Having a shower head with strong pressure is great because it feels nice on the skin and you can wash that shampoo out of your head in record time. Yet, when that shower head starts to get dirty and clogged, it loses pressure, and your experience in the shower takes a dramatic turn for the worse.
While replacing your shower head is an option, oftentimes cleaning a shower head will do the trick. It is easily done with vinegar, but what if you don’t have any? Let’s talk about a few good ways to clean a shower head without vinegar.
#1: Using Coca-Cola
Yes, it sounds odd, but we figured we’d go big or go home right out of the gate. While it might sound weird, Coca-Cola and other similar sodas are actually very acidic. There is an old experiment where a beefsteak is placed in a bowl of Coca-Cola. It takes just days for the steak to disintegrate.
This acidity, combined with all of those bubbles, that carbonation, has the power to unclog your shower head and to remove built-up debris, calcium, and lime deposits, plus it’s really easy to do as well.
If you decide to give this method a try, here’s what you’ll need:
- 12 ounces of Coca-Cola or similar dark soda
- A small plastic or Ziploc bag that is watertight and fits around your shower head
- A dishcloth
- A few rubber bands
Once you collect all the materials above, here are the steps you’ll need to take:
- Fill the bag with Coca-Cola or other soda.
- Place the bag with the soda around the shower head, so that it is fully submerged.
- Use the rubber bands to secure the bag of soda to the shower head pipe and take your hands away slowly to make sure that the bag is secure and firmly attached.
- Let it sit for about 30 to 45 minutes, checking on it every 10 minutes or so to ensure that the bag is still in place. Remove the bag.
- If you are doing this with the shower head mounted to the wall, use a wet cloth to wipe it off. If you have removed the shower head from the wall for this process, rinse it off under the sink.
- Run some water through the shower head for about five minutes.
#2: Using Baking Soda
Yes, baking soda is known for being a great all-purpose cleaner, a stain remover, and odor remover, and more. Baking soda has the ability to get rid of built-up grime, gunk, grease, smells, and so much more. It’s great to have in your fridge as a deodorizer, it works to remove stains on fabric, and yes, it works to unclog and clean shower heads too.
For this method, you’ll need:
- A small bowl
- A spoon
- 1/2 cup of baking soda
- Rubber gloves
- A dishcloth
The process is as follows:
- In your bowl, mix some water with 1/2 cup of baking soda to make a paste. The amount of water does not need to be exact, just enough to make a relatively thick paste. Make sure that it’s not too thin or chunky.
- To avoid irritating your skin, put on rubber gloves. For most people, baking soda should not irritate the skin, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Cover the shower head with the paste, and try to really mash some into the water holes as well. If you don’t have enough paste, make some more.
- Let the paste sit on the shower head for 20 to 25 minutes, but no longer. If the paste dries out too much, it will be hard to remove.
- With your rubber gloves on, wipe away as much of the paste as you can, and then (if the shower head is mounted to the wall), use a wet cloth to thoroughly wipe it off. If the shower head is not attached to the wall, just rinse it off under the tap.
- Allow water to flow through the shower head for about five minutes to remove any remaining debris.
#3: Using CLR
CLR is a specific product that people in North America should be familiar with, a specialized kitchen and bathroom cleaning product designed to remove stubborn buildups of calcium, lime, and rust. All three of those, calcium, lime, and rust, can build up on and inside of your shower head, thus clogging it and reducing water pressure.
When it comes down to it, products like these are going to be some of your best bets at fast and easy shower head cleaning. Now, let’s keep in mind that products like CLR and other similar ones are not exactly healthy, so make sure to always wear gloves, always work in a ventilated area, and never ingest any of these chemical cleaners.
To clean your shower head using this method, you’ll need:
- CLR (or a similar product)
- Rubber gloves
- A plastic or Ziploc bag
- Some rubber bands
- Mask and safety goggles (optional)
Once you get the required things, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- First and foremost, products like CLR are corrosive and they surely are not good for your skin, plus they aren’t great in terms of inhaling the fumes either. Therefore, put on your rubber gloves, and if you want to be extra safe, put on a mask and safety goggles for added protection.
