How to clean a shower head and keep it flowing freely

If your shower cleans you but you don't clean it, that one-sided relationship just won't last.

The gross fact of the matter? If you're not cleaning your shower head regularly, it's highly likely you've got a case of calcium, hard water, and moldy buildup, which eventually leads to clogged nozzles, a decrease in water pressure, or worse, damage to your hair.

To keep these issues at bay, we spoke to Sheryl Milligan, founding member of the American House Cleaners Association (AHCA), for her tips on cleaning this often overlooked area in your bathroom.

What about routine cleaning?

For routine cleaning, use a scouring agent and a little elbow grease. Milligan recommends scrubbing the shower head whenever you notice calcium or hard water buildup.

How to clean a shower head and keep it flowing freely

Sprinkle bleach-free scouring powder on the corner of a wet non-scratch pad and lightly scrub the outside of the entire fixture, adding more powder as necessary. Use a toothbrush to reach tight spaces and take special care around detailing or lettering.

Extra stubborn spots can be tackled by adding a drop of dish soap to the pad. Finish by rinsing completely with a cup of hot water, then dry fully with a cloth to prevent the water from calcifying.

If you find your shower head has constant buildup, Milligan recommends considering drying off your shower head after each use. This will wipe away any minerals that may exist in the water or on the surface of the shower head, keeping them from drying onto fixtures and causing buildup over time.

How often should I clean my shower head?

The AHCA recommends using one of the above methods to clean your shower head monthly in order to ensure longevity and best performance.

You should be soaking your shower head in vinegar every few months, unless you notice any changes in water pressure. At the very least, Milligan emphasizes the importance of cleaning it with the first sign of mold or slime.

Insider's takeaway

With just a few supplies likely already at home, you can have a long-lasting, powerful shower head that doesn't require intensive maintenance. By simply following one of the above methods monthly, not only will your shower and wallet thank you, but your health (bye bye, mold) and hair (so long, calcium) will, too.