How To Clean Your Shower Head Without Vinegar The Easy Way

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How To Clean Shower Head Without Vinegar

Many say the best way to clean a shower head is to soak it in vinegar. While this method works, you need time and patience. I truly feel the most effective way to clean a shower head is to soak it in something stronger than a cup of white vinegar. In this article I will tell you how to clean a shower head without vinegar so you can get it done faster and easier than you would otherwise.

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I am not a big fan of using harsh chemicals in my home for cleaning but when it comes to mineral build up, if you don’t use something strong, it can take you a long time to dissolve the hard calcium deposits.

There are many different methods to clean a dirty shower head, but to remove mineral buildup efficiently, the best option is CLR (or Calcium, Lime, Rust). It says what it is for right there in the name, and it works better than other things I have tried.

How To Clean Shower Head Without Vinegar

The following steps outline the cleaning process I personally use for cleaning shower heads. I have found that it is the best cleaning method for removing mineral buildup from the holes in the showerhead and restoring water flow.

1// Fill a gallon size ziplock bag with enough CLR (Calcium, Lime, Rust) to cover your shower head. (read instructions for dilution if you have this concentrated CLR product)

2// With the water in the shower turned off, put the bag of cleaning agent around the shower head and secure it to the shower arm with a rubber band. You could also use a twist tie or hair elastic band if you don’t have rubber bands.

3// Let the clogged shower head soak in the CLR cleaning solution for at least 30 minutes.

4// Carefully remove the bag and turn on the hot water to your shower head. If the water flow is coming out freely from every hole, then you have successfully removed the mineral buildup. If not, put the bag back on and allow the shower head to soak another 30 minutes. Continue to repeat the process until all of the holes of the shower head are clear of buildup.

5// If the buildup is stubborn, try using a toothpick or old toothbrush to pick at or scrub the deposits out.

6// Do this routine on a regular basis to make cleaning your shower head even easier.

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Other Ways To Clean Shower Head Without Vinegar To Remove Mineral Deposit

Coca Cola

Another way to clean your shower head is with Coke. Coke is an acid, so it can dissolve calcium deposits and limescale. You can also use Coke in your toilet to clean limescale rings.

sliced lemons and bowl of lemon juice for how to clean shower head without vinegar

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is also an option because it is an acid. Follow the method above, substituting lemon juice for CLR to clean your clogged showerhead.

Because lemon juice is an acid, it can be used just like apple cider vinegar to clean mineral deposits from your shower head. But like using vinegar, this method takes much longer and you will have to pick at the deposits with a toothpick for a long time to get them to come out. [source]

The Easiest Way To Clean Shower Head Without Vinegar

The absolute easiest way to clean a shower head and keep it that way is to invest in a water softener. According to the Bob Vila Website and This Old Home Website, this Whirlpool Water Softener is the best on the market. [source] [source]

When you have a water softener for your home, it pulls the hard minerals out of your water supply. That way, they don’t get left on your shower head as hard water buildup. This means, you will forever prevent future clogs with this one purchase.

And as it turns out, you will also use less soaps like shampoo because they lather better in soft water. And a water softener will prevent hard water stains and soap scum without having to clean your shower with harsh chemicals.

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How To Clean Shower Head Without Vinegar: Outside Clean

So above I talked to you about removing mineral deposits from inside the holes in the shower head. Now, let’s talk about how to clean the outside of a showerhead without using vinegar.

Remove mold and mildew, get rid of hard water stains, wipe away soap scum and bring back the shine with the following cleaning products.

Dawn Dish Soap

Dawn dish soap is very versatile and can do wonders for cleaning chrome and stainless steel in order to make them shine. Dish soap is very good to use in between heavy cleanings. It can be used to keep the walls and fixtures clean and shiny because it removes oils and is effective against conditioners and creamy shaving cream. Dry the fixtures with a dry microfiber cloth to prevent water spots.

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Microfiber Cloths

When cleaning chrome or stainless steel, use a soft cloth like microfiber to wipe away the cleaning product and produce a nice shine. Using a microfiber cloth after a shower to wipe down walls and fixtures can also prevent some mold, mildew, and grout discoloration.

Bleach and Water Solution

Bleach solution is good for killing mold and mildew on any hard surface in your shower including the shower head. Never use straight bleach. Be sure to dilute it with equal parts water and take precautions like rubber gloves and a mask due to the strong smell. Make sure you know how to use bleach safely in your home before using in your shower. After using bleach, be sure to rinse the shower thoroughly with cool water before taking a hot shower which can intensify the fumes.

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Jet Dry

Jet Dry works wonders on stainless steel to keep it from getting water spots. Just put it in a spray bottle, spray your shower head, and wipe it down with a dry microfiber cloth like this one.

Products That Don’t Work On Mineral Deposits And Why

Castille Soap

Castille soap, like Dr. Bonner’s, is an alkaline solution. What this means is that instead of taking away the grime in your shower head, it could actually cause more buildup in your shower. [source]

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an unstable molecule that does not last long enough outside of it’s dark brown bottle to clean and dissolve calcium build up well. What hydrogen peroxide is good for is removing color from things. It is also good to use on porous surfaces like grout as a disinfectant.

