How to Clean a Shower Head?

clean-shower-head-blog (1)

Are you tired of your shower playing up? Have you checked your shower’s water pressure and that’s not the problem? If you answered yes to both stay tuned, because we have all the information you need on how to clean a shower head.

Signs that your showerhead needs a deep clean

Before we talk to you about how to clean your shower head, we have provided you with a checklist. If you answer yes to one or more of the following, then it’s time to descale that shower head:

  • Does your shower fluctuate water pressure?
  • Does your shower sporadically spray water?
  • Are more than three of your shower’s ducts not working?
  • Are there visible signs of limescale or build up on the head? (not always applicable)

Now that you’re certain your shower head is blocked; we have broken down several reasons this happens and how to prevent it from happening again.

Why does my showerhead get blocked?

You may keep your bathroom clean religiously and therefore wonder why your shower head would block? Shower heads are constantly releasing large amounts of water and over time these water droplets turn into mineral deposits, that calcify overtime and eventually solidify.

This will then cause the shower holes to fill with dirt and debris and leave your shower working at half of its capacity due to water not being able to push through the hard build up.

Often, the build-up of debris will be visible on your shower head, in the form of white chalk-like limescale. Not only does limescale build up look nasty but it also affects the quality of you shower and takes away it’s lovely sparkle.


Sometimes limescale isn’t visible on the outside of your shower head but will have filled the inside of shower ducts. Once the ducts have become blocked this is when your shower will have intermittent water flow – not good!

What now?

Don’t go and buy a new shower head just yet. Follow our step by step guide full of simple & easy steps. Your shower will look as good as new and your water flow levels should return to their perfect level once more!

How to clean a ceiling/wall mounted showerhead

Ceiling/Wall mounted shower heads are harder to clean than handheld showers because more often than not, they cannot detach from the wall or ceiling without calling in a plumber. However, overhead showers can still be salvage from the dreaded limescale.

Step 1

If your shower does not have a quick release function, you may have to take down the shower head.

No biggie, take a look at Milano’s quick video on How to Remove A Shower Head

 If you couldn’t/ didn’t want to take your shower head off, not to worry, just follow the next steps.

Step 2

Once the head has been removed grab some white vinegar (make sure it is white distilled vinegar) and a strong plastic bag. Yep, that’s right. These are the only tools you will need.

Step 3

Fill a plastic bag with vinegar. Make sure you’re using white vinegar and use a generous amount as it will need to fully submerge the shower head.

Step 4

Place the fixed shower head in the vinegar and tie the plastic bag up carefully with a rubber band or string. If you didn’t take the shower head off, take a look at how our diagram below.

Step 5

Mission remove limescale is almost complete. Leave the shower head immersed in the vinegar for 1- 2 hours to make sure all that dirty limescale has been broken down by the acidic deposits in the vinegar.

1 hour

Step 6

Step 6 – Un-tie and start removing the bag from the shower head. Take a toothbrush to scrub away any excess debris.

Step 7

If you detached the head, refer back to our ‘How to Remove A Shower Head – to put the shower head back up.

Step 8

Now the head has been reinstalled make sure you turn on the shower and let hot water run for 30 seconds. This will help clear the ducts thoroughly.

Step 9

Give the head a final polish with some CIF cleaner and tah dah!

How to clean a hand held/elbow showerhead

Handheld or elbow shower heads are easier to clean due to their flexibility.

handheld shower

Remove handheld showerhead

There are two ways to remove a handheld shower head. So let’s get down to it:

With most modern shower models, you should be able to easily unscrew the head from the hose with little effort. If this is not the case and you can’t take the head off at all, try and remove the head & hose from the shower set as described below:

First thing you need to do is remove the handheld shower. They usually have a hose that connects from the wall to the head. Follow the hose where it connects to the wall. Clamp an adjustable wrench around the area where the hose meets the wall pipe and turn anti-clockwise.

Once loose you should be able to unscrew the rest by hand. Drain any water left in the hose.

a spanner next to a showerhead

Get a bag & white vinegar

Now that the clogged head has been removed, take a plastic bag filled with white vinegar and submerge the limescale infested head in the bag. Secure bag with an elastic band. Leave it to soak and break-down the build-up for around 1-2 hours.

The longer the head is left in the vinegar, the more likely it is to get rid of the blockages.

Top tip – Pop the plastic bag in the kitchen sink to avoid any drips or spills.

Leave vinegar to soak

After 1-2 hours the vinegar should have worked its magic and removed the limescale.

However, the shower head will require a quick scrub. Have an old toothbrush handy (make sure it’s an old one, you don’t want vinegar to be the first thing you taste the following morning) to really deep clean your shower nozzles.

The vinegar should have already done the majority of the cleaning work, so a quick brush will take away any leftover debris


Then, a quick polish

Give your handheld shower head a last polish with a cloth and re-attach to your shower system. It is very important to turn on the shower head and leave hot water to run for 30-60 seconds to wash away and lingering dirt.

handheld shower clean

Still trying to descale that showerhead?

If you’ve tried and failed to descale your shower head using our step by step guide, you may require something stronger.

White vinegar has a high success rate when it come to the fight against limescale. So, it may be that your build up has been lingering for a while, therefore the limescale is harder to breakdown.

We would recommend trying ‘The Pink Stuff’ by Stardrops as a last resort. This isn’t a harsh chemical but is renowned for its excellence in dealing with tough dirt.

If you have tried professional products to get rid of the dirt build up, it might be time to admit defeat and purchase a new shower head.

Below we have listed some of our bestselling handheld showers & shower heads all designed to have silicone nozzles, making it easier to clean away any limescale deposits.

How to prevent another build up of limescale

Limescale build up can be avoided by following these simple steps:

  • Wipe down your shower head, ducts, and face with a dry towel. Doing this will not allow droplets of water from the shower/ condensation to be absorbed into the head and overtime allow build-ups to develop.
  • Repeat our vinegar trick every month or so to keep on track and removed any small amounts of limescale debris.

If you follow our guidance, you’re shower head should look brand-new all year round!

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