How To Clean Shower Head Without Vinegar: A Definitive Guide

White vinegar is a sort of all-purpose cleaner around the home. You can use it to get rid of mineral deposits on your fixtures, unclog pipes, sanitize appliances, and more. However, not all materials pair well with the acidic substance. For instance, vinegar might be a no-no for your shower head. What now?

You can use baking soda or bleach to clean your shower head without vinegar. A commercial scale remover is an excellent alternative, or you could use the oven cleaner. Less conventional solutions include dipping the fixture in Coca Cola or scrubbing it with a toothbrush.

Cleaning Shower Head Without Vinegar

Vinegar can remove mineral deposits and disinfect your shower head in the blink of an eye. But when the fixture doesn’t like acids, you might have to find an alternative. The two best replacements are baking soda and bleach. Let’s see how to clean the fixture with each of these products.

How To Clean Shower Head With Baking Soda

While baking soda can’t dissolve scale deposits, it can remove them through its abrasive action. A baking soda paste and easy to make and effortless to use. Here’s how.

1. Gather the necessary supplies 

  • ½-cup of baking soda
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Dishcloth
  • Soft brush
  • Rubber gloves

2. Make a baking soda paste

Place the baking soda in a bowl and add a little quantity of water at a time. Mix the powder with the water and add more liquid until you obtain a thick paste. If, by mistake, you pour too much water, add more baking soda to the bowl.

3. Cover the shower head with the baking soda paste

Put on the gloves and cover the entire shower head with the baking soda paste. Let it sit for about 25-30 minutes.

4. Scrub the shower head 

Use a soft brush (a toothbrush is the best choice) to scrub the shower head. Pay particular attention to the rubber nozzles.

Sometimes, mineral deposits or grime can clog the nozzles. If you can dislodge the dirt with the brush, use a needle or toothpick to unclog each nozzle.

5. Rinse the shower head 

If possible, place the shower head under a running faucet and rinse it properly. Otherwise, soak the dish cloth in warm water and wipe the fixture until clean. Rinse the dish cloth to remove the baking soda paste as many times as necessary.

Inspect the shower head; if the nozzles are still clogged, repeat or dislodge the deposits with a needle or toothbrush, then rinse again.

How To Clean Shower Head With Bleach

If your shower head isn’t particularly dirty, but it has lost its shine, you can try to restore it with bleach. The substance can also remove scale, although it doesn’t work as well as vinegar or baking soda for the purpose. That said, here’s how to clean your shower head.

1. Gather the necessary supplies 

  • Unscented, general-purpose bleach
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Spray bottle
  • Cloths
  • Toothbrush
  • Protective equipment

2. Dilute the bleach

Many homeowners believe that concentrated bleach cleans better than a diluted substance. However, bleach has a highly alkaline pH, and it can damage most surfaces. That’s why you should always dilute it before cleaning your fixtures.

You should mix one-part bleach to ten parts water, which roughly works out to about one tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water. Mix the two in a bucket, then fill a spray bottle with the bleach solution.

3. Spray the bleach solution on the showerhead

Put on your protective equipment, including gloves, a face mask with a respirator, and goggles. Spray the bleach solution all over the shower head.

Before applying the bleach, make sure the shower head is fairly clean or rinse it with water and dry it out before proceeding. Bleach can react with other substances and create noxious fumes, some of which can be life-threatening.

After you’ve covered the shower head in a bleach solution (pay particular attention to the nozzles), let it sit for about 10 minutes.

4. Scrub the fixture

Scrub the shower head with a toothbrush to remove all hard water deposits, soap scum, and other embedded dirt.

5. Rinse and dry

Rinse the shower head under running water if possible, or wipe it vigorously with a soaked cloth. Dry it out with a dry microfiber cloth to prevent water stains. If you’ve removed the shower head from the pipe to clean it, mount it back and enjoy your clean shower.

Warning: When using bleach, avoid mixing it with other cleaning products. If you have to mix it, make sure the product you use doesn’t contain ammonia. When bleach and ammonia combine, they produce toxic chloramine gas. This gas can irritate your airways and eyes. Depending on the quantity of gas produced by the reaction, chloramine can damage your lungs, cause cognitive issues, and even result in death.

Shower Head Cleaning Hack: Other Alternatives

Baking soda and bleach are two of the most common alternatives to vinegar. However, they are not the only ones. If you don’t mind a less conventional solution, check out the methods below.

Lime Scale Remover

The lime scale remover comes as a logical alternative to vinegar when you want to remove the hard water deposits from your fixture. This is an excellent choice if your shower head is clogged and you want to restore the original water volume. Here’s how to use it.

1. Spray lime scale remover onto the shower head

Fill a spray bottle with a commercial lime scale remover and spray it all over the shower head. If possible, take the shower head off the pipe for easier maneuvering. When applying the product, make sure it goes into all nozzles.

2. Wait 

Let the lime scale remover react with the mineral deposits for about 25-30 minutes. You can use this time to clean the rest of your shower or other areas of your bathroom.

3. Clean the shower head 

Scrub the fixture with a toothbrush and rinse it, preferably under running water. Alternatively, wipe it clean with a damp cloth. Turn on the water and check the results. If the nozzles still seem clogged, use a needle or toothpick to unclog them, then repeat the procedure.

Coca Cola

If you’re looking for alternatives to vinegar only because you don’t have vinegar at home and don’t feel like popping to the shops to buy some, replace it with Coca Cola. The popular beverage can remove the mineral deposits on your fixture and unclog the nozzles.