Baking Soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is also an alkaline product. So it will not dissolve any mineral buildup. The reason people claim that it works is they are scrubbing the deposits off with the grittiness of the baking soda.

But there are easier ways…like dissolving the deposits with an acid and just wiping them away. So baking soda paste does not work, and you may even scratch your fixtures with the abrasiveness.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda is a base, which is what makes it a good cleaner in some cases that call for a base. Vinegar is an acid, which makes it a good cleaner in some cases that call for an acid.

But when you combine the two, you take away what makes them good cleaners by creating a neutral solution.

Please do not clean with baking soda and vinegar solution. They essentially cancel each other out and just create something close to gritty water.

The only time the combination is beneficial is during the oxidation state in the few seconds after they are combined and start to fizz. But since this lasts only seconds, the solution is not a good cleaning solution.

Abrasive Cleaners

Do not use abrasive cleaners on any shiny shower heads or fixtures. The abrasive component in the cleaner may cause scratches, leaving your shower fixtures no longer shiny.

Oven Cleaner

Oven cleaner is highly toxic. It can cause irritation to exposed tissue and your airways. [source]

When you use oven cleaner in the oven, you close off the fumes with the heavy oven door. But a shower is open to the air. Which means the toxic fumes can travel throughout your entire home.

How To Know When To Clean Your Shower Head

You should clean your shower head when you notice low water pressure in the shower, or you can visibly see that some of the shower head holes are no longer spraying water.

A routine cleaning can help prevent damage to your showerhead and possibly having to get a new showerhead. You should also clean your shower head if you notice mold, mildew, hard water stains, or soap scum.

FAQ’s: How To Clean Shower Head Without Vinegar

Will This Method Work For A Handheld Shower Head?

Yes. But I recommend placing the shower head on the floor of the shower and then securing the bag around it. Either that, or fill a large bowl with the CLR and place the shower head in the bowl on the floor of the shower.

What Causes a Clogged Shower Head?

Minerals present in hard water are what cause your shower head to become clogged. As the water runs through the shower head, some of the calcium minerals in the water are left behind on your shower head.

Over time, more and more pieces of calcium start to build up, eventually clogging your shower head.

Why Do You Need To Clean Your Shower Head?

You should clean your shower head so you can have better water flow in the shower.

What Makes Your Shower Head Dirty?

Not only can a shower head have mineral build up clogging the holes, but it can also become dirty with mold, mildew, hard water stains, and soap scum.

What If I Clean The Shower Head But The Water Still Does Not Come Out?

If you can visibly see that the mineral deposits have come out of the little holes in your shower head, but the water pressure is still low, you may need to do a few extra steps.

Remove the entire fixture, pull out the filter screen, and soak it in CLR for 30 minutes.

Rinse with a few cups of water and then put the screen back in the shower head and re-attach the fixture.

When you turn the water back on, it should come out stronger. If not, you may have a bigger problem going on and need to call a plumber.

What can I use instead of vinegar to clean shower head?

You can use any of the products recommended above, but I like using CLR the best.

How do you clean a shower head with baking soda without vinegar?

I do not recommend cleaning a shower head with baking soda. Baking soda is abrasive and will only result in scratching the finish of your fixture. If you are trying to remove mineral deposits, try using an acid like or different cleaning product that is listed above in this post.

What is the fastest way to clean a shower head?

Soak the shower head in CLR and then scrub the mineral deposits out with a toothbrush.

What home remedy can I use to clean my shower head?

Vinegar, lemon juice, and Coca Cola are three home remedies that can work to clean the mineral deposits out of a shower head.

Can baking soda clean shower head?

I do not recommend using baking soda to clean anything that has a shiny finish. Baking soda is abrasive and can therefore scratch the finish on your fixtures.

Can I clean my shower head with bleach?

You can clean your shower head with bleach in order to remove mold and mildew. But bleach will not remove hard water stains or mineral deposits.

Can I clean my shower head with hydrogen peroxide?

Cleaning yoru shower head with hydrogen peroxide is pointless unless you are trying to take the color out of it. It will do nothing for mold, mildew, or hard water.

How do you clean a shower head with Coke?

Submerge the shower head in Coke or place the coke in a plastic bag and secure it around the shower head using the shower arm and a rubber band. Allow the shower head to soak for at least one hour. Remove and rinse. Repeat if necessary.

How do you clean a shower head without soaking?

You can scrub it with a scrubbing sponge or cleaning brush to try to remove calcium deposits. You can also use a toothpick to try to dislodge the calcium deposits. Clean the outside of the shower head without soaking by spraying with a cleaning product like diluted dish soap and wiping with a clean and dry microfiber cloth.

Can a dirty shower head make you sick?


How often should you clean your shower head?

Clean it when the water holes start to get clogged up.

How do you deep clean a shower head?

Deep clean a shower head using a CLR or White Vinegar soak.

How do you remove scale from shower head?

The two best products for removing scale from a shower head are CLR and White Vinegar.

How do you remove hard water deposits from a shower head?

Remove hard water deposits from a shower head using a CLR or White Vinegar Soak.

Clean Shower Head

Enjoy the added water pressure you now have in the shower due to cleaning your dirty shower head. I hope you found this method fast and simple.

Happy Cleaning,

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