How to Fix a Dripping Shower Head?

Table of ContentsDIY Tips to Fix a Leaky Shower HeadUnclog Shower Head HolesReplacing the Rubber WasherPrecautions to take while fixing a Dripping Shower headFinal Thoughts

There is no denying that a leaky or dripping shower head is not only irritating but also costly. Beyond this annoying continuous drip, a leaky shower wastes hundreds of gallon water. It can be worse if your hot water shower side is leaking because it doesn’t only waste the water but also significant energy. The water heater continually operates to warm the water in the shower.

In other words, a hot, long shower is enough to calm your stressed nerves, but a dripping showerhead can ruin the pleasure you’re supposed to have after a tiring day. I had to face this problem a lot when I moved to my new home. I was told that there were minor plumbing issues and the dripping faucet was one of them. Later those minor leaks cost me much more than what I’d expected; however, I learned my lesson.

That means before dripping shower head causes more plumbing issues, consider trying DIY fixes. Shower leaks mostly begin with dripping faucets and unfortunately determining what causes the leaks is hard until you find the breakage in the main shower line. Therefore, I always attempt to fix both the head and faucet before calling an expert.

So before you shell out big bucks on something that might be an easy fix, let’s go through some simple methods you can try to fix a dripping shower head.

DIY Tips to Fix a Leaky Shower Head

Unclog Shower Head Holes

This is one of the most common problems that many people often face; it is usually caused by a buildup of mineral deposits in the holes within the shower head. A cheap and simple fix doesn’t take much time.

Shut off the water supply to the shower head:  You need to turn off the shower at the knob first to inspect or replace the shower head. If you haven’t cleaned your shower for a long time, the minerals deposit may build up and block the holes. It is a good idea to shut off the valve to your bathroom directly instead of cutting off the main supply.

  • Take out the Shower Head or its Faceplate: Removing the showerhead is important if you want to scrub or soak the various parts of your showerhead.  Unscrew its faceplate and try to remove the showerhead from its fixture. Here it’s important to remember that unscrewing depends on your shower model. I have one with 32×32” with removable shower faceplate that had many screws around its head.  I twisted the screws counterclockwise to remove it.
  • Immerse the Showerhead In Vinegar:  Fill a container with vinegar and add some salt to it. Make sure you take enough vinegar to cover the shower head fully. Let it sit for at least 8 hours until the shower head soaks it, and the vinegar dissolves the buildup deposit.
  • Manually Remove the deposit: Once the lime is dissolved, it is time to remove the debris manually. You can easily do it with the help of a toothpick. Fit it in the holes of the showerhead and remove the leftover, and then scrub it with a plastic brush.
  • Check the dripping shower: The last step is to make sure that unclogging the shower holes has fixed the dripping showerhead. Attach the showerhead and turn on the water supply. If there’s no more leakage, you have solved the problem.

Replacing the Rubber Washer

If it is not mineral deposits, the problem might be with your rubber washer. If your washer has worn out over time, it starts cracking, and that is where water starts seeping out through the cracks, resulting in a dripping shower head. Replacing the washer can help you solve this problem.

Shut off your water supply and determine whether the shower head is dripping from the hot-water valve or cold-water valve (if you have a compression faucet).

  • Determine the right rubber washer to replace:  Typically people have compression faucets, which are also called two-handle faucets. It has its rubber washer inside the faucet. However, the single-handle faucet has the rubber washer inside the shower head.
  • Change the rubber washer in shower head:  You need to remove the shower head that also depends on your shower brand or how it’s built.  My showerhead is attached with a collar nut to its shower arm.  It’s a regular metal nut and extends lengthwise. You need to loosen the collar nut to separate the shower head from its shower arm. Once you remove it, you will see a swivel ball, and beneath that, there’s a rubber washer.
  • Pull off the rubber washer and fix a new washer of same style and shape. Make sure the new washer is practically identical to your old washer. From its thickness to length, everything has to be the same to prevent water from dripping.  
  • Reassemble the removed shower parts after changing the rubber washer. Connect it back to your shower arm and turn on the water supply to check whether the shower dripping is fixed or not. Do not screw it until you confirm there is no more leakage from the shower head.

Precautions to take while fixing a Dripping Shower head

  • Avoid over-tightening your shower head as it can make dripping much worse and may damage threads or cut gaskets.
  • Always hand-tighten the shower head. If you’re using a wrench, try not to apply extra force.
  • Avoid wrapping a Teflon tape on your shower head in counterclockwise as it will bunch up at the time of installation. It will lead to leaks as well.
  • Don’t use plumber’s pipe dope to install shower heads. These materials often react with cheap plastic components and may cause breakage.

Final Thoughts

Overall, water drizzling from your shower head indicates that there is something wrong with the shower valve. There are cases when inner seals of a shower head are worn out, or sometimes they become clogged or corded because of the mineral deposits. Cleaning or replacing a shower head is extremely easy if you follow the givens steps; plus, it will save a lot of money that a plumber will charge you.

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