Informational Guide

How to Clean a Shower Head (Without Vinegar)

Having a clean shower head is key to having a healthy body and bathroom. Read on to discover how to clean a shower head without vinegar.

by Ian Haynes

Having a clean shower head is key to having a healthy body and bathroom. An easily overlooked part of your cleaning routine, shower heads can become clogged by silt, limescale, and debris; regular cleaning can help remedy this issue. Read on to discover how to clean a shower head without vinegar.

While water may seem clean to the naked eye, it can hide silt and debris that get caught in your shower head. In hard water areas, calcium, magnesium, and other debris can flow in your water and block your shower head over time.

If your home uses copper supply pipes, the copper can flake and flow to your shower head before clogging it over time. Some shower heads come with different parts, such as a built-in flow restrictor. These often look like plastic discs and can be easily removed according to manual instructions to improve water pressure.

Cleaning A Shower Head

8 Methods Of Cleaning Shower Heads: Unclog Without Using Vinegar

Vinegar is a prevalent home cleaning tool. It is highly effective at cleaning and disinfecting household items without using harsh chemicals. However, because it is an acid, it is dangerous to use on things all the time. Luckily, we know how to unclog a shower head without vinegar:

1. Using Baking Soda

  • Mix equal amounts of water and baking soda until you have a paste.
  • Thoroughly coat the showerhead in the paste
  • Wait 20-30 minutes
  • Rinse the showerhead thoroughly and check it works properly
  • Repeat as necessary to remove the issue
  • Test the shower to see if it works properly

2. Using Bleach

  • Ventilate the bathroom and wear safety gloves and a mask
  • Mix equal parts bleach and water in a disposable bowl
  • Apply this mixture to the showerhead with a soft cloth
  • Wait for 5 minutes
  • Rinse thoroughly
  • Wash the showerhead with mild soapy water and rinse
  • Air dry
  • Rinse off any cloudy residue from leftover bleach

3. Using a Brush

  • Remove the showerhead from the wall
  • Fill a bowl with mild soapy water
  • Dip a cleaning toothbrush in the mixture and rub in circles on the showerhead
  • Rinse the inside of the showerhead and repeat on the inside
  • Rinse thoroughly before assembling and testing the function

4. Using Oven Cleaner

  • Ventilate the bathroom and wear protective gloves and a mask
  • Spray the oven cleaner on the showerhead and leave for 15-20 minutes
  • Rinse off carefully with hot water
  • Test the function of the showerhead to ensure it works properly
  • Repeat this cleaning process if necessary

5. Using Coca Cola

  • Remove the showerhead from the wall
  • Put the coke into a bowl
  • Dip the head in and rub with a clean cloth or cleaning brush
  • Repeat if necessary
  • Leave to soak for 30 minutes if necessary
  • Rinse thoroughly
  • Dry and shine
  • Test function

6. Using Lemon Juice

  • Spray some lemon juice on a clean cloth and coat the head of the shower
  • Dissolve salt in the mixture in a bowl for added shine if necessary
  • Let the showerhead sit for a few minutes
  • Rinse, dry, and test the shower to ensure it works

7. Using Lime Scale Remover

  • For limescale remover, ventilate your bathroom and wear protective gear
  • Follow the instructions carefully and ensure that you entirely coat the showerhead
  • Leave it for the recommended time frame
  • Rinse the shower thoroughly
  • Test your shower to confirm it functions as intended
  • Repeat this cleaning process if necessary

8. Using Rust Removers

  • Ventilate the area and wear protective gloves and a mask
  • Spray the showerhead thoroughly and use according to the product instructions
  • If described, sandpaper the area after soaking
  • Wash the showerhead carefully with warm, clean water
  • Dry and check the shower functions as it should
Best Ways To Clean A Shower Head

How To Prevent Mold and Bacteria: Benefits Of A Clean Showerhead

As with any area of your bathroom or home, showerheads are susceptible to mold and mildew build-up over time. Showerheads are particularly attractive for bacteria. They provide a warm and damp atmosphere that typically does not get clean often.

Some of the issues that could be lurking in your showerhead include mold, mildew, deposits, dirt, silt, nontuberculous mycobacteria, and legionella pneumophila; all of these are typically harmless but could be dangerous for you or a loved one.

To prevent mold and bacteria from building up in your showerhead, we recommend cleaning your showerhead using one of the methods above once a week and investing in a shower head filter.

People also Ask (FAQs)

What is the black stuff on my shower head?

Most often, black substances on your shower head are mold or bacteria. To remove it, clean your showerhead as described above as carefully as possible.

Is it dangerous to mix vinegar and baking soda?

When you mix vinegar and baking soda, you will get mostly water and some sodium acetate. This is not necessarily harmful but can explode when stored in a sealed container. We recommend not mixing the two to be safe.

What kills mold better than vinegar?

Typically, a strong mold remover is better than vinegar at taking out large amounts of mold. Vinegar is better for dealing with smaller colonies rather than massive infestations.

How do you clean a shower head without removing it?

You can put the mixture in a sandwich bag and rubber band to the head, soaking the head for half an hour before rinsing. This works best with vinegar and water, Coca-Cola, and water and bleach.


Removing mold and mildew from any type of wall fixed or handheld shower head does not have to be an intensive process. Using one of the methods above, you will find the best way to clean a shower head without vinegar for you.

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.