There are only a few things more frustrating than wanting to have a nice relaxing shower after a long day or even before the morning rush, only to be met with dull, low pressure, and uneven water spurts from your showerhead. It’s enough to ruin anyone’s day.
For your showerheads to be as functional as their brand-new counterparts, they should undergo routine maintenance to be in tip-top shape and be free from performance hindrances like limescale.
Limescale is the build-up of deposited minerals on running hard water, usually calcium and magnesium – the residue cakes in and around the showerhead, constricting the proper water flow. In severe cases, the limescale might completely block off some openings. This problem, fortunately, is not in any way permanent and can be resolved.
With guidance and a few tips, removing limescale from your showerhead can be an easy task. Below are three simple steps to remove limescale from showerheads.
Step 1: Choose your preferred solvent
This is the acidic or alkaline substance applied to the limescale layers. They eat away at the adhesive bonds of the limescale, dissolving it or making it loose, soft, and easily removable. You can either opt for homemade solvents or commercial products based on availability, cost, or personal preferences.
There are many cheap and accessible household options like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice.
If you’re choosing lemon juice, a sufficient amount of its pure form would be required.
If you’re opting for vinegar, which is the most popular option, please ensure it is the undiluted white vinegar (cleaning vinegar). The other kinds like apple cider are not as strong and could make the process considerably longer and harder.
If using baking soda, the solvent contains baking soda mixed with water in a ratio of three and one. That means, for every three parts of baking soda, add a corresponding one-part water. The resulting mix should have a paste-like consistency.
Marketed Cleaning Products
The statement: “for every cleaning problem, there is a corresponding solvent” holds in this case – there are numerous product on the market to choose from if you are not up to making your own.
They can be faster, more efficient, and less time-consuming than the home remedy option. This makes it a somewhat better choice if your showers are non-detachable. They may contain a combination of much harsher chemicals.
So, in order not to damage your showerhead make sure you read up on the product’s specifications. Always read the label/packaging, note the manufacturer’s instructions, and correlate with the step-by-step process.
Step 2: Know your showerhead
This involves answering three simple questions; “What type of shower do I use? How serious is the limescale deposit, and would it be okay to use certain chemicals on it?”
All showerheads are not the same. Some are detachable, while some are not. Detachable showerheads make the cleaning process a lot easier. You can detach, bring it below eye level and handle it in a way that is easiest for you.
Non-detachable showers, however, add a certain layer of difficulty as they might be harder to reach and fix. It could also be tiring for some cleaning methods, as your hands are working in an opposing direction to gravity. Determine your shower type and choose whichever method best suits it.
Depending on the seriousness of the limescale residue, some solutions might be unnecessary. For example, soaking the showerhead for hours might be overboard in very mild cases. Also, not all showers are of equal make. Check to see if the solutions wouldn’t inadvertently damage the material used for coating or making your shower.
Step 3: Pick a removal method
There are three different ways to remove limescale from our showerheads.
1: Immerse in solvent
In this method, you immerse the showerhead into the solvent, ensuring it covers all the affected areas. Let the solvent work on it for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Remove solvent from the showerhead or showerhead from the solvent, as the case may be. Then, rinse off the loosened or dissolved limescale.
This is by far the easiest and most convenient way. It also pairs well with the homemade solvent vinegar, as it is inexpensive and comes in large quantities. The solution also makes it easier for the solvent to reach all corners, and you can swish it around.
It is also a good option for detachable showerheads since they can easily be removed and dunked into the solvent. If you operate a non-detachable showerhead, the vinegar can be put into a non-spill bag that you can secure around the shower.
2: Spray bottles and pastes
Spraying is a good option if you use a commercial product. You spritz the liquid on the showerhead, ensuring it catches all the corners, allow it to stand for a few minutes, then scrub off with a toothbrush, rinse or wipe off.
Apply directly on the showerhead for paste-like solutions such as baking soda. To do so, use a brush or something similar. Leave the paste to dry for several minutes. As soon as it gets stiff, you can then scrub it off with a toothbrush. You can repeat the sequence for each as many times as it requires to remove the limescale.
3: Direct scrub
Ideally, only use this method if the limescale layers on the showerhead are not very serious, or the amount of solvent available is negligible and when you don’t have a spray bottle.
This is especially so for non-detachable showerheads. Using this method requires some arm power, but the results are rewarding. Apply solvent to a wipe, sponge or brush, and carefully scrub off the shower externals. The direct scrub can also serve as a routine to avoid the intricate build-up of limescale.
For all three methods, when cleaning out limescale from the shower holes, use a sharp-edged object to poke into the water holes to dislodge the limescale there. Turn the water flow to the highest for some minutes and check for water pressure or uneven flow. You can repeat this process until you are satisfied and use more than one method in succession.
Precaution: These harsh products and prolonged contact might not do your hand health a lot of good. Wearing a pair of gloves when using these products is one way to keep your hands healthy and happy.
How to keep the limescale from reoccurring
Wherever there is hard water, there is a risk of limescale build-up. The limescale is the residual calcium and magnesium bicarbonates found in hard water. The deposits result when the water evaporates. Water, when left alone, dries or evaporates, leaving behind the oxidized form of these water-insoluble minerals.
A daily repeat of this process leads to it layering on the showerhead. There are two options to prevent this from occurring: absolute prevention via water softener (suitable for personal home) or regularly wiping off your showerhead with solvents at regular intervals to avoid deposits.
Knowing what to do is a leap closer to solving a problem. With these easy-to-follow steps, you no longer have to put up with non-optimal showers due to the build-up of limescale.
The removal process is deciding the solvent you are using, either homemade or store-bought, and what method you use: immersion, spray, or direct scrub.
Switch between these methods to find the one that works the best for you, and you will find yourself enjoying your morning shower to start your day in the right way.
Meet our reviewer
Jimmy Pearce is our resident expert on domestic cleaning appliances. Having managed a large electrical retail store for over 10 years and with a family that includes 3 kids, there is little Jimmy doesn’t know or hasn’t seen when it comes to domestic cleaning. When he’s not spending time with the family or reviewing domestic appliances, Jimmy is often found in his man cave jamming on his bass guitar.