your showerhead is not showering you with as much force or is clogged, let me show you how to use vinegar to deep clean your shower head and revitalize your shower experience. 

How to Clean a shower head

What you’ll need


  • Vinegar
  • Plastic bag or container
  • Rubber band, zip tie, or duct tape
  • Cloth
  • ​Baking Soda

How to Clean a Shower Head

Step 1: Soak the showerhead in vinegar

The first thing you need to do is to pour vinegar into a plastic bag or ziplock. You’ll need a large bag to hold your shower head. Wrap the bag around the showerhead to fully encapsulate it and submerge the showerhead. Use elastic bands or duct tape to fasten and secure the bag around the shower head.

Alternatively, you can remove the showerhead from its base and soak it in a bowl of vinegar. 

The vinegar will help dissolve dirt, deposits, limescale, and calcium built up inside. Calcium buildup often looks white in color and crusty in appearance.

showerhead soaking in vinegar

Step 2 – Let the showerhead soak

Allow the shower head to soak in the vinegar for at least 1-2 hours. For heavily clogged showerheads, you may want to leave the showerhead a little bit longer in the vinegar soak for the best results.

Step 3: Remove showerhead from zip lock bag

Once the shower head has finished soaking in vinegar, you should untie the bag and remove it by pouring it down the drain. You may notice loose debris or mineral deposits floating around or coming loose from the shower head.  

Run the shower so hot water can quickly flow through the head and remove any build-up and remaining residue or vinegar. 

Step 4. Scrub away any remaining buildup

Use an old toothbrush and baking soda to scrub away at the surface, nozzle, and hard-to-reach areas of the shower head to remove the dirt. 

Use a toothpick to poke through the tiny holes of the shower nozzles to help unclog it. 

Rerun the hot shower to flush out the remaining dirt and debris. 

cleaning shower head with toothbrush

Step 5: Wipe down the showerhead 

Wipe down the showerhead with a clean, soft cloth to remove any remaining spots and watermarks on the shower head. This will help to polish the showerhead and make it look fresh again. The showerhead is now ready to be used.

If you remove the shower head, you will need to put it back on its base or shower arm. If you are having issues reattaching the showerhead to the shower pipe, here’s a step-by-step tutorial on attaching a showerhead. 

showerhead 1

Why should you deep clean your shower head?

Often overlooked, the significance of a showerhead in enhancing or diminishing one’s shower experience should not be underestimated. While it may seem like a minor detail to many, the truth is that it can profoundly impact the quality of your daily bathing routine.

With the average person dedicating approximately 10-15 minutes to showering daily, the showerhead is crucial in ensuring a satisfying and enjoyable experience.

In addition, not cleaning your showerhead can result in weak water pressure and clogged spray nozzles.

A clean showerhead can do the following:

  • Reduce the presence of bacteria and mold growing in the showerhead
  • Amplify low water pressure 
  • Improve the water flow rate
  • Relieve body aches and pains
  • Reduce water bill, especially if there is an existing leak
  • Enhance the functionality of the shower
  • Prevent clogs and blockages, ultimately saving you money on costly repairs or replacements.

Benefits of using vinegar to clean shower head

Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent. This natural cleaner is safe, non-toxic, and chemical-free, making it the perfect cleaning solution for households that prefer a more organic cleaning approach.

It also has powerful properties that can dissolve the buildup of mineral deposits and remove stubborn grime. 

Its high acidity and ability to kill germs make it the perfect cleaning agent to clean a dirty shower head without being too harsh or damaging. The vinegar solution will cut through some of the most stubborn dirt, dissolve soap scum, and break down the mineral buildup and limescale.

Additionally, vinegar has antibacterial properties, which help eliminate any bacteria or mold lurking in your shower head.

lime, baking soda and vinegar
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Additional Showerhead Cleaning Tips

If the showerhead is not cleaned, it can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and organic matter. Here are some additional cleaning tips to consider: 

Clean your shower head regularly: Depending on the water quality in your area, aim to clean your shower head once a month. You can alter the frequency if you live in an area that does not have hard water. Routine cleaning will improve the showerhead’s performance.

Avoid harsh cleaners: Vinegar is one of the safest and most effective methods when deep cleaning your shower head. Try to avoid using harsh chemical cleaners like bleach. These chemical cleaners can damage your showerhead.

Wipe down the shower head: Try to wipe down the shower head with a clean microfiber cloth after each use. This will help to remove any surface dirt and soap residue. 

What if cleaning the showerhead does not improve its efficiency?

If deep cleaning the showerhead does not improve its functionality, it might be time to replace it. 

How often should you clean a showerhead?

A showerhead should be cleaned at least once a month, especially if you live in an area with hard water. It is a good idea to monitor the showerhead by paying close attention to the jets and nozzle. Regular cleaning is optimal if you notice clogged showerheads or hard water stains. 

What are some alternative cleaning methods to clean showerheads?

If you don’t have vinegar handy, here are some ways to clean your shower head.

  • Baking Soda – Mix water with the baking soda to form a thick paste and cover the shower head with the mixture. Let it sit for an hour, and then rinse it off. Follow steps 3-5 mentioned above for best results. 
  • Use lemon – You can also use lemon juice to deep clean a showerhead. You would follow similar steps as you would cleaning with vinegar. 

I hope you have found this article helpful. A clogged and poorly operating shower head can alter your showering experience. However, using vinegar to clean your shower head regularly can improve performance.

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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