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Removing Hard Water Buildup is Easier (and Cheaper!) than You Think!

cleaning of showerhead with hard water deposits

The other morning, I turned on the shower, expecting my usual hot, steady stream of steamy water to begin my day. What I got instead was a bit of a shock: the shower was jetting off in a hundred different directions! Some were shooting the walls, others were nailing the shower curtain, and still others were shooting me in the face, right in the eyes and mouth, the latter spluttering and open, in shock. I was gasping and fumbling blindly for the knobs to turn the water off. What happened? Why had my shower head turned on me?

I quickly surmised the answer: there was hard water built up around each of the small holes in my shower head, causing them to become partially or fully blocked, sending pressurized water in literally EVERY direction. I groaned. How am I supposed to get inside the shower head to remove all of that calcium and magnesium from the small parts of my shower head? Did I need to invest in a set of dental tools? Was this going to require scrubbing that would possibly damage the finish on my shower head?

(Do you have hard water? Not sure? To learn nearly everything there is to know about hard water and your home, click here!)

Well, it happened that I shared my shower woes with a coworker. (I work at a services company. We talk about these things.) She suggested a solution that was so easy I just had to try it: vinegar. On my way home from work, I stopped at Costco and bought the “who would ever buy this size?” jugs of inexpensive, white vinegar.

Here’s what you do:

1. Remove the shower head from the shower arm.

cleaning hard water deposits off of showerhead


2. Place the shower head in a bucket and pour enough vinegar to cover. OR, if you don’t want to remove the shower head, pour a few cups of vinegar into plastic baggies. Tie these baggies onto your shower heads, making sure the head is immersed in vinegar.

cleaning hard water deposits off of showerhead
3. Let them sit for at least a ½ hour, over night if possible.

cleaning hard water deposits off of showerhead

4. Remove the vinegar bags or remove the fixtures from the vinegar bucket and rinse the shower head. You might also want to brush the shower head with an old toothbrush to remove any remaining buildup.

You could also try immersing a rag in vinegar and tying the rag to the shower head. This also works for faucets or any other fixtures that are prone to hard water buildup. The best part about this method is that it’s relatively inexpensive, it’s nontoxic, it doesn’t require heavy scrubbing which scratches your surfaces, and it doesn’t use harsh chemicals that can corrode your pipes and fixtures.



Author: Amber Smith-Johnson
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Posted: June 30th, 2018 @ 12:00am by tammy