How to Clean a Shower Head

By Sarah

22nd Sep 2023

6 mins read

DIY & Technical

Daily showers plagued by weak flow? Water shooting off sporadically? You may need to give your shower head a good clean! Here's a tutorial on how to clean your shower head effectively in 5 steps.

cleaning shower head

If your daily showers have started to get a weaker flow and you’ve noticed water shooting in different directions the first thing to check is whether you have a water pressure problem. If not you may need to check your shower head for limescale.

Most shower head blockages are caused by limescale, a grubby, chalky, off-white deposit on your shower head’s face. While it’s completely harmless to humans, limescale is unsightly and can massively detract from the look of your bathroom and the effects of your water pressure. Even if not immediately visible, limescale is likely to have built up within the head itself, blocking individual ducts, reducing flow, and causing peculiar spray patterns.

shower nozzles

There are effective ways to unclog even the most chronically clogged shower heads. Before you rush to buy a replacement, you may find it worth your while to give the following cleaning guide a go. In a few simple steps, and with the help of a common household product, we’ll teach you how to clean and descale the two most common types of shower head.

Cleaning a handheld shower head

  1. Step 1 - Remove the shower head
  2. Step 2 - Mix together baking soda and a little water into a thick cream
  3. Step 3 - Apply the mixture to the shower and let it sit
  4. Step 4 - Scrub and rinse thoroughly in warm water
  5. Step 5 - Run shower for 30 seconds
hansgrohe crometta shower head

Step 1

First things first, you’ll need to remove that poor shower head. Most modern shower heads should simply screw off with little effort, though you may need to use a small spanner on stubborn older ones. Once unscrewed, you may find a small rubber washer within the hose connector. Make sure you keep this safe as without it, your shower will almost certainly leak water from this connection.

Step 2

Take your limescale ridden shower head and place it in a plastic container. Then, mix together baking soda and water into a creamy paste. You don’t need an expensive, dedicated shower head cleaner, household items like baking soda and dish soap can do wonders if used on a regular basis. 

Step 3

Apply this mixture to the shower head and leave for 30 minutes while it breaks down those pesky limescale deposits. 

Step 4

After letting the baking soda break up the limescale, grab a cleaning toothbrush and scrub away any excess dirt. Then rinse thoroughly in warm water. Be sure to spray some water inside the handset to help dislodge internal limescale. Finally give it a good scrub with clean sponge if there are still minor blemishes.

Step 5

Next, polishing the unit with a soft cloth to really bring it back to life. Then reattach your clean shower head, then run the shower for at least 30 seconds before using. This is crucial as it will flush out any residual vinegar and bits of limescale into the shower tray and down the drain.


Cleaning wall/ceiling mounted shower heads

  1. Step 1 - Remove the shower head
  2. Step 2 - Mix together baking soda and water to make a creamy paste
  3. Step 3 - Apply the paste to the shower head and let it sit for 30 seconds
  4. Step 4 - Rinse it thoroughly in warm water and scrub
  5. Step 5 - Brush away any remaining blockages
Square Rain spray shower head

Step 1

Most overhead showers are difficult to remove, making them a little more troublesome to clean. However, a few showers do feature quick release mechanisms. Be sure to check your own before following the next steps on how to clean a shower head; you may be able to remove it and then simply follow the steps above.

Step 2

Most cleaning items can be found around the house. For this method, grab some baking soda and mix with a little water to make a paste.

Step 3

Paste this mixture all over the shower head including the nozzles and let it activate for 30 minutes

Step 4

Using an old toothbrush, scrub away the loosened limescale, then wash warm water.

Step 5

Brush away any remaining dirt, re-attach your shower head and let your shower run for at least 30 seconds before using it, and you’re good to go!


Preventing limescale build up in your clean shower head


Now you've learned how to clean a shower head, you may be wondering how to keep it limescale free. All it takes is a pretty simple maintenance routine. Take a few seconds after every shower to ensure your shower head is dry by using a small towel to wipe off any surface water. We also recommend removing the shower head once a month (if you can) to rinse away any small pieces of limescale on the inside before they become problematic. Stick to these two pointers and you’ll significantly reduce the chances of limescale returning.

Still struggling to descale a shower head?


In most cases, the above methods to maintain and descale a shower head are highly effective. However, if you’ve repeated these steps and your shower head remains blocked, a brand new one may be your only option. Check out a handful of our recommended shower heads at the bottom of this page, all selected for their innovative easy clean features.

Finished with the bathroom? Why not move onto the kitchen with our composite sink cleaning guide!

Sarah Victorian Plumbing


Sarah is one of our resident bathroom experts here at Victorian Plumbing. She loves writing helpful bathroom design and DIY articles, as well as detailed buying guides.

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