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The Secret Way to Clean Your Shower Head Without Removing It

We travel a lot, mostly by RV, but also by renting houses or apartments. One thing I hate is getting in a shower only to find the showerhead piddling water out or spraying in all directions. Most of the time it only takes one simple trick to get the shower head working great again. I have left many a shower working much better than when I used it just because of this simple trick to clean a shower head without removing it.

You may easily overlook this task, but we’re going to share a simple trick you can do to keep your shower head working well. In this article, we will share our trick and also some additional things you can try if it needs more attention.

Is It Necessary to Clean a Shower Head?

Yes, shower heads must be cleaned regularly. Mineral deposits almost always build up on showerhead nozzles over time because of wet-dry cycling. Every time the shower head is used it will leave drips of water when turned off that will dry and leave behind minerals. This can create clogs in the jets and drastically reduce the pressure. 

Instead of replacing the entire shower head, a more cost-effective solution to the problem is to clean it. This can remove mineral deposits, unclog the jets, and improve the look and performance of your shower head.

How Often Should I Clean My Shower Head?

To keep your shower heads looking and performing like new, you should clean them once a month. I know that sounds like a lot, but our cleaning trick is so simple you can do it while showering.

You don’t want to wait until a problem develops. Doing so could require additional time and effort to get the same results.

If you can’t remember when you last cleaned your shower head, put it on your to-do list. 

If minerals and other deposits are building up on your shower head, it will only be more difficult and take longer to get rid of them. 

Pro Tip: Need a new shower head? Use our guide on How to Upgrade Your RV Shower Head (and Why).

Close up of shower head with limescale
Mineral deposits will build up on your shower head over time, making it crucial to regularly clean in.

Secret Ways to Clean Your Shower Head Without Removing It

Ok, here it is, my secret to keeping your shower head working great!

Massage The Rubber Nozzles

Yep that’s it! If your shower head has rubber nozzles you can clean them out easily any time you take a shower. All you need to do is turn the water on reach up and use your thumb to massage the rubber nozzles. Focus particularly on nozzles that are not spraying or shooting off at weird angles. If you have never done it before you may even feel crunching and even see minerals come out of the nozzles. Usually within a few seconds of massaging you can have your shower head spraying like new.

rubber shower head nozzles
Note the mineral clogging of this nozzle because it is rubber you can bend it over and crack it up. Do it while the water is running to flush it out.

Most shower heads have little rubber nozzles that are flexible for this reason. By flexing the nozzles the hard mineral buildup will crack and get rinsed out.

This trick is so simple and so effective I have done it when using friends’ showers and they have thought I replaced the shower head. That’s how effective this trick can be.

All you need to do is keep up on it anytime you notice any nozzles starting to clog or spray weirdly, give it a massage and most of the time it will keep the head working like new for many years. Rubber nozzle heads are so great this way that I recommend you replace any shower head without them so you can use this trick.

massaging a shower head

But what if you don’t have rubber nozzles on your shower head, can you still clean it without removing it? You sure can.

Prevent mineral deposits from forming with one of these 6 Best RV Water Softeners for Your Camper (And Do You Even Need One?).

Use a Ziploc Bag

Ziploc bags are useful for more than storing leftovers in your fridge. Fill a Ziploc bag with your favorite cleaning agent; we prefer vinegar but you might need a cleaning agent like CLR if you have mineral buildup.  

Secure the bag to the shower head with a rubber band and let the shower head sit in the solution for several hours.

Once the solution has had time to do its job, remove the bag from the shower head. Run hot water for a few minutes to clean it off. 

This can also be a great opportunity to use a soft-bristle brush and remove any mineral deposits stuck to the nozzles. This method works great for doing the hard work without removing the shower head altogether.

How To Clean a Shower Head and Shower Drain

Best Disinfecting Method: Vinegar

Vinegar is a fantastic multi-purpose cleaning agent that does an incredible job disinfecting. Soaking your shower head in vinegar can help soften and remove mineral deposits.

As we previously mentioned, you can fill a Ziploc bag or another plastic bag with vinegar to clean your shower head.

While you can use vinegar to clean your shower head without removing it, it’s also highly effective if you want to take the whole thing off. Let the shower head soak in a bowl for a few hours before reattaching it.

No matter which option you choose, run hot water through the shower head for a few minutes. This will help dislodge any remaining mineral deposits and maximize the nozzle flow.

Close up of clean shower head
Use vinegar and a Ziploc bag to disinfect your shower head with ease.

Best Quick and Easy Method: Baking Soda

Baking soda can do the trick if you’re looking for a quick and easy method for cleaning your shower head. 

All you need to do is mix baking soda and water in a bowl to create a paste. Next, spread the paste over the shower head nozzles and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

After letting the paste sit, use a wet toothbrush to scrub each nozzle. Run warm water through the shower head as you wash the paste off. 

This is a quick and effective method for cleaning your shower head without removing it.

Baking soda in a bowl
Scrubbing your shower head with baking soda can help remove any mineral deposits.

Does Vinegar Damage Shower Heads?

While vinegar can be an excellent cleaning agent for the rubber nozzles on the shower head, it can cause some damage to the metal surfaces. Vinegar is highly acidic and can quickly eat away at nickel, chrome, and brass surfaces.

You want to use caution and not let pure vinegar sit on these surfaces for too long. If you do, you could do more harm than good to your shower head.

Pro Tip: On the road and in need of a shower? Use these tips on How to Find Public Showers While Traveling to ensure you stay sweet smelling.

Woman happily washing hair.
Ensure you always have the perfect shower pressure by cleaning your shower head once a month.

How Can You Prevent Shower Head Clogs Between Cleanings? 

The best way to keep from clogging up is to use a rubber nozzle shower head and use our massage technique regularly. You will be surprised how effective it is. Deeper cleans are usually only needed for the surface buildup of minerals or soap scum.

Is Keeping Your Shower Head Clean Worth It?

If you want to enjoy plenty of water pressure and keep your shower head looking new, it’s worth keeping it clean. 

If you don’t want to keep up with regular cleaning, you’ll likely need to replace your shower head more often because it won’t give you the desired results.

Keeping your shower head clean is easier if you routinely clean it. Do yourself a favor and just get in the habit of giving your shower head a massage at least once a month and it will thank you with excellent flow.

What are your insider tips to cleaning your shower head? Tell us in the comments!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Fred Higgins

Saturday 15th of April 2023

CLR is a waste of money. Vinegar is far superior.