The most important part of the shower is the shower head, and there are many different varieties out there. They all have different fittings, and many people think it’s complicated to remove or change them, but it really isn't.
You can do it with minimal equipment, and this guide will show you how to remove shower head without a wrench.
Your wrench and your pliers are your go-to tools when it comes to bathroom DIY, but what should you do if you don’t have them handy?
Here’s a quick guide on how to remove different shower heads without them:
removing a fixed shower head
Fixed shower heads are the most common variety, and they literally just connect into a pipe that comes out a few inches from your wall.
1. Shut off the water source
Make sure you’ve disconnected the water source before you start work, or you can end up with many issues.
2. Loosen the threads
Your shower head is connected to the pipe with a series of threads. You can loosen these by applying one of the following lubricants:
These will help to loosen the connection and remove any deposits, making it easier to remove the shower head. Leave them on for 10-20 minutes to do their work.
3. Use duct tape to remove the shower head
You should hopefully be able to use this method to remove a fixed shower head without any hassle.
removing a handheld shower head
Unlike fixed shower heads, handheld shower heads have a flexible hose that reaches from your pipe to allow you to maneuver it.
1. Turn off the water source
Always make sure it’s completely turned off to avoid any accidents.
2. Apply a lubricant
Use one of the lubricants listed above to help make the process easier. You can choose to skip this step, but it will make it a lot harder to remove.
3. Use twine to remove the shower head
Wrap the twine around the shower head connection. Loop it around at least 10 times, but the more, the better (really get it nice and tight). Make sure to loop it around counter-clockwise.
Attach the end of the twine to a sturdy bar or stick (a broom handle works well) that gives you a good grip. Pull the twine counter-clockwise, and as it unravels, the showerhead should disconnect so you can remove it safely.
Twine can tricky and may cut your hands, but it’s much easier to use on a handheld shower head. You can always use the duct tape method if you prefer it.
removing a rainfall shower head
Rainfall shower heads are installed overhead and are simulate the sensation of warm rain falling on you. These shower heads can be harder to reach because they come from the ceiling, so you might need a small stepladder.
1. Turn off the water
Make sure all the moisture is gone from the pipes and turn off the water supply.
2. Apply the lubricant
Apply a couple of layers of lubricant and leave for 15-20 minutes. If there's a build-up of rust, then you should use the lime removed to cut straight through it.
3. Use a belt to remove the shower head
Loop your belt around the shower head connection and tighten it. The end of the belt should face in the opposite direction.
Tighten it around the shower head, so it’s as close as possible.
Wrap the belt strap around your wrist for extra grip and pull counter-clockwise. This will help to loosen the threads until the shower head can be removed.
The methods used for each of the types of shower heads are interchangeable and are just a suggestion. You might find that one method works for you, and you can use it for any shower head.
Of the three methods above the belt, one is most effective, provided you have a study enough belt, but remember you can always try to loosen it by hand.
Shower Head Won’t Undo: What Can I Do?
If you’ve tried the above methods and you can’t get it to budge, then you have an issue. Generally, this is because of a build-up of limescale or rust.
Limescale is a build-up of calcium and magnesium over time. Your water contains trace amounts of these minerals, and over time they will build up in your shower head. This is a particularly common issue if you have hard water.
You can prevent limescale by regularly cleaning your shower and nozzles, but if you want to remove your shower head quickly, you’ll need to use a lubricant. WD-40 sprayed on your shower head will help to loosen it so it moves. Leave it on for about 10 minutes after spraying (this may vary depending on the type of lubricant used).
Rust can build up in your pipes when metal is exposed to oxygen and iron deposits. Over time this can spread into your shower head connections and make it really difficult to remove them. White wine vinegar is the best way to remove it quickly, but you need to cover the connection completely.
Wrap a plastic bag around the shower head and the pipe and fill it with white wine vinegar. You should leave it for at least a few hours before trying again, but when you come back, it should be much looser.
If your shower head is stuck, then use the belt method we gave instructions for further up. This gives you the most force to help move a stuck shower head.
People also Ask (FAQs)
Are all shower arms removable?
Some shower heads can’t be removed from the shower arm, so you need to remove the entire thing, but this is rarely the case. Most shower arms are removable and can sometimes be removed by hand. You shouldn’t need to remove the shower arm to remove the shower head, though.
Do you have to turn off the water to change the shower head?
Technically, no, because if you turn the shower off then no water should come through it. However, it’s always a sensible precaution to turn off the water supply to prevent any issues while you work.
Can you remove a shower head pipe?
Yes, you can remove the shower head pipe, but it may need a bit more work, and you won’t need to if you just want to remove the shower head. These can sometimes be removed by hand, or you can use a wrench.
How often should you change your shower head?
Your shower head will see a lot of use every day and needs to be cleaned regularly. Ideally, you should change your shower head every 6-8 months to keep your shower functioning optimally.
How can I prevent rust in my shower head?
The easiest way to prevent rust is to regularly remove the shower head and clean it thoroughly. Soaking it in hot water and white vinegar can help to get rid of any rust.
How can I prevent limescale in my shower head?
To prevent limescale build-up, you need to clean your shower head regularly. Using a hard water treatment can help limit the mineral deposits running through your shower head, and rubbing a cloth with vinegar (or alternatives) can help dissolve them before they build up.
Where can I buy plumbing tools?
Sometimes you will need specialist tools, and it can be worth having them just in case. We’ve created a complete list of essential plumbing tools that any homeowner should have.
Shower heads need to be replaced periodically, and you might not always have tools on hand. Thankfully, there are a few ways around it, and you can remove a shower head without a wrench or pliers.
This article has given you some useful methods to remove them easily without those tools, and hopefully, you’ve now got the confidence to do it yourself.
Josh enjoys researching, testing and diving into home improvement & DIY products. He has a passion for tools, learning new skills and fixing the everyday problems that arise around the house.