How to Unclog a Shower Head

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Stepping into your shower, you may have noticed that the water flow from your shower head doesn't work as well as it used to. Take a peek at the nozzles, and you may be surprised at how much gunk accumulated within your shower head.

You can try to brush these off, but even the thin bristles of a soft toothbrush can't seem to remove the muck covering your shower head nozzles. Using soap to clean out the clogged shower head may even make the clog worse! 

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Why is Your Shower Head Clogged?

There are a couple of reasons why your shower head clogs up. The main reason is typically the accumulation of salts and other mineral deposits that come from hard water. On your shower walls and floors, these are also known as hard water stains. As these minerals build up, they can solidify and cause an obstruction in the shower head nozzles, leading them to clog up over time. 

Another cause of clogged shower heads is mold and mildew. Mold and mildew spores love moisture, and they feed off organic materials, soap scum, and even minerals from hard water stains. Once mold gets into your shower head, it may be difficult to remove as the mold would have run through the entire shower pipe as well. 

If you've been cleaning your shower head with soap, then soap scum is the most likely culprit for the clog in your shower head. Soap actually leaves residue, called soap scum, that can solidify and clog drains, faucets, and nozzles. Soap scum can also make shower walls look matte and musty. 

For any reason, a clogged shower head is often difficult to clean using the traditional cleaning methods of scrubbing with soap and water. The small nozzles make it difficult to thoroughly clean your shower head with the usual brushes. 

Modern bathtub with showerhead
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Unclogging Shower Heads

Using an easy and simple five-step method, you can conveniently clean your shower head without much hassle or effort on your part. When dealing with the tiny nozzles, you may not find a brush or scrubber small enough to clean out the nozzles properly. 

Step 1: Grab a small plastic bag

First thing's first, gather your supplies. You will need a small plastic bag, like a sandwich bag, that can comfortably fit over the nozzles of your showerhead. You will also need a rubber band to affix the bag onto the showerhead, strong enough to keep the bag on the shower head for a few hours to overnight. 

Step 2: Make a cleaning solution

Next, make a cleaning solution soak that will dissolve the clog. A mixture of baking soda and white vinegar works well to dissolve the minerals, soap scum, and kill the mold in the nozzles. The baking soda will also deodorize the shower head from any musty smell. 

Deep clean your shower head using the baking soda and white vinegar solution. Mix together a few tablespoons of baking soda into the bag, along with enough vinegar to fill the bag and soak the shower head. Place the bag with the solution onto the shower head, ensuring that each nozzle is submerged in the solution.

Step 3: Soak the shower head overnight, and let it sit

Allow the shower head to soak in the solution anywhere from a few hours to overnight. Make sure no one uses the shower head during this time to completely deep clean your shower head uninterrupted. If your rubber band can't stay still, use more than one rubber band to affix the bag onto your shower head. 

You can also soak the shower pipe the same way by detaching the body from the hose, filling the shower pipe with the same vinegar solution, and affixing a plastic bag over the opening to keep the solution from spilling out. Let the vinegar solution sit to work its cleaning power.

Step 4: Remove the bag and scrub, scrub, scrub!

The next day, remove the bag from your shower head and use a soft-bristled brush to scrub away at the loosened grime. If you cleaned the shower pipe, use a pipe cleaner to scrub the inside out before you rinse the body. If necessary, repeat the process with the same vinegar solution for tough clogs. 

Step 5: Rinse out the shower head

Reattach the shower head onto the hose, and let the water run for a few minutes on the hottest temperature setting. Allow the water to run for a few minutes to rinse out the remaining gunk, and wipe the shower head clean with some plain vinegar. 

The vinegar would be helpful to keep hard water stains and soap scum from forming on the shower head, and vinegar is also known to deter mold and mildew spores. If the buildup did not clear, you may need to repeat the steps until the clog is completely gone, and the flow of water is much better than before. 

White bathtub with shower head
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How to Prevent Your Shower Head from Clogging

If you have hard water in your pipes, there is little that you can do to prevent a shower head from clogging. One way is to install a water softener, but that may cost you some budget to spare for the unit, as well as recurring maintenance expenses for the upkeep of the device. Installation will also incur professional fees, as professionals will install the device to your main water line.

You can also spray a mixture of half-vinegar, half-water around your entire shower area - including your shower head, to keep soap scum and hard water stains from forming. This practice will be able to remove the buildup, and avoid the instances of clogs in your shower head nozzles and drainage holes.

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Keeping it Clean

An easier way to keep your shower head from clogging is to keep your shower area clean. Debris and grime often build up as a result of non-regular cleaning. Make your shower head a part of your routine cleaning each time you clean your bathroom.

For a full-on cleaning service, look no further than Luce Home. Our professional cleaning services will be able to clean your home from top to bottom, minimizing the chances that your bathroom fixtures get clogs and muck build up. Check out our website for a full list of services.

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