How to Clean a Shower Head Without Vinegar: Using Natural Solutions and Chemical Based Cleaners

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It may be time to clean your shower head if the water flow has diminished and you are unable to have a shower properly or worse, if your shower head is clogged and water is coming out everywhere but where it is supposed to. Here is how to clean a shower head without vinegar.

Upon searching the internet, you will find vinegar to be one of the most popular suggestions. However, many people prefer not to use vinegar to clean their shower heads since the stench is so intense and can last for weeks. Luckily there are alternative solutions that can be employed to clean shower heads effectively.

In this blog post, we will discuss a number of these solutions, as well as how to remove rust from your shower head and prevent it from clogging in the future.

Why Vinegar May Not Be The Best Solution

Vinegar is one of the most popular suggestions for cleaning a shower head, according to an informal Google search. Whether it’s white distilled vinegar or brown vinegar, many websites suggest using it to clean your shower head of grime and remove mineral deposits.

The fact of the matter is that vinegar may not be the best solution for everyone. Apart from the strong smell that can last for several days and sometimes weeks due to poor ventilation, additionally, vinegar on its own may not be able to remove severe limescale buildup, necessitating alternate methods.

How Often Should You Clean Your Shower Head And Why?

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Depending on how hard your water is, you should clean your shower head once a week to avoid limescale buildup and do a monthly deep clean using one of the methods below.

Most people believe that shower heads are self-cleaning, so it is not a priority to clean them, which is understandable. The truth of the matter is that shower heads are placed in the perfect environment for bacteria and germs to multiply, making it not only extremely unhygienic but potentially dangerous for your health.

A 2018 study by the American Society for Microbiology clearly states the effect of Mycobacteria in shower heads and their relevance to human health.

In essence, you should not wait for the water to start shooting in different directions or completely lose water pressure caused by the buildup of limescale in the shower head over a long period of time.

What Equipment You Will Need To Start Cleaning?

Here are some things you should have ready before you start the cleaning process.

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Rubber Gloves – These will protect your hands from the bacteria in the shower head.

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Face Mask – You may inadvertently inhale something that you shouldn’t while cleaning so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Hard Brush – To pry the limescale and grime away and get into those hard-to-reach areas.

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Towel – To dry off any excess water.

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Large Bowl – For soaking the shower head.

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Scrubbing Pad – For scrubbing the shower head.

Natural-Based Solutions For Cleaning Your Shower Head

More and more people are concerned with the environment and want to use natural products for cleaning. These products may take longer and require a little bit more elbow grease but there are no toxins involved. Below is a list of the natural-based cleaners we recommend.


Coca-cola, due to high levels of acidity, is quite good at removing limescale. You will need to rinse thoroughly and remove any trace of the coke. 

  • Pour a 1-liter bottle of coke into a bowl, remove and place your shower head in the soda. Alternatively, if you can’t unscrew the shower head, you can get a plastic bag and tie the bag around the shower head after filling it with coke.
  • Soak the shower head for 30 minutes.
  • Attach the shower head back and run the water for about 3 – 4 minutes making sure to rinse off all the coke.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a natural cleaner that works wonderfully on a showerhead and is a great substitute for vinegar. 2 or 3 lemons are all you need.

  • Squeeze the juice of 2-3 lemons into a bowl and add hot water.
  • Detach the shower and place it in the mixture for 45 minutes.
  • Use a hard brush to scrub off any limescale or grime.
  • Rinse well and attach to the hose.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is an extremely powerful cleaning agent and has no odors, unlike vinegar.

  • Make a paste with baking soda and some water.
  • Apply the baking soda onto the shower head getting into all the hard-to-reach areas with a brush.
  • Leave to sit for around 20 minutes.
  • Use the brush to aggravate the limescale and grime.
  • Rinse and remove all the residual limescale.

Chemical-Based Solutions For Cleaning Your Shower Head

Not all chemical-based cleaners are toxic and emit harmful fumes. We will cover a few household cleaners that you can get from your local supermarket.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is essentially H2O, more commonly known as water but with an extra oxygen molecule or H2O2, transforming it into an antifungal compound and perfect for cleaning.

We will use a variant with a concentration of 3 percent and mix it with baking soda.

  • Mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda with a 50:50 ratio.
  • Pour the solution into a plastic bag and immerse the shower head into it.
  • Leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  • Scrub the shower head with a brush to remove any stubborn residue.
  • Rinse with warm water and reattach the shower head.

Oven Cleaner

Oven cleaners are excellent for cleaning out greasy ovens that have been caked with burnt food, making them a popular bathroom-cleaning product. They do contain toxic chemicals so be careful.

  • Use gloves and a face mask to protect yourself.
  • Spray the shower head with the oven cleaner.
  • Allow 20 minutes for the solution to do its job.
  • Scrub the shower head with a brush removing any grime or limescale left behind.
  • Rinse with hot water.
  • Let the water run for 3-4 minutes to rinse out any remaining oven cleaner.

Limescale remover

When a shower head gets clogged due to limescale, water will try to escape from anywhere it can. There are a number of limescale removers on the market, and they all work pretty much the same.

  • Rubber gloves and a face mask are required.
  • Spray the limescale remover directly onto the shower head.
  • Leave for 5-10 minutes.
  • Using a hard bristle brush, scrub away the remaining limescale and grime.
  • Rinse the shower head with hot water.
  • Run water for 3-4 minutes to rinse any residual limescale remover.

How To Clean Rust Off A Shower Head?

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Wiping down your shower is a wonderful habit to get into, as it will greatly decrease the likelihood of rust and watermarks forming on the shower head.

However, if your shower head starts to develop rust spots, it’s not all bad news as you can easily remove them with these simple steps.

  • Dab some lemon juice on the rust spots.
  • Sprinkle salt over the shower head, covering the rust spots.
  • Leave for 5-10 minutes and scrub with a non-abrasive sponge.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Polish with chrome polish.

How To Prevent A Shower Head From Clogging?

As earth materials degrade and disintegrate, it releases sediment particles into the water that get trapped in shower heads, faucets, and other water systems in our homes, not to mention the effect hard water has on all your appliances.

It is safe to say that prevention is better than having to deal with all the problems that will ensue.

  • Dry the shower head with a cloth after every shower to keep it looking shiny.
  • Clean your shower head once a week with one of the methods above.
  • If you find your shower head is getting clogged more often than usual, then you may need to install a sediment filter.
  • Hard water issues can be resolved by installing a water softener.


How to remove mold from the shower head?

Using any one of the methods mentioned above will remove mold. Whether you decide to use baking soda or limescale remover, be sure to clean once a week to prevent any mold from growing.

Why does my shower head keep clogging?

If your laundry is stiff and there is a white residue in your sink, then you may have hard water, which will clog your shower head eventually.

How often should I clean my shower head?

Shower heads can deposit germs and bacteria in fine holes. It is very important to do a deep clean of your shower head once a month for hygiene reasons.

Is Hydrogen Peroxide safe for my children and pets?

Hydrogen peroxide is safe to use with no harmful fumes. However, it can be toxic if consumed so make sure to keep it out of reach.

Can I use bleach to clean my shower head?

Bleach is not the best way to clean a showerhead. Many studies have shown that cleaning a shower head with bleach can increase the number of germs. When you can, use safer, non-toxic cleaning options.

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