Properly cleaning a rain shower head is essential to reduce the risk of bacterial growth like Legionella while freeing clogged nozzles so the unit can produce a steady stream of water.
This guide will walk you through the steps to thoroughly clean your rain shower head to keep it in good working order.
Before Getting Started
Before cleaning, it is important to have these essential items on hand:
- A wrench or pair of pliers to remove the shower head
- Plumbers tape for reassembly
- A large bucket or container to submerge the shower head in
- A soft bristle brush to scrub the shower head
- Cloth or paper towel to prevent scratching the finish
- White vinegar or a chemical cleaner to remove limescale buildup and bacteria
- Safety goggles
How to clean and maintain a rain shower head
Here are the recommended steps for cleaning a rain shower head:
Step 1: Remove your shower head
With a soft cloth, wrap it around the base of the shower head and then clamp down with a pair of pliers or a wrench. Turn in a counterclockwise direction until fully removed. Have an extra towel to catch any excess water that may drip from the shower head once removed.
After removal, we recommend wiping away any plumber’s tape from the threads on the shower arm.
Step 2: Soak the shower head in vinegar or chemical cleaner
Fill your large bucket or container with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water or a chemical-based solution like CLR. Submerge the shower head and nozzle side down, and let it soak for a few hours.
Step 3: Gently scrub the shower head
With your soft bristle brush or toothbrush, scrub each nozzle and the shower head until all visible signs of limescale deposits are removed. It may be a good idea to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from any splashing. Baking soda can also help provide some friction to remove stubborn buildup left behind by hard water.
Step 4: Rinse and flush out your shower head
Under lukewarm water, rinse off any remaining cleaning solution from the shower head. You’ll also want to remove and rinse the mesh filter screen or washer within the shower head to release any trapped sediment or debris. We found this helpful in ensuring adequate water flow and pressure.
Step 5: Reinstall your shower head
To reinstall the shower head, wrap the plumber’s tape in a clockwise direction around the threads of the shower arm. Then screw the shower head onto the arm until firm. Wrap the cloth around the base of the shower head, and with a wrench, tighten and align the shower head.
At what point is it time to replace your shower head?
Without regular cleaning, limescale deposits may cause irreversible damage to the nozzles and metal of the shower head. We found that a shower head cleaned regularly should last 5-10 years, whereas one that is neglected will only last about one year before needing to be replaced.
Why it’s important to clean your shower head
Aside from the visual appearance of water spots or limescale deposits, it’s important to clean the shower head as legionella bacteria can grow in the shower head and cause a serious illness called Legionnaires’ disease. This is particularly important for folks with a compromised immune system or those who are elderly. Fortunately, some new shower heads come equipped with LED lights, which studies have shown can prevent the growth of bacteria.