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Quick Fixes: How to clean a shower head
How to guides

Quick Fixes: How to clean a shower head

Posted by Adam Chard in How to guides | 9 months ago 9 min read

Cleaning and keeping your shower head free from dirt and limescale is important as it will help maintain the performance of your shower. In this expert guide, we’ll show you how to clean your shower head, complete with handy video.

Hi. I’m Adam and I’ve been providing Victoria Plum customers with handy bathroom hacks and helpful advice for over 10 years. As part of our series of “Quick Fixes”, I’m here to pass on all my knowledge and expertise to help keep your bathroom looking great and functioning perfectly.

In this step-by-step guide, I’ll show you how to keep your shower head clean, no matter whether it’s a removable, handheld design or a fixed outlet. I’ll also answer some of your frequently asked questions and explain how to keep limescale at bay throughout your home.

If you'd like to skip to a relevant section, simply click any of the links below:

1. Why do you need to clean your shower head?

Limescale (a hard, chalky, mineral deposit that can build-up over time) is an issue in many, many homes throughout the UK. If left unchecked, it can affect the flow rate of showers, leading to a poor experience. Giving your shower some quick and easy TLC can help improve this.

However, it’s not just about poor performance. A dull, dirty, limescale-encrusted shower head simply doesn’t look great, does it? You’d be amazed at how quickly you can bring that sparkle back to your shower head by cleaning it.

And, finally, cleaning your shower head will help prevent bacteria growth, ensuring your bathroom remains a hygienic, safe space in which to spend time.

As part of our series of “Quick Fixes” for your bathroom, you’ll discover just how simple it is. First, we’ll look at cleaning a removable, shower head or shower handset, before moving on to fixed shower heads.

2. How to clean your removable shower head step-by-step video

Here’s how to clean a removable shower head or handset

Things you’ll need:

  • Clean cloth
  • Fresh water
  • Old toothbrush
  • White vinegar (not malt vinegar)
  • Ziplock or sandwich plastic bag


  • 1 hour 30 minutes


  1. Take your shower head and place it inside the ziplock or sandwich plastic bag. (If you don't have a ziplock bag, use a rubber band to close)

  2. Add the white vinegar (not malt vinegar)—enough to cover most of the showerhead.

  3. Close the plastic bag and leave it to soak for up to an hour.

  4. Remove the shower head from the bag and rinse in fresh water.

  5. Use the toothbrush to scrub away any limescale deposits.

  6. Wipe down with a clean cloth.

Congratulations, you have now cleaned your shower head.

Step-by-step images:

  1. Placing your shower head inside the sandwich bag.

Shower head inside bag

  1. Adding bag with vinegar.

Add white vinegar

  1. Leaving the shower head to soak, covering all holes.

Leave your shower head to soak

  1. Rinsing and cleaning the shower head in fresh water.

Rinsing your shower head

  1. Scrubbing limescale with the toothbrush.

Scrubbing limescale

  1. Wiping down with a cloth.

Wiping down with a cloth

3. Here’s how to clean a fixed shower head

Things you’ll need:

  • Clean cloth
  • Fresh water
  • Old toothbrush
  • White vinegar (not malt vinegar)
  • Plastic bag, big enough to fit over your shower head
  • Thick rubber band


  • 1 hour 30 minutes


  1. Find a watertight bag that is large enough to place over your shower head.

  2. Fill the bag with a white vinegar (not malt vinegar) solution (1 part water to 1 part vinegar)

  3. Position the bag below your shower head and slowly pull upwards until the whole showerhead is covered by the vinegar solution (some might spill out over the sides—that is perfectly fine).

  4. Tie the bag securely in place to the shower head arm, immediately above the shower head, using a thick rubber band.

  5. Leave in place for 1 hour.

  6. Remove the bag and vinegar solution.

  7. Scrub any remaining limescale deposits with a toothbrush.

  8. Wipe away with a clean, damp cloth.

Congratulations, you have now cleaned your fixed shower head.

