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Everyone loves to have a shower after a hot day, or in the mornings when they wake up. Whatever time of the day you prefer, you want to know that the shower head is working properly. Just like with most things, maintenance is needed and you will need to clean it. Some people don’t like the idea of using vinegar so the question is posed, how can you clean a shower head without vinegar? There are 4 different ways to clean it: Baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, Coca-Cola, or oven cleaner.

Let’s take a look.

Shower heads get dirty and need to be cleaned.

Why Does The Shower Head Need Cleaning?

The shower head nozzle has mineral buildup over time. The minerals end up caked onto the tiny holes that are in the shower head and cut off the water flow or make it spray all over the place. Not only do these things happen, but the mineral deposits will also cause the water pressure to build up. This happens behind the shower head and makes the seal weak. Thus, causing a leak in the plumbing. In addition to using vinegar, there are four other ways to clean the build-up on your shower head and get rid of the mineral build-up. The one you use is your preference.

Methods to Clean the Shower Head

#1 Baking Soda

If you don’t have vinegar to use, you can use baking soda. To do this, make a paste that uses a cup of baking soda and water and apply it to the showerhead. Then, let it sit for 30 minutes. After this, you will scrub it with an old wet toothbrush. Baking soda has an abrasive cleaning power and can break up water deposits. Lastly, you can rinse the paste off by turning the shower on and letting the warm water run.

Baking Soda Cost: $7

#2 Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is another cleaning agent instead of using vinegar. It has antifungal properties so it is like a boost of disinfectant. This method creates bubbles and works at the mineral deposits for you. Keep in mind that it can be sensitive to skin so you want to wear rubber gloves. This is a solution that is made up of 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide.

  1. Combine the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide in a watertight plastic bag
  2. Using a wrench, take the shower head off and get ready to soak it in the plastic bag. Make sure that the bag is big enough for the shower head and that you can close the bag too.
  3. Put the shower head in the bag and use a rubber band to seal the bag up.
  4. Keep the concoction on the shower head nozzle holes for at least 20-30 minutes.
  5. Turn on the hot water through the shower head for a few minutes at high pressure to clean out the deposits. Rinse away any deposits that remain.
  6. Use a cloth that is damp to wipe away any debris that may be lingering.
  7. Put the shower head back on.

Hydrogen Peroxide Cost: $8

#3 Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is known to be a great cleaning agent on toilets, removing rust, and battery terminals to name a few. It is also used by many homeowners to clean the shower head.

  1. Use a 1-quart bag and make sure it is big enough to wrap around the shower head. Then, pour a can of Coca-Cola in the bag. You can clean the shower head without removing it.
  2. Using a rubber band, wrap it around the showerhead so it is tight. Check that it is secure before you walk away. If this seems complicated, you can remove the showerhead and put it in the bag with the Coca-Cola.
  3. Wait for 30 minutes. Make sure it is still secure so you don’t come back to a mess.
  4. Remove the bag from the shower head and pour it out. Even if you love soda, don’t drink it!
  5. If the nozzle is still mounted, wipe it down with a towel that is wet with warm water to remove the left-over soda. If you took the nozzle off, rinse it in the sink. Then, run the shower with hot water for a few minutes to clean it out.

Coca-Cola Cost: $5

#4 Oven Cleaner

It may seem like this is a mistake, but many homeowners do use oven cleaners. However, the fumes can be toxic so if you go this route, so make sure there is a door or window open in the vicinity. Also, wear a ventilator mask as well as rubber gloves.

  1. Using the oven cleaner, spray the shower so all surfaces are covered.
  2. Wait 20 minutes and let the oven cleaner work on the mineral deposits.
  3. Turn on the hot water at high pressure to rinse away any product that was remaining.
  4. Lastly, using a damp cloth, wipe away any residue that remains.

Oven Cleaner Cost: $5

Hard water on shower head can cause an issue for mineral deposits.

Hard Water Build-Up Issues

You should clean the shower head at least once a month, especially if you have hard water. You can have a water softener installed and see if that helps. A water softener will also help with taking out the high levels of calcium and magnesium in the water. Wiping down the shower head after each use is a good idea as well. Sometimes using a lemon to rub over water stains will help lift them.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know how to clean the shower head without vinegar, there are a few other areas you want to pay attention to.

If you find that your water bill is higher, there could be a leak. The first thing to do is to check the water meter after you shut off the water in the home. Not sure where that is? It is usually located near the end of the property by the street.

Another area is low water pressure. If you are noticing this in your home, it may be due to leaking pipes, corroded water lines, faulty fixtures, or debris in pipes to name a few. If you aren’t sure, contacting a professional is a good idea.

Lastly, if you find there is no water in your toilet, you can flush it. However, you need to pour a few gallons of water in and let the water pressure do the rest. This is good information to know next time you might find no water in your toilet. Also, make sure that you have contacted a professional if you are having issues with finding out why there is no water in the toilet.

When Do I Call a Professional?

There is always maintenance to do around a home. However, you want to make sure that water is not backing up in the pipes so keeping the water flowing through the shower head is important. If you aren’t sure how to clean the shower head, you can call a professional or consider changing it out for something easier to clean.


If you develop a leak from the shower, you will notice your water bill go up so making sure the shower head is free of mineral deposits is important. Your local home inspection team can check the pipes, along with the shower during a home inspection. Reach out to Enviroquest Home Inspections for plumbing and complete home inspections in Harrisburg, PA.

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