How to Clean a Showerhead

updated Jan 12, 2024
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Pretty, clean shower featuring showerhead

As the old proverb goes, the longer you wait to do something, the more work it will be later on. Nowhere does this rule of thumb apply more tangibly than cleaning. Days pass, messes get messier, and soon, something that could have been a quick, 10-minute maintenance job is now a whole deep-cleaning ordeal

Quick Overview

How to Clean a Showerhead

Your showerhead should be cleaned regularly, along with a deeper clean every few months. To clean a showerhead, wipe it down with your favorite all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. For a thorough clean, fill a plastic bag with white vinegar and attach it to your showerhead with a rubber band overnight (or remove the showerhead and submerge it in the bag), then rinse the next day.

Dirty dishes and loads of laundry can only go so long before they start to interfere with your functionality. It’s the hidden messes, accumulating in crevices and corners, that are the easiest to neglect — and that’s especially true if you tell yourself you don’t know how to clean it. 

Take your showerhead, for example. According to Irina Nikiforova, owner of the Los Angeles-based cleaning company Rocket Maids, many people delay cleaning them because they just don’t realize how easy it is — and then, over time, the showerheads become clogged with deposits, making it harder to clean.

To prevent an ordeal future you has to deal with, Nikiforova suggests cleaning your showerhead once a season — no more than every six months. How often you do it really depends on how hard the water is, as hard water more easily results in mineral buildup. “In Los Angeles, for example, we have very hard water and basic showerheads become clogged in a few months,” she says.

Read more: How to Know If You Have Hard Water (and What That Even Means)

Curious how easy it is? Here’s how to clean a showerhead, one step at a time. 

How to Clean a Showerhead Regularly 

To keep your showerhead in working order — and your bathroom looking presentable — you’ll want to clean your showerhead about once a week. You can clean yours more often or less, depending on how often you use your shower or how dirty it looks. Either way, with a little maintenance, those occasional deep cleans will be much easier. 

For a regular clean, Nikiforova suggests simply wiping down the entire showerhead with your favorite all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Or, you can use your all-purpose cleaner followed by a stainless steel polish spray for extra shine. Achieving a clean, shiny showerhead can be both fast and easy!

How to Deep Clean a Showerhead

Every few months, though, you’ll need to do a more thorough clean to remove mineral deposits and stave off germs from the head. Luckily, you probably have all you need to get the job done in your pantry: a plastic bag, a rubber band, and a few cups of white vinegar.

The job is easier than you think, but you’ll need to adjust the process depending on what type of showerhead you’re working with. If you have a regular, smaller, showerhead, then Nikiforova recommends simply filling a durable plastic bag (like a freezer or gallon zip-top bag) with white vinegar and attaching it to the showerhead with a rubber band. Then leave it overnight and wipe off the showerhead in the morning. (Tip: Use the same vinegar-and-baggie method for any faucet in your home!)

For a larger, rainfall-style showerhead, detach and place the head in a bag filled with vinegar, leaving it overnight. Rinse in the morning with tap water, and re-attach the head.

According to Nikiforova, vinegar has descaling superpowers (translation: It easily removes mineral buildup from your water). But be very cautious if you have marble bathroom tile or a natural-stone shower — even just a few drops of vinegar can damage it.

Can you use bleach to clean a showerhead?

Nikiforova doesn’t recommend it. “I’ve never heard from a professional cleaner that bleach is a good cleaning solution to use on a showerhead,” she says. “If you want to remove limescale, bleach simply won’t work because it’s an alkaline and you would need something acidic like vinegar to dissolve it.”

What is the black stuff coming out of my showerhead?

Don’t freak out; it’s probably not mold. According to Nikiforova, the black stuff is probably oxidized manganese, an element present in most water that tarnishes when exposed to air. “Regular tap water can contain this mineral and faucets, toilets, or showerheads might accumulate some deposits,” says Nikiforova. 

The vinegar method works great for all types of showerhead cleaning, but she suggests scrubbing shower head nozzles with an old toothbrush when you’re done with soaking it overnight. This will help with detailed cleaning of the shower head, and you can be sure that nozzles aren’t covered in bacteria, too.