How to Remove Calcium Deposits from Shower Head

Seeing calcium deposits on your shower head are normal. After all, hard water contains a wide range of minerals including calcium and, since water passes through your shower head on a daily basis, it’s only natural that some of these minerals would end up sticking to your plumbing fixtures. This is true even if you use water softeners and particulate filters; they can slow down the buildup of calcium deposits, but they won’t completely prevent them from developing.

Technically, there’s nothing wrong with calcium deposits since they can’t really harm your health. However, they can be bothersome since they can block the holes of your shower head and cause it to have a reduced flow. They can also alter the direction of the water flow and make your shower head spray water on the shower curtain, the walls, and even the ceiling. On the aesthetic side, shower heads with calcium deposits also look unsightly and maybe even gross — something that you definitely don’t want particularly if you have guests over.

Your first instinct might be to buy a new shower head, but there’s actually no need to do so! This comes from the fact that there are several ways to remove calcium deposits in a quick and easy way. By taking these steps, you can clean your shower head and make it look like new within the shortest possible time.

Removing Calcium Deposits

There are two major ways to remove calcium deposits: use commercial cleaners or use items that you already have in your kitchen. We’ve listed both of them below, so it’s up to you which one you’ll choose.

Using Commercial Cleaners

If you’re short on time, you can use commercial products that are specifically designed to remove mineral deposits from bathroom fixtures and surfaces. Some of the best options are Bam, Lime Away, and Bar Keeper’s Friend, although you’ll likely find other brands in your local grocery store.

Many of these products are highly effective, but what you have to know is that their effectiveness comes from the strong chemicals that they contain. These chemicals can irritate your skin and mucous membranes and are definitely harmful to your lungs when inhaled, so you have to be careful when using these commercial products. Wear goggles to prevent these substances from entering your eyes, and put on masks and gloves to protect your lungs and hands. Of course, read the instructions on the product packaging and follow them to the letter.

Using Kitchen Ingredients

It might be surprising, but some of the best calcium deposit removers can be found in your kitchen. Using them is advisable if you want to go the natural route and minimize the amount of artificial chemicals that you and your family are exposed to. Of course, they’re also recommended if you want to save money and don’t want to spend your hard-earned cash on store-bought cleaners.

The most powerful kitchen ingredient you can use is vinegar. As an acid, it reacts strongly with calcium and causes mineral deposits to break down quickly and easily. But here’s the thing: you should not use vinegar if your shower head is made of iron, which breaks down when exposed to acid. If you’re not sure what your bathroom fixtures are made of, dip a cotton swab in some vinegar and rub it on a small portion of your shower head. If the metal rubs off on the swab along with the mineral deposits, then your shower head is made of iron. In this case, using commercial cleaners that are safe for iron is the best step you can take.

If you’re sure that your shower head isn’t made of iron, you can safely use vinegar to remove calcium deposits. Here are the steps you need to take:

For Removable Shower Heads

1. Get some distilled white vinegar and a bucket or bowl that’s large enough to hold the shower head. A toothbrush, a toothpick, and a piece of microfiber cloth are also great to have.

2. Remove the shower head.

3. Place the shower head in the bucket or bowl. Fill it with vinegar until the shower head is fully submerged.

4. Leave the shower head for two hours or even overnight, if possible. If your shower head is made from brass or if it has a gold or nickel finish, it’s advisable to let it soak for just 30 minutes to avoid destroying its surface.

5. After two hours or so, inspect the shower head and see if all the calcium deposits are loose enough. If they are, use a toothbrush to scrub them away. You can also use a toothpick to clean the holes of the shower head.

6. If you’re dealing with particularly tough mineral deposits, you can place your shower head in a pot that’s filled with equal parts water and vinegar. Make sure the water/vinegar solution is enough to cover the shower head. Put the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil for around fifteen. The heat and the vinegar should be enough to loosen the calcium deposits; if they’re still too stuck to your shower head, boil for an additional five minutes at a time until the deposits are loose enough to be scrubbed away.

7. Once all deposits have been scrubbed away, rinse the shower head and wipe it dry with the microfiber cloth.

8. Reattach the shower head to your shower.

For Non-Removable Shower Heads

1. Get some vinegar, a gallon-sized plastic bag, and a piece of microfiber cloth. You’ll also need a rubber band, twist tie, or a piece of string.

2. Fill the plastic bag halfway with vinegar.

3. Place the bag over the shower head. Be careful not to spill vinegar into your eyes.

4. Secure the bag using the rubber band, twist tie, or string. Get the help of a friend or a family member if you find it hard to do by yourself. Ensure the plastic bag is secured to the shower and that it won’t slip off and fall.

5. Leave the bag in place for two hours or overnight, if possible. Again, if your shower head is made from brass or if it has a gold or nickel finish, 30 minutes of soaking is enough.

6. After two hours or so, remove the plastic bag and use a toothbrush and toothpick to scrub the calcium deposits away from the surface and from the shower head holes.

7. Rinse the shower head and wipe it dry with the microfiber cloth.

Final Thoughts

Calcium deposits can be unsightly and may even affect the performance of your shower head. Fortunately, you can easily remove them by taking the steps listed above and make your shower head clean and sparkling again.

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