No offense — but your shower head probably needs to be cleaned

Clean Like You Mean It shows you how to tackle the trickiest spots in your home — whether they’re just plain gross or need some elbow grease. You’ll get the cleaning secrets we’ve learned from grandma, a guide to our handiest tools and helpers, and so much more. Pull on those rubber gloves and queue up the tunes: It’s scour hour!

Cleaning a showerhead seems counterintuitive, right? Doesn’t it naturally get clean as I’m taking a shower? Sorry, but no. As the shower runs, minerals in the water start to build up in the holes of the shower, eventually forming moldy pockets and causing your shower to run less efficiently. So before you step in for your next rinse, here’s how to clean a showerhead with just a few minutes of prep work.

Step one

Not all showerheads require a deep clean. If you wipe yours down frequently with a microfiber cloth or an old toothbrush (once after each shower is ideal, but even once a week will do the trick), there might not be much buildup to dislodge. But if you can’t remember the last time you cleaned it, or didn’t even know that this was something you have to do, it’s time to get down and dirty.

Grab a gallon-size Ziploc bag, white vinegar, baking soda, a rubber band or sturdy twist tie, a soft cloth, and a toothbrush. The combination of vinegar and baking soda isn’t just a fun science experiment; it’s the key to deep (and I mean deep) cleaning your showerhead. The baking soda will get rid of any nasty, pesty odors and the volcanic-like combination will thoroughly remove moldy mineral deposits and disinfect the showerhead.

Now let’s put this plan into motion! Carefully fill a plastic bag with three cups of white vinegar and ¼ cup of baking soda. Do this over the tub or sink in case it bubbles violently over (if you stayed awake through science class, you’ll know this is a real possibility). The bag should only be filled about two-thirds of the way. Next, submerge the showerhead in the bag filled with the cleaning solution and secure the bag using a rubber band or zip tie. Unless you have a brass or gold showerhead, let it soak for a few hours; otherwise, keep specialty metals to 30 minutes or less. Any longer may damage the finish.

Step two

Once you’ve let the showerhead soak, remove the bag and carefully pour the vinegar and baking soda mixture down the drain. Turn the shower on to its hottest setting and let the water run for a minute or two to remove any remaining mineral deposits or cleaning solution.

Step three

If your showerhead was super grimy to begin with, scrub the holes with an old toothbrush to unclog them. Doing so will also help improve your water pressure and ensure that you get to enjoy a steady stream of warm water every time you shower.

If you’re diligent about cleaning your showerhead, this step might not be necessary. Instead, polish the showerhead with a microfiber cloth, which will also prevent any pesky water stains from forming.


Need to really get in every nook and cranny of your showerhead? You’ll have a much easier time if you unscrew the showerhead, soak it in the solution, and then scrub it with a toothbrush in a sink. This is not only a much more comfortable way to clean the showerhead (no need to crane your neck!), but a safer method, too.

Next time you shower, revel in your squeaky clean environment. I know I will.


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