Shutterstock / Chris DeRidder and Hans VandenNieuwendijk
You’re all set to take a nice hot shower after a long day—but the shower head is so gunked up with calcium deposits that it’s giving you more of a pathetic sprinkle than a soothing downpour. Look around, and your faucets might be in rough shape, too. Fix them fast with this natural, effective and cheap way to remove residue.
How to Clean a Shower Head
Note: For non-chrome surfaces, check manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure this solution won’t mar the finish.
Dawn dishwashing liquid (the original blue version)
Ziploc bag (1 quart)
Step 1: Mix the solution
In a 1-quart Ziploc bag, mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 4 or 5 drops of blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Hold the Ziploc bag around the end of the shower head or faucet.
Step 2: Add the vinegar
Add enough vinegar, approximately 1/2 cup, to cover the residue on the end of the shower head or faucet. Don’t be alarmed when it foams up—that’s what it’s supposed to do. Secure the bag around the pipe with a rubber band.
Step 3: Soak
Allow the vinegar solution to soak for at least 30 minutes, but preferably an hour or longer.
Step 4: Scrub and rinse
Remove the rubber band and bag. Using an old toothbrush, scrub away any remaining residue, then rinse with hot water and dry.
This is just one of the many ways to clean with baking soda and vinegar. And while it isn’t something you need to do every week, cleaning your faucets and shower heads once per quarter, or at least during spring cleaning, will help cut down on buildup.
More Helpful Hints for Faucets
If you live in an area with particularly hard water, here are a few more tips to help keep your chrome looking shiny and new:
- To avoid water stains, wipe down faucets after use to remove any water droplets and dry. Rubbing faucets with waxed paper can help prevent stains and fingerprints.
- Try removing existing water stains by rubbing half a lemon over the surface, then wipe, rinse and dry.
- To remove buildup from the base of faucets, soak paper towels in white vinegar, wrap around the base and allow to soak overnight. In the morning, remove the towels, scrub lightly with a toothbrush if necessary, rinse and wipe dry.
- To bring shine to stainless steel faucets and sinks, remove any existing water stains, then place a few drops of canola oil on a paper towel and rub lightly over the surface.