How to Remove Calcium Deposits from a Showerhead

Clean Calcium and Other Mineral Deposits from Your Showerhead

Shower head with water spraying out
Jason Loucas/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Is your showerhead blocked by unsightly calcium deposits? "Hard" water, particularly from wells, can be high in calcium, magnesium, lime, silica and other minerals. Once hard water passing through a showerhead dries, it leaves behind deposits. This mineral buildup is both unattractive and problematic, as it can plug up the waterways and prevent your shower from flowing at full blast.

How to Remove Mineral Deposits

Here's an easy and frugal fix to deposits left by hard water.

Just fill a small plastic bag half full with white vinegar and attach the bag over your showerhead with a rubber band. Leave the bag in place for an hour or two. Then remove the bag and scrub the showerhead with an old toothbrush or rag. Your showerhead will look and function like new!

Tip: This same method can be used to remove mineral deposits from faucets in both bathrooms and kitchens.

Why Vinegar Baths Are Effective on Mineral Deposits

The acetic acid in white vinegar acts as a solvent, which helps dissolve the mineral deposits hogging space in your showerhead's passageways. Allowing your showerhead to bask in vinegar for an hour or more will help dissolve the buildup so that it washes away once the shower is turned on. 

Benefits and Warnings for Cleaning with Vinegar

There are many reasons to make cleaning with vinegar a regular part of your housekeeping routine. First, it's inexpensive, virtually pennies for each cleaning.

You'll save several dollars by not purchasing unnecessary specialty cleaners. And given that it's all natural, there are no harsh chemicals or fumes. You can even use it to clean children's bedrooms and bathrooms with no additional concerns. 

Although it's very safe, you will want to take some precautions when using vinegar as a cleaner.

First, make sure to avoid contact with the eyes. If any vinegar gets in your eyes, promptly rinse the entire eye with fresh water until the sting has completely dissipated. Also, although it's safe to use vinegar to clean areas where children play, you will want to do so when they are not present. Like adults, children should not be consuming vinegar in any way. 

Clearing Other Mineral Deposits in Bathrooms and Kitchens

The same hard water that clogs up your showerhead can leave off-white or brown spots on glass or ceramic surfaces, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens. Sinks, tubs, and glass shower walls and doors are all common places for mineral deposits to collect. Although it's not as problematic as a clogged showerhead, it's still unattractive. Rinsing the area with a solution that's half vinegar, half water will eliminate such spots. The solution can be mixed in a spray bottle and sprayed directly onto the affected area. Wipe it away with a soft cloth or sponge. 

Can Mineral Deposits Be Prevented?

You can prevent some buildup on the surfaces in your bathroom by keeping your shower and tub clean and by using a squeegee or dry towel to remove water after a shower or bath.

Keeping the areas free of soap scum (residue left behind from certain types of soap combined with hard water deposits) will allow the minerals in your water to wash down the drain rather than stick to the soap scum. If the water in your home is very hard, leading to recurrent issues with mineral buildup, you may want to consider installing a water softener system to treat your home’s water supply. 

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