Have you ever noticed your shower head looks grimy or isn’t quite giving the same water pressure it used to? It could be due to a build-up of hard water deposits.
No idea how to descale a shower head? Don’t worry! It’s an easy job once you know how. Just make sure you don’t make the one mistake we’ll explain below.
In this article, we’ll cover what causes limescale buildup in the first place, whether to choose a natural or chemical-based descaler solution and how to get the job done safely.
Identifying Scale Build-Up
Build-up can be caused by numerous factors, including hard water and minerals in the air. There are several main ways to identify scale.
- Inspect the surface. Look for discoloration or spots on the surface of the metal piece. These will usually appear as grayish spots that may feel slimy when touched.
- Use a magnifying glass. Small crystals on the surface not visible to the naked eye are a telltale sign of scale build-up.
- Check the pressure. If the water pressure is not what it used to be, then chances are there’s build-up clogging up your pipes.
- Use your nose. If you notice an unpleasant smell coming from your shower head, then this could also indicate build-up has started forming inside the pipes. Bad smells could also be caused by bacteria or mold, so use this in combination with other signs.
If you notice scale build-up on a regular basis, consider buying a showerhead filter that’s effective for hard water.
Preparing To Descale
Clean the showerhead’s surfaces, ensuring that it’s free of dirt and debris. You’ll also need to prepare and choose which kind of descaler you want to use.
Pre-cleaning the showerhead
Start by removing the shower head from its mounting bracket with an adjustable wrench or pliers. Then clean it using warm water and a mild detergent solution, making sure to rinse away all soap residue before drying off the surface thoroughly with a soft cloth or towel.
Then apply some non-abrasive cleaner onto a damp sponge or cloth and rub gently over any stubborn areas until they are spotless.
Use hot water to flush out any remaining particles from inside the nozzle holes, so they don’t interfere with the descaling process later on.
Finally, decide whether you’re going to use a natural or store-bought chemical descaler. We’ll explain each one and how to use it below.
Using Natural Descalers
Natural descaler ingredients can be used in place of commercial products and are non-toxic. Descaling with natural products is economical and effective; plus, it won’t harm the environment like chemical-based products may do.
To make a homemade descaler solution, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a bowl or bucket. For more stubborn deposits, try using lemon juice instead of vinegar.
WARNING: Don’t use baking soda! It can form a paste and clog your shower head even more!
Pour either mixture into a spray bottle and spray directly onto the affected area before scrubbing with an old toothbrush or brush specifically designed for cleaning purposes.
Don’t forget to wear protective gloves when doing this.
If you’re using an off-the-shelf shower head cleaner, follow the instructions on the packaging carefully as they may differ between brands.
One example you can buy in the supermarket is CLR Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover. It claims to remove calcium, lime, and rust deposits from various surfaces and appliances.
Most chemical descaling solutions require soaking time so that they have enough time to break down the hard limescale deposits inside your shower head.
Once you’ve given it long enough to soak, run hot water through the shower head for several minutes to flush away any remaining residue. Your newly cleaned shower head should now be free from build-up!
Cleaning And Rinsing The Shower Head
Now that you’ve descaled your shower head with a chemical descaler, it’s time to finish up by cleaning and rinsing the fixture.
- Use a soft bristle brush or cloth to remove any remaining buildup on the surface of the shower head. Take care not to scratch its surface as this could damage the metal or plastic material.
- Once all of the debris has been removed, give the entire fixture a thorough rinse using warm water from your sink faucet. Be sure to angle the nozzle downwards so that any residual chemicals can be flushed away.
- After several minutes of rinsing, carefully inspect for any missed spots or stubborn grime. If necessary, repeat until all traces of residue are eliminated.
Regular descaling will help prevent mineral build-up in order to maximize flow rate and water pressure – always follow product instructions when using these types of cleaners.
Descalers can be made from natural ingredients found in your home, or with more specialized chemical products that are available at most hardware stores and supermarkets. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to thoroughly rinse the shower head once you’re done so no residue is left behind.
We always recommend regular maintenance of plumbing fixtures like shower heads, water softeners, and water filters to ensure they remain functioning properly and safely for years to come.