How do I remove a restrictor valve on a shower head?

Federal regulations force shower head manufacturers to limit the water output of modern shower heads to 2.5 gallons of water per minute. The output limitation preserves water, but also produces an undesirable effect for consumers: low water pressure. To limit water flow, manufacturers place a small plastic screen in the head, called a flow restrictor. The flow restrictor partially blocks water from passing through the shower head, reducing the water output per minute. The restrictor is removable with just a few adjustments to the shower head, allowing you to take a high-pressure shower with a flow-restricted shower head.

Remove the shower head from the wall. To remove, unscrew the shower head from the pipe protruding from the wall. If the shower head is stuck, wrap the end of an adjustable wrench with tape to prevent scratches, then use the adjustable wrench to remove the shower head. If using a hand-held shower head, remove the hand-held unit from the hose by unscrewing the bolt where the hose meets the unit.

Turn over the shower head and look into the valve for the flow restrictor. The flow restrictor is a plastic piece in the centre of the head and is often brightly coloured.

Pry the flow restrictor out of the shower head using a flathead screwdriver.

Wrap the threading on the pipe protruding from the wall with thread seal tape, then reinstall the shower head.


If the flow restrictor is unable to be removed by prying, use an electric drill to drill through the flow restrictor, which will break the restrictor and make it easier to remove.

Things You'll Need

  • Masking tape
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Thread seal tape
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About the Author

Andrew Todd has been writing since 2006. He has written for the Consumer Search website and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida. Todd has a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida.