Over time, minute particles and mineral deposits in water – especially hard water – can reduce the flow of water from your shower head to a feeble trickle.
Don’t panic! Cleaning a shower head does not require expensive equipment or a deep knowledge of plumbing. It can be done while you are sleeping. When you wake up, you will have a clean shower head and great water flow for your morning shower.
The first thing you need to do is remove the shower head. You may need pliers to loosen the head, but before you start using them, wrap the chrome parts in a towel or cloth to prevent scratching.
Next, heat enough vinegar (white vinegar’s best, but don’t let it boil) to cover the shower head when immersed in a pan or bowl. Place the shower head in the vinegar, making sure that it’s completely immersed, and let it soak overnight. In the morning, check the holes on the shower head. If some are still clogged, poke a very thin wire into each hole. Once each hole is clear, rinse the shower head with hot water. If any stubborn mineral deposits are left, try scrubbing the head with a small brush (an old tooth brush is ideal). Then replace your shower head and switch on the hot water to remove any deposits from the inside of the rose, and check the flow. It should be back to its best.
Take great care if your shower head has a gold or brass finish. It will have a special coating to protect it from oxidisation. Anything abrasive will ruin this finish. To clean a gold or brass shower head, aim the shower head down and rotate the head so that the holes face the ceiling. Spray vinegar onto the head and let it stand for 15 minutes so that mineral deposits are removed. Repeat this step if the shower head does not come clean first time, but do not let the shower head soak for more than 30 minutes at a time, or you risk causing damage to the finish.
If you can’t (or don’t want to) take your shower head apart to clean it, you can pour two to three inches of vinegar into a small sandwich bag. Place the bag over the shower head, tape it in place, and let it soak overnight. (NOT if it’s got a gold or brass finish!) In the morning, switch on the hot water to clear any debris and check the flow. Repeat the process if the flow is not back to normal.
There are commercial cleaning products on the market that will clean the mineral deposits from your shower head. However, vinegar is very cost effective and gets the job done.