Shiny shower head

How to Descale a Shower Head

Like everything else, a shower will not clean itself. From hair clogging the plughole to the walls becoming mildewy, there are many areas that need to be cleaned to ensure that your shower cubicle is sparkling. What about the shower head itself though?

It’s common for shower heads to develop a build-up of limescale. Limescale is a hard and chalky substance that forms on surfaces exposed to hard water.


Why Limescale Occurs

Basically, anything which comes into contact with hard water such as kettles, shower heads and even irons, is prone to a build-up of limescale.

Limescale can form either on the outside of your shower head or on the inside, but the chances are that if you have limescale, it is lurking on the interior of the shower head itself.

The problem with this is that when the water is trying to get through the pipe and out of the shower head, to give you your daily shower, it can’t find its way through as effectively as if the way was totally clear.

To prevent splattering water, and basically a rather unpleasant showering experience, you’ll need to know how to clean the limescale from your shower head, and this is through a process called descaling.


How to Descale a Shower Head

Cleaning limescale off shower head

Descaling isn’t hard, and it doesn’t take much time, but you need to do it regularly, otherwise limescale will take hold and cause you a major problem.

You don’t need to spend a huge amount of cash on those all-singing, all-dancing cleaning products you see advertised on the TV, because there are many common household items you will already have lurking in your cupboard which will do the job just as well commercial limescale removers.

What you need to identify first of all however, is whether your shower head is fixed or whether it can be removed. Each method is slightly different, but there is one ingredient you will need regardless of the type of shower you have – vinegar.

Yes, you read that right; the condiment you put on your chips, is also used for cleaning limescale from shower heads! The best kind of vinegar to use is white vinegar, which is easy to buy either online or in the supermarket.


Descaling a removable shower head

Detaching shower head

If you can remove your shower head, follow the steps below to descale it:

  1. Remove the shower head from the hose by twisting it away. This should be quite easy, but if it is fitted quite tight, use a piece of cloth to give you more grip, or use a wrench if you are still having difficulty.
  2. Fill a bucket with a 50:50 solution of white vinegar and water.
  3. Put the shower head inside the bucket and leave it submerged for a minimum of half an hour, but if you can, leave it overnight for the best results. This will help the acid which is contained in the vinegar to really dissolve the limescale and clean your shower head to the best standard. If your shower head is brass however, only leave it for half an hour.
  4. Remove the shower head from the bucket and give it a rinse off with regular water. Most of the limescale will fall away from the shower head at this point, but you should use an old toothbrush to scrub away any stubborn pieces. Once you have removed all the flakes, concentrating especially on the nozzles of the shower head, give it another good rinse.
  5. Dry the shower head by polishing it with a soft cloth and wiping it until it is totally dry. You can now attach the shower head to the nozzle, making sure it is securely attached once more.
  6. Flush the shower out for a few seconds by turning on the water.

How to descale a removable shower head


Descaling a fixed shower head

A fixed shower head is a little trickier to descale than a removable one, but the only major difference is that you will need a large bag, rather than a bucket.

Follow the steps below to descale it:

  1. Take the bag and fill it with vinegar to the halfway mark – do not fill it completely.
  2. Hold the bag underneath the shower head and lift it up until it is submerged in the vinegar.
  3. Attach the bag at the top of the showerhead, making sure that the head itself is still submerged inside the vinegar. Secure it with a piece of string and make sure that it is strong enough to hold the weight.
  4. Again, leave the bag in place for either half an hour (no more if you have a brass shower head), or overnight if you can.
  5. Remove the bag carefully and tip away the vinegar.
  6. Turn on the shower water to flush away as much of the vinegar as possible. You can now repeat the process we mentioned in the last section, i.e. using an old toothbrush to scrub away any stubborn pieces of limescale. Rinse, polish, and dry as before.

And that’s it! That’s how simple it is to clean limescale from your shower head, and there was no need to buy any expensive cleaning products either!

Remember to do this regularly to ensure that limescale doesn’t build up to be a huge problem, and you should have a clean and well-functioning shower head, without any major issues at all.

How to descale a fixed shower head