How To Clean Shower Head With Vinegar

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Do you know how to clean a shower head with vinegar, to remove hard water deposits that are blocking the holes and causing it to not spray as well?

How to clean a shower head with vinegar to remove hard water deposits {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
It is actually really simple to do.

All you need is the following:
  • Dirty shower head that has hard water deposits all over it

  • 1 cup vinegar

  • Plastic sandwich bag

  • Large rubber band or bag tie

Pour the vinegar into the sandwich bag and place the open end of the bag over the shower head so that the shower head is submerged in the vinegar.

To keep the bag from falling off the shower head use the large rubber band or bag tie to secure it around the shower head.

You should let the shower head soak for at least an hour, but preferably over night to let the acid in the vinegar do its job, and dissolve the hard water build up.

Once you remove the bag you can just wipe off the shower head with a soft cloth, and all the remaining particles of hard water build up should come off easily.

I've found that while the little particles of grit and hard water come off easily, to get in the small holes a gentle brushing with an old toothbrush can also be helpful.

Special thanks to a reader, Melissa, who sent in the before and after photos of her shower head that she cleaned with this exact method. Look at the difference, in the picture to the right, of all the hard water build up on the shower head and how the vinegar dissolved and loosened it for easy clean up!

Here's a video that demonstrates how this works, in action:

You can submit your own tips and recipes for the uses for vinegar around your home here, or read many other tips and ideas already submitted.

Taylor says: Here are links to buy this or related products. If you make a purchase I receive a small commission which helps support this site and my family.

How to clean shower head of hard water deposits with vinegar {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Top photo by stevendepolo

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Comments for How To Clean Shower Head With Vinegar

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Use a pin or needle carefully
by: Anonymous

It can damage the rubber inside the tiny holes. Very carefully poke the holes and remove the deposits hole by hole by wiping them on a paper towel to prevent re-clogging the holes and going down the drain. But the pin or needle can damage the rubber inside the holes if not done carefully and slowly. But shower will work so much better once deposits are completely removed!

Tough clogs
by: Melissa

My mom always soaked ours in Iron Out. Works like a charm.

Works for calcium
by: Anonymous

If your hard water spots are a calcium deposit, the vinegar will work. Does not work for silica deposits.

Baking soda and vinegar
by: Amy

I know taking off the shower head is a hassle, but I take mine off and place it in a bucket with baking soda. I then pour vinegar into the baking soda, which creates a bubbling chemical reaction. I do this a few times and then let it soak. The bubbles actually get into those holes and crevices. After soaking, I scrub with dish detergent and a toothbrush. The pressure and surfaces are like new!

I have super deposits
by: Katie

I have super deposits, but this did not work for me at all. I soaked mine for about 15 hours last weekend and then scrubbed with a toothbrush. Still clogged and cruddy. Maybe I'll try again this week.

works on my kitchen sink sprayer too
by: Anonymous

Good point about the screens Cami, they do hold minerals too! I soak my kitchen sink's sprayer head in a glass full of vinegar better than chemicals!

I soak in a dish
by: Cami

I take my head completely off and soak it in a custard dish (fits perfectly) I do the same with the faucet heads and screens too.

how long I soak
by: Kelli

I soak mine at night after all showers are finished. Leave it till next night when showers begin.

I do this too!
by: Theresa

I do the same thing! We pay ridiculous rates for crappy water. Our shower and other appliances are constantly breaking down from the buildup caused by our water.

Types of vinegar
by: Sally F.

Are there advantages to using specific types of vinegar? Or are they pretty much interchangeable? I have cider vinegar, and I'm wondering if I can use it in my laundry, and for other applications, such as soaking the shower head.

how I do it
by: Donna

I have a showerhead with hose attached that I can put down in the tub to soak. I fill a small container with vinegar and have it ready to put in the tub when I get out. I put a note to myself on the mirror when its time otherwise I'd never remember to get it out it till I was in the shower. LOL. It might work to have vinegar/baggie/tie ready the same way.

like new again!
by: Karen

I just did this with mine and it works like new again!!

need to do this
by: Stephanie

I really need to do this. Problem is... I only think about it while I am in the shower! As soon as I step out, the thought is GONE!

lemon juice
by: Dolores

Soaking it in lemon juice also works.

Laugh for today
by: Jean

I did this with an outdoor spigot. I took the bag off and my husband hitched up the hose and turned it on. He came to me in the back yard saying water was spraying everywhere. Turns out that the calcium and lime deposits were what was plugging up many tiny holes in the (very old) fixture!

The Vinegar Method Also Worked On My Kitchen Sink Sprayer!
by: Taylor

I tried to use my kitchen sink sprayer this morning, and it had just the most miserably puny little stream of water coming out. It has been spraying worse and worse for a while now, as the holes slowly seemed to be filling in with hard water deposits.

This morning it was just so bad I decided to take my own advice, and soak the sprayer in a bowl of vinegar. With just a couple of hours soaking it now sprays like new, and I didn't have to do anything at all! The vinegar just cleaned out all the little holes that I couldn't even crack with a toothpick before.

I will now personally attest you can use this method not only just for your shower head, but also for your kitchen sink sprayer too!

Yes, it should help loosen a blocked shower head
by: Taylor

Alice, thanks for the question.

Yes, if the blockage in the holes of your shower head is caused by hard water build up the vinegar, which is mildly acidic, should help loosen the deposits.

After you have thoroughly soaked the shower head in vinegar I would suggest getting an old toothbrush and rubbing it over the blocked holes, to allow the bristles to get in there are help remove the loosened deposits.

Hope this helps!

Will this work for clogged shower head?
by: Alice

My shower head has several holes where it is almost blocked, or totally blocked, by hard water build up.

Will this work to help remove the junk blocking it inside the holes, because I can't get in those little holes to get it out?


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CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.