How to Clean a Showerhead With Baking Soda: Recipe and Instructions

minimalist blue tiled shower with modern flat shiny chrome shower head

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Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes - 1 hour
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $2-$5

With so many bathroom cleaners on the market today, how do you choose the best shower cleaner?

One important aspect to keep in mind when looking for ways to clean your bathroom is whether or not the products are safe for you and the environment, as well as their overall effectiveness.

According to American Chemistry Council, baking soda is often used to clean and degrease around the house because it's a quite potent ingredient. Depending on how it is used, it helps with everything from stain removal and odor neutralization, to unclogging drains and removing greasy residues from household surfaces.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that sodium bicarbonate is generally recognized as safe. Given its ability to clean and deodorize our homes, in addition to its overall safety, it makes sense to use baking soda as part of your green home cleaning routine. 

What You'll Need

Tools

  • Medium-sized bowl
  • Old toothbrush
  • Wrench/pliers to remove showerhead

Materials

  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 4 to 5 drops dishwashing liquid

Instructions

The easiest way to clean a showerhead is to use a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap. 

The combination of slightly basic baking soda and acidic vinegar creates an effective cleaning solution for your showerhead. And the addition of a small amount of dish soap increases its cleaning power even more.

  1. Remove Showerhead

    To clean your showerhead, the first step is to remove it from the overhead fixture to make the process easier.

    To detach the showerhead from the fixture, turn it counterclockwise to unscrew it from the pipe extending from the wall. This will work for most showerheads.

    Some older models may require you to use a wrench or pliers to loosen the showerhead. Take care when doing this that you are as gentle as possible with the tools. Using too much force may cause you to damage the finish.

  2. Rinse

    Once the showerhead has been removed, hold it under warm, running water to dislodge any loose dirt or debris. This step will also let you get a closer look at which areas are completely clogged and need a more thorough cleaning.

  3. Prepare Cleaning Solution

    In a medium-sized bowl, combine two tablespoons of baking soda, half a cup of white vinegar, and 4 to 5 drops of dishwashing liquid. Mix it well and place the showerhead in the bowl.

  4. Remove Buildup

    The showerhead needs to soak in the DIY cleaning solution for at least 30 minutes.

    Once the time has passed, use an old toothbrush to gently remove mineral buildup, mold, or grime that has loosened up.

    If you find that the showerhead is still dirty, put it back in the cleaning solution and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Repeat the scrubbing if necessary.

  5. Rinse in Hot Water

    Once you are finished soaking and scrubbing your showerhead, run it under hot water to remove any remaining cleaning solution or grime that is left behind.

  6. Reinstall Showerhead

    Once the showerhead has been cleaned and rinsed, replace it on the shower fixture. Use the tools carefully to avoid damaging the finish.

Variations

If you cannot remove the showerhead from the shower fixture, you can still use this method to clean it.

Instead of soaking the showerhead in a bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of baking soda, half a cup of white vinegar, and 4 to 5 drops of dishwashing liquid in a large plastic bag. 

Fit the showerhead into the plastic bag and secure it around the showerhead using an elastic band or tying a knot with the bag over the showerhead. Be sure to secure it tightly so it doesn't fall.

Let the showerhead soak in the plastic bag for 30 to 60 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing. Repeat if necessary.

More Ways to Clean a Showerhead 

There are many ways to clean a showerhead, depending on what you have on hand. Here are a few variations to try.

Baking Soda and Water

The simplest way to clean a clogged showerhead is to use only baking soda and water.

First, make a simple cleaning paste. Add a few tablespoons of baking soda to a small bowl. Add just enough water and mix gently with a spoon to make a thick paste.

Apply the paste to the showerhead and scrub it with an old toothbrush. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. Scrub with the old toothbrush again and rinse it thoroughly before reinstalling.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

If the baking soda alone wasn’t powerful enough to clean the showerhead, try combining baking soda and vinegar.

In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of white vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda. You will get a lot of bubbles so make sure the bowl is a decent size.

Add the showerhead into the bowl and let it sit for 30 to 60 minutes. Scrub and rinse before reinstalling the showerhead.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Is it safe to put baking soda down the drain?

    Baking soda is commonly used for household cleaning—even for cleaning drain pipes themselves. While producing a chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda inside your pipes could pose a slight risk of damage, rinsing these two products down the drain with water is very safe.

  • Is baking soda environmentally friendly?

    Baking soda has long been considered one of the most natural and eco-friendly household cleaning solutions. It is doubtless a greener alternative to bleach and other synthetic products, but it can still be toxic to aquatic life. The key is to use baking soda sparingly and minimize the amount that goes down the drain.

  • How often should you clean your showerhead?

    Most agree that showerheads should be deep cleaned monthly to eliminate limescale, which can slow water flow and encourage bacteria growth in your shower.

View Article Sources
  1. "Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)." American Chemistry Council.

  2. "Code of Federal Regulations Title 21." U.S. Food and Drug Administration.