1. Soak the shower head in soda 

Open a can or small bottle of Coca Cola and pour its contents into a zip-lock bag. Place the bag over the shower head, making sure the entire fixture is soaked in the liquid, then fix the bag with a rubber band.

2. Wait

Like the chemical lime scale remover, Coke needs time to dissolve the mineral deposits and soap scum from your shower head. Let it sit for about half an hour.

3. Rinse the fixture

Coca Cola is generally aggressive enough to remove lime scale without the need for scrubbing. Thus, you can skip this step and go directly to rinsing. Rinse the shower head under running water if possible. Otherwise, use a damp cloth to wipe it clean.

Keep in mind that Coca Cola residues get sticky and are hard to remove once they dry out. For this reason, you should make sure to wipe the shower head carefully. When you’re done, turn on the water in the shower and see if it’s still clogged. Repeat if necessary.

Lemon Juice

Alongside Coke, lemon juice is another excellent alternative to vinegar. However, you should only use it on fixtures that are resistant to acidic substances.

1. Soak the shower head 

Squeeze a couple of lemons into a bowl and mix the juice with a cup of water. Soak a dish cloth into the lemon water and wrap it around the shower head. Wait for about half an hour.

2. Scrub

When the time has passed, remove the cloth and sprinkle a few teaspoons of baking soda all over the shower head. Scrub it thoroughly with a toothbrush, paying particular attention to the nozzles.

3. Rinse 

Rinse the shower head with a soaked cloth or under running water. Wipe it dry with a microfiber cloth, then test by letting the water run for a minute or two. Repeat if necessary.

Oven Cleaner

Oven cleaner is a popular product, but it’s designed to dissolve grease and oils, not scale. So, what does it have to do with the shower head?

Not many people know that oven cleaners can remove much more than grease. The harsh chemicals in it can deal with pretty much anything, including soap scum and lime scale. If you decide to use it, keep in mind that it could damage the chromed finish of your shower if you don’t rinse it thoroughly. That said, here’s how to use it.

1. Spray oven cleaner over the shower head

Most oven cleaners come in spray bottles. If yours doesn’t, pour it into a clean spray bottle and apply it all over the shower head. Let it sit for about 20 minutes.

2. Scrub the shower head

Use a toothbrush and scrub the shower head all over. You can dip the brush in water if necessary, but don’t mix any other cleaning products with the oven cleaner.

3. Rinse off the chemicals 

Use plenty of water to rinse the shower head, or use a soaked cloth – make sure to rinse the cloth thoroughly after each wipe to remove all oven cleaner traces. Wipe with a dry cloth when you’re done.

All-Purpose Bathroom Cleaner

When you’re looking for alternatives to vinegar to remove scale from your shower head, a product you might miss is the all-purpose bathroom cleaner. While this stuff isn’t as aggressive as other cleaners, it is still formulated specifically to wipe clean your fixtures.

1. Soak the shower head 

Fill a zip-lock bag with an all-purpose bathroom cleaner and place it over the shower head. Make sure the fixture is fully immersed, then fix the bag on the shower with a rubber band. Let it sit for about 20 minutes.

2. Scrub

Use an abrasive cloth or toothbrush to scrub the shower head. Insist on each nozzle and make sure it’s unclogged before moving to the next.

3. Rinse 

Wipe clean the shower head with a damp cloth or rinse it under running water. Test the result by turning on the water in your shower. Repeat if necessary.

Rust Remover

While the main reason your shower head is clogged is hard water, rust can also make its way into the nozzles. You can notice the difference since rust tends to bleed into the rubber and discolor the shower head. If your problem is rust, clean the head with rust remover.

1. Apply the product

Spray rust remover liberally all over the shower, but above all, on the nozzles. Let it sit for about half an hour.

2. Rinse 

Rust removers generally dissolve rust and don’t require scrubbing. Thus, you should rinse the shower head or wipe it clean with a damp cloth.


Sometimes, you don’t have to use any kind of chemical to clean the shower head. A brush and some dishwashing liquid can do the trick.

1. Scrub the shower head 

Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to a bowl of water and dip a toothbrush in it. Scrub the entire showerhead, paying particular attention to the nozzles.

2. Clean with a soft cloth

Soak a cloth into the soapy water and wipe the shower head all over.

3. Rinse 

Soak a cloth in clean water and wipe the fixture to remove all soap traces. Dry it with a dry cloth to prevent water stains.

Related Questions

Do you still have questions? Find out the answers below.

What are the benefits of a clean shower head?

There are plenty of benefits of using a clean shower head. To begin with, you’ll get sick less often, as there won’t be any bacteria getting from the shower head onto your skin as you’re washing. A lack of mineral deposits will make your hair look better, and the shower won’t dry out your skin. Last but not least, you’ll be healthier; when chlorine combines with organic matter, it often creates carcinogenic byproducts that could lead to the development of cancer in the long run. Thus, a good enough reason to keep your shower head clean.

When should I clean my shower head?

You should wipe the shower head after each use and deep-clean it with a mild product once a week. You should also deal with any scale deposits as promptly as possible.

Can I clean my faucet head by myself?

Yes, you can clean the shower head yourself, but never use more than one cleaning agent at a time to prevent chemical reactions.

Wrap Up

Vinegar is a popular choice for cleaning shower heads, but you needn’t despair if you don’t have it. There are many alternative solutions you can use. We hope this guide can help you clean your shower head like a pro.

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