How to Unclog a Shower Head

We use our showers each and every day. Sometimes, we even use it two or three times in a single day. And depending on the size of your household, you may not even know how many times in just one day your showers get used.

Let’s admit that there is a certain group in the population that want to feel clean all the time. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with cleanliness. The point trying to be made here is that the more showers are used, the more mineral deposits build-up.

You see, water contains calcium and other mineral deposits. Eventually, with much use, these deposits cause your showerheads to clog up. When you start noticing that the water spouted isn’t as strong as before, then you have a clogged shower head. While the buildup of minerals on your shower head isn’t necessarily harmful, it does affect the flow of water.

Now, the unclogging of showerheads isn’t a process that requires you to expend much energy. In fact, unclogging a shower head is one of the simplest among all the clogs. That said, it can take a long while before the fruits of your labor reap rewards. Showerheads can be unclogged using any of the following methods.

Method #1: Soaking The Shower Head In Vinegar

1) Know why the clog happened.
The screening material and disk of your shower head is made up of fine mesh and holes. As water keeps pouring, a buildup of mineral deposits collects in the mesh and holes over time. When a problem occurs, you’ll notice that your shower head has hardened lime and particulate matter in them.

2) Remove the swivel nut ball connecting the showerhead to the mounting collar.
Your showerhead can be removed and some models have a swivel ball nut that can be unscrewed so you can clear the blockage in your shower head. Although the internal parts can be removed fairly easy, you will need the help of a wrench to get the showerhead off the pipe.

3) Keep note of how the shower head was assembled.
The last thing you want is to solve the problem of the clogged shower head only to have none because you forgot how everything went together. If you really want to be sure, you can draw a diagram so you know how it looks when it is put together. But if you’re fine with just your memory, just make sure that you remember everything clearly. You don’t want to be frustrated and waste a lot more hours in your day just putting back a showerhead.

4) Soak the parts in a solution.
Although the section mentioned soaking the showerhead in vinegar – white vinegar to be exact – you can also use a lime cleaning solution. If the buildup of lime is quite massive, heat the vinegar prior to soaking the showerhead parts until they are hot to the touch. Since the soaking process will take about five to six hours to take effect, make sure you do this when the shower won’t be in use (probably when you’re headed to bed and everyone has done their business in the bathroom). Although soaking the showerhead in solution will dissolve much of the lime, not everything will be removed. In fact, some residue might still be in the mesh of the screen, in the threads and in the small holes around the disk.

5) Use a small wire brush to scrub lime that didn’t dissolve.
As mentioned earlier, some lime deposits will not completely dissolve even when you’ve soaked the showerhead for more than five hours. What you can do is use a wire brush to remove them. If you don’t have a wire brush, the straightened end of a paper clip will do. After doing this, soak the items once again to give it that final touch – but just for a few minutes this time. Rinse the items after getting them out of the soak.

6) Reassemble the showerhead and test.
You don’t just expect your shower head to work once you screw it back on. So once you successfully assemble your shower head, check the water flow and check for leaks as well.

Lastly, don’t wait for years before taking action on your showerheads. Don’t wait until the water flows slowly before you look up and realize a ton of lime deposit has formed. Even when these deposits haven’t made their mark, try to clean your shower head as many times as possible throughout the year. If you can’t supply the time, try making it a yearly habit.

Method #2: Boiling The Shower Head In Vinegar

  • Remove the showerhead from the hose.
  • Fill a large pan with a solution that is half water, half vinegar. For extreme cases, add a whole lot of vinegar.
  • Bring this mixture to a boil then soak the shower head into it.
  • Keep this boiling for about 10 to 15 minutes. You may have to burn longer if the deposit is too large, but if you have a plastic shower head, don’t boil for more than 20 minutes. Or, you can take the showerhead every couple of minutes to cool it down.
  • Rinse the showerhead then assemble it again.

What if the Shower Head Can’t Be Removed?

There are instances when a shower head can’t be removed or you’re too scared of breaking it. In that case, what you can do is the following:

  • Look for a plastic bag that is large enough to fit your shower head.
  • Mix 1/3 cup baking soda with one cup white vinegar in the bag. Baking soda reacts with vinegar causing it to bubble. Since that is the case, do this on a sink.
  • Attach the bag to your shower head using a rubber band. Make sure that every inch of the showerhead is covered by the bag. Vinegar is acidic and that acid reacts with the sodium bicarbonate contained in baking soda. The result is a strong cleaning agent called carbonic acid.
  • Let the bag stay on the showerhead overnight.
  • Remove the bag and wipe the showerhead with water until the solution sticking to it is gone. Run the water to make sure everything is fine.

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