How to Unclog a Showerhead

Whether you agree or not, we all experience bad days with our showers when it sprays unevenly on us. The water shoots out from the showerhead in all directions and the flow becomes absolutely nonexistent. Experiencing this every other day is nothing but frustrating. In place of relaxation you instead experience annoyance especially when all you  are doing is wiping your eyes and spitting out water that is gushing forcefully at your face. In short, your shower becomes more like a powerful water hose.

If you think you’re in the same predicament and can relate to this, you might need to spare some time and look for some easy solutions to solve this problem quickly. If you already spent a lot of money to fix this issue by calling in a maintenance professional, it is time to reconsider the option. It might be surprising for you that all your showerhead needs is a thorough cleaning and you don’t need an expert for that.

The reason why a showerhead sprays unevenly is that its holes get plugged with mineral buildup. To flow consistently and freely, you need to remove the mineral deposits.

​Why Unclogging Showerheads is Important?

As mentioned before, unclogging a showerhead will let water flow freely and keeps your shower in good condition. In addition, unclogging a showerhead is important for the health of your family. Many people don’t know that wet environments, such as showers, are breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. In fact, according to a recent research by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, residential showers contain a range of Mycobacterium. It is a type of bacteria that causes lung diseases, which often grows in the slimy ‘biofilm’ and lives inside the shower nozzle.

No matter if you never tried cleaning your showerhead yourself. The given descaling methods are incredibly effective and can help you save money.

How to Unclog a Showerhead

Before you begin with the cleaning process, you need to figure out where the blockage is or how bad it is. If your shower holes seem unblocked but water is still dripping, you probably do not need deep cleaning by removing the showerhead. However, if you find the water flow restricted and the buildup is severe or you already tried cleaning your showerhead without taking it out and still facing pressure issues, clogging is a real possibility.

Also, if your showerhead comprises of stainless steel, chrome or any other protected metal, I suggest you to not use the non-removal cleaning method first. The hard tools may scratch the delicate finishing of your showerhead.

Unclog Showerhead with a Vinegar Bag

This is no doubt one of the simplest methods when it comes to cleaning showerheads. The simple method neither takes much of your time nor requires any hard tools. It is one of my tried and tested methods for cleaning a clogged showerhead. All you need is a plastic bag, some vinegar, and a rubber band. First, slip an elastic band over your showerhead. The purpose is to secure the water pipe attached to your showerhead. Loop it around at least once or twice to tighten the grip.

Then, take a plastic bag and fill it with white vinegar. Attach this filled bag to the showerhead in a way that it immerses completely in the liquid. Slip the bag’s top edge underneath the elastic band and you are good to go. All you need to do is to wait for at least for the one hour before you remove the vinegar bag. Turn on the shower to flush the vinegar. You can use a soft cloth to polish the showerhead.

Deep Cleaning of Showerhead

If the mineral buildup is severe and the vinegar method fails to unclog your showerhead, your showerhead needs a thorough cleaning. And for that, you need to detach the showerhead by unscrewing its nuts from the shower arm. You have to be careful here to prevent breaking or damaging the shower’s fixture. I always find using a wrench rather than using pliers is beneficial. Plus, don’t forget to rag all the tools before using them as it may leave scratches on the showerhead.

The next step is to run a sharp water blast through your showerhead. Hold it upside down under a faucet. Make sure it rinses off all the loosened debris through the holes where the shower arm connects. If mineral debris won’t go with the water flow, use an old toothbrush to scrub your showerhead. You can also use a toothpick to poke out stuck deposits in the tiny shower holes.

The last step of this cleaning method is to immerse the separated showerhead in vinegar. It will help you dissolve the remaining limescale deposit. To get the best results, use baking soda with vinegar as this solution works as a natural abrasive to release the clogged passages.

Clean the Filter Screen

This is another effective way to unclog your showerhead. By cleaning the filter screen of your shower, you can solve the problem. Typically, the instructions to clean the filter screen are in the instruction manual but if you don’t have it, don’t panic. Generally, you can find the filter screen where the showerhead connects to the main pipe. Remove the showerhead gently. I use needle-nose pliers and tweezers to separate it from the pivot ball. Once it is out, run it under water to flush out the mineral deposit.

Try Welding Tip Cleaner

This small tool works great if your showerhead is partially clogged with mineral deposit. The welding tip cleaner comes with the various size of abrasive needles that can help you quickly knock out the calcium chunks from holes of your shower. There is no need to detach the showerhead.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, there is no need to ruin your bathing experience when you can easily solve the problem with these simple and effective tips to unclog your showerhead. With these tips, you don’t need to hire expensive plumbing services.


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