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How to Descale a Showerhead

Updated March 23, 2017

Lime scale or other mineral deposits lodged in the small spray holes of a showerhead can reduce the effectiveness of your shower by blocking the flow of water coming through your water pipes. Depending upon the quality of water in your home, lime scale can clog a showerhead in a matter of weeks or years. Periodically cleaning out the lime and other mineral deposits from your bathroom showerhead will restore its efficiency and reduce the risk of having to purchase a replacement prematurely.

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  1. Remove the dirty showerhead with a pair of pliers or by hand. If using pliers to remove the showerhead, place a towel over the showerhead fitting and grip the pliers over the towel to avoid scuffs to the shower components.

  2. Remove the spray pattern plate from the showerhead if your particular model can be taken apart. Warm the white vinegar by soaking the bottle in hot water; do not use a microwave for this procedure.

  3. Fill the cleaning tub with the warmed white vinegar and place the showerhead inside the tub, ensuring all the parts are fully soaking. Leave the showerhead in the cleaning tub for 20 minutes.

  4. Remove the showerhead from the cleaning tub and poke holes through the small spray openings using the paper clip. Ream all the showerhead spray holes until all of them are visibly clear of debris.

  5. Use a toothbrush and the vinegar in the cleaning tub to knock loose any deposits left on the showerhead. Rinse the showerhead thoroughly with water for a couple minutes until all the residual vinegar is cleared.

  6. Reinstall the showerhead on the shower plumbing fixture. Do not over-tighten the showerhead to the plumbing pipe as this will damage the unit or cause water leaks.

  7. Tip

    If the showerhead cannot be removed, fill a large plastic storage bag with white vinegar and submerge the showerhead in the vinegar by securing the bag to the showerhead with rubber bands.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pliers
  • White vinegar
  • Toothbrush
  • Paper clip or comparably sized wire
  • Cleaning tub
  • Towel

About the Author

In the spring of 2008, Blaze Johnson decided to share his expertise through writing. He studied business administration at a local community college and runs his own driveway mechanic service, specializing in computer-controlled vehicles and custom car audio installs. Johnson also serves as the de facto computer repair person for his family, friends and coworkers.

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