How to Clean a Showerhead

After a session at the gym, a nice shower to rinse away the dirt and sweat sounds like a blessing, doesn’t it? Think about it this way – showerheads are supposed to clean you, but if you don’t make it a habit to clean them, how will they ever clean you?

Once your showerhead clogs, you will stop enjoying shower-time. A clogged showerhead starts squirting out water in different directions and the water flow becomes almost non-existent. Your showerhead can get clogged as a result of excessive deposits of minerals. If that is the case, you need to clean your showerhead.

A dirty or clogged showerhead entraps moisture that causes bacteria to grow. By unclogging your metal or plastic showerhead with reliable products that can easily break down the entrapped mineral deposits and kill bacteria, you can avoid the spattering of water everywhere and can protect your own health.

You need to thoroughly clean your showerhead at least once in a while. If you deep clean it once in a while, it’s not mandatory for you to remove it every time you want to clean it. The deep cleaning process is only to be done once every 6 months. You can do it a couple more times if you notice excessive deposits of minerals in your showerhead.

Showerheads are not the ideal place for bacteria to grow, but they are still found there. Despite the unfavorable conditions, such as the extremely high temperature of the water, the bacteria survive by sticking to the sides of the showerhead.

Every time the shower is turned on, the bacteria living in the showerhead escapes into the air. This means you’re actually inhaling in all the bacteria and microbes that end up in the hot shower steam.

The question that arises is can the bacteria you’re inhaling cause any diseases? Well, yes, they can. Showerhead bacteria can possibly be the cause of Nontuberculosis mycobacteria infection, which is a rare respiratory disease. Research also shows that at least one-third of showerheads contain bacteria that are responsible for various pulmonary diseases. Some types of bacteria found in the showerhead were also shown to be linked with the Legionnaires disease.

It is probably a good idea for you to check your showerhead for yucky stuff such as mold, mildew, bacteria or dirt. In order to avoid the accumulation of this stuff in your shower, its best  to clean it mildly at least once a week. Luckily, the process of unclogging a showerhead is simple, easy and quick. You don’t have to go looking for plumbers when you can do it yourself. Follow these 8 steps to deep clean your showerhead.


Unscrew the Showerhead


The first thing you’ll need to do is prepare your work space. You’ll be working with tools to remove the showerhead and that might damage something in your tub. It’s better that you cover the tub with a big cloth before unscrewing the showerhead to avoid any debris from falling or clogging the drain. Also, remove any items from the shower place such as shampoos, conditioners, soaps and body wash. Secondly, make sure to put on a pair of gloves for safety. After you’re done with this, you can now focus on disconnecting the showerhead carefully.

Removing a showerhead can be awfully challenging especially when it’s clogged due to mineral build-up. You can try loosening the showerhead using different tools such as wrenches, pliers or mallets. If one tool doesn’t work, you can try another one. Turn off the water supply as a precaution before you attempt to remove the showerhead. If you have a plastic showerhead, instead of a steel one, you need to be more cautious. Cover the connector of the fixture with an old cloth to protect the metal. Then grip the connector with pliers or wrench and turn it in a clockwise manner to unscrew it.

Inspect the Showerhead

You can inspect the showerhead to see how dirty it is. When a showerhead is attached to the shower, you might not be able to properly notice all the dirt that was accumulated on your showerhead.  You might find a thick layer of gunk on your showerhead. This gunk can be extremely hazardous and can affect your well being. If you open up and remove the shower cap from the showerhead, you will notice even more accumulated gunk and dirt such as mineral deposits. Scraping this dirt off won’t really do the job as it will still leave behind bacteria. Many people use toothpicks to clean the hole blockages in your showerhead. However, that may not be very effective.

To remove the gunk, you must soak the showerhead in bleach overnight. This will help remove the bacteria and clean up the dirt and gunk from all the crevices and holes in the showerhead. Here is what you have to do.

Take a Bowl

If you want to use bleach to remove the bacteria, here is what you have to do. First, get a bowl or bucket. A medium-sized plastic bowl or bucket is a great option for you. You need to ensure that the bowl or bucket is big enough to fit a showerhead. Since the showerhead needs to remain soaked in the mixture, the bucket or bowl should be deep enough to hold that much liquid.

Many people choose to put bleach in a plastic bag and wrap it around the showerhead while it’s still attached to the shower. However, that may not be completely effective for deep cleaning as the bleach might not be able to reach all the areas and clean up the dirt and gunk hiding deep inside the showerhead. Soaking it in a bucket or bowl, however, will ensure that the bleach reaches deep inside the showerhead and cleanses it properly.

Add Some Bleach

The next step is to add bleach in the bowl. Use the Home Store Bleach Javellisant by pouring in the plastic bowl. Bleach is one of the best substances that can be used to clean things in the bathroom and kitchen. It is very effective at getting rid of mold and mildew. It’s also an excellent option for cleaning a shower that is wet most of the time (in case everybody in your house showers in the same washroom). Bleach is also a great disinfectant and is popularly used in industrial purposes for that.

While using bleach, remember to handle it with care as it can prove to be dangerous. Chlorine bleach reacts quickly to other household chemicals such as vinegar or ammonia. Make sure to avoid mixing these substances with bleach. Also, avoid mixing chlorine bleach with warm or hot water as it might release chlorine gas, which is very harmful to human health.

Most of the showerheads are made of metal. Even though bleach doesn’t cause discoloration on metal surfaces, you should still be careful with your showerhead. We’re sure you wouldn’t want to purchase a new one.

Add Water

You can’t soak the showerhead in an entire can of bleach. (unless you really want to) So, it makes sense to make a proper solution that can cover the whole showerhead. The solution entails mixing bleach with water. While the recommended ratio is usually 1:1, you can also fill the bowl with 1 part bleach and three parts water. Mix the mixture using a plastic handle. Your solution is now ready for showerhead cleaning. Make sure too not use excess water or bleach. You can ensure this by using a mid-size bowl that is big enough to fit the showerhead.

Soak the Showerhead

Now, pick up the showerhead that you have unscrewed, and add it to the mixture. Make sure that you are wearing gloves, as bleach is very strong and can damage your hands.

There are other techniques that can be used to clean a showerhead. Most of them take only a few minutes, but they are not as effective as this method. Soaking the showerhead in a bleach and water mixture is the best technique to get rid of all gunk.

Keep It Soaked Overnight or At Least for 8 Hours


As this is a deep-cleaning method, this technique requires some time. Soaking the disconnected showerhead in this water and bleach solution overnight can considerably help dissolve the remaining mineral deposits and get rid of any bacteria present. If you don’t soak it overnight, some bacteria and germs may remain on the showerhead.

Take It Out Of the Bleach

After soaking the showerhead in bleach for 8 hours, you can take it out. Make sure you are wearing gloves when you are dipping your hands in the bleach to take out the shower head. Voila! You’ll find a clean, mineral and bacteria-free showerhead. Unlike other techniques, where you have to scrub the showerhead or clean the pores using toothpicks, this process is quite easy to execute. You don’t have to do anything, except make a bleach and water mixture.

After taking out the showerhead, make sure you rinse it thoroughly with high pressure water to drain out any excess bleach or any other clogged material.

Then, you’ll have to reinstall or reattach your showerhead. This process is not that difficult, but you’ll need to make sure that the showerhead is attached evenly and in a proper manner. Take the showerhead and place it evenly on the pipe and turn it in a clockwise or anticlockwise (depending on your shower) manner to screw it down. You can tighten the showerhead using a wrench or a pair of pliers. If you feel like the showerhead is still a bit loose, then you can use plumbing tapes to secure it tightly. Once you’re done with reattaching it, wipe off the showerhead and resume the water supply. Now you can enjoy your shower-time again!

Bottom Line

The bottom line is, every now and then, you may find your showerhead seriously clogged, causing water to spew in various directions. Not only do clogged showerheads make showering really annoying, but they can also cause a bunch of diseases due to the bacteria entrapped in it. The mineral deposits that clog a showerhead don’t only damage the showerhead but can also hurt your hair and skin. To maintain a steady water pressure and keep bacterial growth to a minimum, you should definitely clean your showerhead normally at least once a week and deep clean it after every six months or so.

Happy Showering!

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