- If possible, for this method, it is best if you remove the shower head from the wall.
- Take a plastic or Ziploc bag, fill it up with the CLR or a similar chemical cleaning product, and then place the shower head inside of the bag. Seal the bag and allow the shower head to soak for up to a full hour (or however long the instructions for your exact product indicate).
- Remove the shower head from the bag and rinse it very thoroughly. We cannot stress enough just how important this step is because you don’t want to take a CLR shower the first time you go to use the shower head after cleaning.
#4: Using Dr. Bronner’s Cleaner
Dr. Bronner’s is a very special kind of soap that can be found all throughout the USA. This is a natural type of all-purpose soap or cleaner, a type of soap that is safe for the skin and handwashing, that can be used to wash dishes, to clean your skin, to clean your floors, and so much more, and yes, this also includes cleaning shower heads.
Now, natural all-purpose cleaners like this usually are not the best for heavy-duty cleaning needs, but they work well for mild and moderate buildups. Of course, the good thing about products like these is that they are natural, safe for the environment, and don’t require you to wear gloves either.
With that in mind, here’s all you’ll need:
- Dr. Bronner’s All Purpose Cleaner
- A plastic or Ziploc bag
- Some water
- Rubber bands
- A dishcloth
And, here’s how you’ll do it:
- Mix 4 cups of hot water with 1/4 cup of Dr. Bronner’s inside of the plastic or Ziploc bag. Mix it well to make it really foamy.
- If possible, remove the shower head from the wall, and put the shower head inside of the bag with the soap mixture. You can also use rubber bands to secure the bag to the shower head, if you don’t feel like dismounting it from the wall.
- Allow the shower head to soak in the mixture for at least 30 minutes. Remove the shower head from the bag and pour the soapy mix down the drain. It is eco-friendly so this should not be an issue.
- Thoroughly rinse the shower head with hot water, and then let water pass through it for a few minutes before using it.
#5: Deep Cleaning Using a Combination of Methods
If you have a shower head that is seriously dirty, where half the holes don’t even allow water to flow through them anymore, then this method is for you. That is, unless you want to buy a new shower head.
What is cool is that for this cleaning method, you can incorporate any one of the four other methods that we have looked at so far. Any one of those cleaning methods, combined with the deep scrub that we are about to talk about, should be more than enough to get your old shower head looking and functioning like brand new.
With that in mind, the things you will need to get ready include:
- A toothbrush
- Some toothpicks
- A towel
- Hot water
- A plastic or Ziploc Bag
- Rubber bands
- Cleaning solution of your choice – Coca-Cola, baking soda, CLR, or Dr. Bronner’s
- Some basic dish soap
With all of those ready, you will need to do the following:
- For this process, you do really need to dismount the shower head from the wall. This is not something you can do with the shower head still mounted in your shower.
- Take the shower head and rinse it thoroughly in hot water.
- Use an old toothbrush that you don’t plan on using anymore, and using a mixture of hot water and dish soap, give the shower head a through scrubbing. Make sure to scrub every single square inch that you can.
- Rinse the soap off with hot water.
- Now, to unclog all of those little holes, it’s time to put the toothpicks to use. Use the toothpicks to dig out any buildups in the little holes.
- Take your plastic bag and fill it up with the cleaning solution of your choice, and one of the four that we have looked at today. Allow the shower head to soak in the mixture for at least 30 minutes, remove it, rinse it off, and then use your sink faucet to blast some water through it.
There you have it folks, five great ways to clean your shower head without using vinegar.
For the toughest of buildups, we recommend using method five in combination with some CLR or a similar cleaning product. That said, if you do actually have vinegar at home, using that as your cleaning solution is a good option as well.