Keep your fixed shower head clean

Keep your fixed shower head clean and in perfect working condition

4. Alternatives to white vinegar

If you don’t have white vinegar, you can simply substitute a suitable household cleaner or shower head descaler which contains similar ingredients. Many people prefer to use lemon juice, as the citric acid it contains will do a similar job and will leave your bathroom smelling much nicer! Plus, if you are looking to create an eco-friendly bathroom, natural solutions, like lemon juice, are far better for the environment.

One final tip: Never use bleach or any other harsh chemicals that could be potentially harmful to you, your shower head and the environment.

5. How to minimise limescale build-up on your shower head and elsewhere in your home

Whilst regular cleaning, using either of the methods above, will help to minimise limescale build-up, there are other things you can do to help, not just in your bathroom, but around your entire home.

  • Fit a water softener. If you live an area with hard water, consider fitting a water softener for your whole home. This will help reduce mineral content in your water and prevent limescale build-up throughout your whole plumbing system. This will, potentially, also aid appliances like washing machines and dishwashers.
  • Use a showerhead with easy-clean inserts. Many of our showers come with rubber inserts, which aid cleaning, making it easier to prevent limescale build-up.
  • Use less hot water. The more hot water you use, the more likely you are to have limescale build-up. Try using cooler water in your shower to reduce the amount of mineral deposits.
  • Squeegee after showering. Use a squeegee to remove water from the shower walls and fixtures after each shower. This can help prevent minerals from drying on the surface.
  • Replace your old shower head. If your showerhead is old and heavily scaled, it may be more cost-effective to replace it with a new one that's designed to resist limescale.

How NoCalc limescale inhibitor works

A water softener contains a long-life cartridge which coats calcium and magnesium with food grade particles, helping reduce limescale build-up

6. Frequently asked questions about cleaning your showerhead

What is the best way to clean a showerhead?

Soaking shower heads in a solution of white vinegar and rinsing with water, as detailed above, is the best way to clean your showerhead and get rid of limescale and mineral deposits.

How long should you soak your showerhead in vinegar?

We would advise you to fill a plastic bag with vinegar and leave showerheads to soak for up to an hour, covering all holes. This allows it to dissolve limescale sufficiently.

Mode Renzo round slim stainless steel shower head

Keep your shower head looking fresh with our handy cleaning tips

How often should you clean your shower head

This will depend on how hard your domestic water supply is. If you notice limescale build-up after just a short amount of use, it may be best to clean it every fortnight. However, in most cases, once a month will be enough.

How do you clean a shower head without vinegar?

Of course, if you don’t have any vinegar in your cupboard, an alternative method to clean shower heads would be to use a household cleaner, which contains similar ingredients. Simply spray on, leave to soak, and then rinse with water. You can easily clean other parts of your shower, including the shower hose, using this method. Lemon juice is another alternative, as the citric acid it contains will do a similar job.

What if my shower head needs an intensive clean?

If your regular clean doesn’t shift all of the limescale, never fear. Try repeating the steps a second time and you’re bound to see a marked improvement. You can even try changing the solution to a specialised limescale remover or try alternatives, like lemon juice.

How do I unblock a shower head?

If your shower head has got to the point where it's blocked, it may be worth giving it an intensive clean, as detailed above. If it is still blocked, even after a deep clean, there may be a more serious issue and you may need to replace it.

How do you remove a shower head?

While some are fixed, you should be able to remove most shower heads. Watch our video below to see how it’s done.

7. Quick fixes for your bathroom

With Victoria Plum, it’s quick and easy to clean and fix all those little snag points in your bathroom. From a rattling toilet seat to a grubby shower screen, you’ll find plenty of advice and “how to” guides by visiting our Switches and Fixes hub. Alternatively, simply click on any of the topics below to discover step-by-step DIY and cleaning guides with handy videos.

8. Shop shower heads, arms and rails

Has your shower head seen better days? Maybe it’s time for a change? At Victoria Plum, you’ll find a huge selection of shower heads, arms and rails for budgets big and small. Simply click below to browse our full and comprehensive range.

Shop shower heads, arms and rails

Author, Adam Chard

Posted by Adam Chard in How to guides | 9 months ago

A born & raised West Countryman, now living on the Yorkshire Coast, for over 10 years Adam has been bringing home interior ideas to life at Victoria Plum. Adam’s favourite interior styles have been shaped by both urban and natural influences.

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