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How To Clean A Clogged Shower Head: Cleaning With Vinegar Is The Best Way

Have you ever been having a nice and relaxing shower when you look up at the shower head and notice it is all black and gross? Or have you been in the shower and notice that some of the holes in the shower head are blasting water in the wrong direction or they are not blasting you with water at all?

Before you run out and buy a brand new shower head, you need to know how to clean a shower head as more often than not a quick clean will get your shower head looking good and working great.

Why Do I Need To Clean My Shower Head?

How To Clean A Clogged Shower Head: Cleaning With Vinegar Is The Best Way

To start with, your shower head always has water running through it and I would bet that you never dry it off once you have finished a shower. This is a hotbed for bacteria and mold which is why it can start to turn a bit black and grimy.

Also, when the water is not coming out of the holes properly, this is because they are blocked. It could be blocked with little bits of dust and dirt, but most likely they are blocked due to mineral deposits in the water that have clogged them up.

How To Clean A Shower Head Without Removing It

You may think that you have to remove the shower head from your shower to clean it and you might actually have to do this.

However, let’s try cleaning it without removing it first as it is much easier and more often than not doing this will be enough to clear any blockages as well as get your shower head looking great.

What You Need

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Ziploc or a plastic bag
  • Scrubbing sponge


  1. Using a general (but new) kitchen scrubbing brush, give the shower head a good scrubbing. You may get lucky and this will remove anything that is blocking the little holes.
  2. You need to get a plastic or Ziploc bag that is big enough for your shower head to fit in. Now you want to fill this bag with a mixture of white vinegar and water. I actually prefer to use more white vinegar than water as I feel it cleans it better.
  3. Use a rubber band to tie the bag that is filled with white vinegar and water around the shower head. Leave it for around an hour and then come back and remove the bag.
  4. The holes should now be unblocked, you can run the shower as normal to finishing clearing out any leftover bits of mineral deposits.

You may also want to read How to clean a shower curtain.

How To Clean A Shower Head By Removing It

If the bag of vinegar does not do the trick, you will have to remove your showerhead to give it a really deep clean. Do not worry though as it is pretty easy to do.

What You Need

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Toothbrush (and maybe toothpicks if you want to be extra thorough)
  • A tub large enough to hold your shower head


  1. Remove your shower head. I wish I could tell you exactly how to do this, but it all depends on the kind of shower you have. Some will simply screw off by hand and others may require a screwdriver to get rid of some screws. No matter what kind of shower you have, it should be simple to remove the head.
  2. Using your sink, put the shower head under the faucet. I recommend turning it up full blast and let it hit the little holes as well as actually getting inside the shower head. This will hopefully loosen up any little bits of stubborn debris that may be stuck in there. An extra pro tip here is to watch out when you are doing this as there is a chance the water will blast you too!
  3. Using an old toothbrush, make a mixture of white vinegar and water in a cup and use it to give the shower head a scrub. You can actually use a toothpick if you really want to get into each of the little holes and make sure they are clear. I also like to use the toothbrush on the inside of the shower head, but I know not all designs make that possible.
  4. Filling a bag or a tub with a white vinegar and water solution, you then want to leave your shower head soaking in it for as long as possible. I would recommend at the very least an hour, but if you can leave it overnight then that would be best.
  5. Once the soak is finished, give your shower head a gentle rinse under the faucet and then reattach it. Some folks like to use a little bit of plumbing tape when they are reattaching it. In all honesty, I have never bothered doing this and never had a problem, but if you feel more comfortable adding it then go for it. Turn your shower on to check if the water is coming out properly.

Extra Pro Tip

If you have a fancy shower that has some kind of chrome or metal finish to it and you have to use a screwdriver or some other kind of tool to remove and reattach the shower head. I would advise that you use a towel or a bit of cloth to do so.

Try and avoid putting any kind of tool directly where it can scratch your shower. Use the towel or cloth as a buffer to take away the risk of scratches.

As you can see, giving your shower head a good clean is not as hard as you would think. Most of the time a good scrub with a brush is enough to knock loose anything that is plugging up the holes and preventing you from singing in the shower in style! However, if you do need to give it a deep clean, you now know exactly how to do it!

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You should also read The best way to clean a travertine tile shower.


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