How To Unclog Shower Heads: a DYI Guide

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Need to unclog your shower head?

You’ve come to the right place!

Unclogging your shower head can make a huge difference in both water flow and maintaining clean water, but unfortunately it’s a task that’s often forgotten or put off. After a while, minerals and biological build up can restrict or clog the flow completely.

If you’re wondering how to unclog your shower heads, this short guide will tell you everything you need to know to take care of it yourself.

What’s In This Guide

In this article, we explain step-by-step how to unclog shower heads using natural ingredients. We also go into more detail on why having an unclogged shower head is important in the first place.

Finally, we answer some commonly-asked questions about cleaning shower heads.

If you still have a question we don’t answer in this guide, feel free to leave us a comment below.

Why Unclog your Shower Head?

It is easy to see why most people keep forgetting to unclog their shower heads. Unlike dirty bathtubs, a shower head does not show just how filthy it is on the inside. Organic matter and mineral deposits build up over time and block the holes, preventing a smooth and continuous flow of water.

If you notice an irregular spray pattern or a sudden drop in water pressure, it’s highly likely that your shower needs a good cleaning.

It’s also important to think about the health factors. If you live in a hot, humid environment, your shower head will be the perfect breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and other germs. The slime from a clogged showerhead also prevents chlorine from flushing out the irritants in the water.

study conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder found that 30% of shower heads had high levels of Mycobacterium Avium, a bacterium that’s linked to pulmonary diseases.

The study also discovered that the black gunk around shower heads contained Stenotrophomonas Maltophilia, a bacillus that causes infections in rapid frequency. When you turn on hot water during your shower, these microbes disperse into the air and become easier to inhale.

The Process

This procedure take around 25 to 30 minutes to unclog your shower head with baking soda.

Here’s the basic process you will follow:

  1. Make a paste
  2. Spread paste on showerhead
  3. Wait 25 minutes
  4. Rinse and wipe
  5. Turn on your shower

Get Prepared: What You’ll Need

Baking powder is often used to clean your cookie sheets and stovetops – and it also works wonders for cleaning the gunk and grime from your shower head.  

Here are the materials you need to collect before starting to clean your shower head:

  • ½ cup of baking soda
  • Water
  • Dishcloth
  • Rubber gloves
  • A small spoon
  • A mixing bowl

Step 1: Make a Paste

How To Unclog Shower Head

Use your spoon to mix warm water with ½ cup of baking soda in a bowl. There’s no precise amount of water you need to add, but make sure you have a thick paste at the end.

If the paste is too runny, add a bit of baking soda and mix until the consistency is similar to that of toothpaste. Similarly, if it’s too chunky and thick, add more water.

Step 2: Spread paste on showerhead

Use your hands to spread the baking soda paste on the entire shower head. Make sure you wear rubber gloves so that the paste doesn’t irritate your skin. Feel free to make more paste (repeat step 1) if you don’t have enough to cover the entire shower head.

If you own a handheld shower head, remove it from the mount before coating it with the paste, and place it on the floor of your stall or tub.

Step 3: Wait for 25 Minutes

Leave the paste on the shower head for around 25 minutes. It will be difficult to clean the shower head if you let the paste sit for much longer, so make sure you time it.

If you’ve planned to clean the entire bathroom, you can apply the paste on the shower head and then wipe down the toilet or sink while you wait.

Step 4: Rinse and Wipe

How To Unclog Shower Head

Use your rubber gloves to wipe the baking soda paste off of the shower head. If you have a wall-mounted shower head, use a damp dishcloth to wipe the paste and any other remaining mineral deposits off of it.    

If you have a removable shower head, you can simply hold it under a faucet and rinse off the paste with water.

Step 5: Turn on Your Shower

How To Unclog Shower Head

Lastly, just turn on your shower and let water run through the unclogged shower head to get rid of any residue or paste that might still be stuck in the holes.

If you remove your shower head, attach it back to the shower, and open the hot water for one or two minutes.

If you still have questions about how to unclog shower heads, take a look at the FAQ section!

Frequently-Asked Questions About Unclogging Shower Heads

How frequently should I unclog my shower head?

You should properly clean your shower head at least once every month. If your home gets hard water, then you should do it even more often. This is because bacteria and minerals can accumulate on your shower head over time, decreasing water pressure and even making you sick.

Can you clean a shower head without removing it?  

Yes, you can clean your shower head without removing it from the water pipe. You just need to gently scrub it with a toothbrush and then turn on the hot water.

You can also fill a plastic bag with water and vinegar and secure it to the shower head using a rubber band for more thorough cleaning. Let the shower head soak in the mixture for a couple of hours, then remove the bag, and turn on the water.

What are the black spots on my shower head?

When you turn on the shower, the minerals in the water combine with oxygen in the air. Oxidized ion turns into reddish or yellowish deposits known as rust, while oxidized manganese turns black or brown.   

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