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Descaling the shower head

Almost every household has had the problem of a calcified shower head. The nozzles become clogged and the water can no longer flow through as it should. But how exactly do I deal with this problem and descale the shower head?

In our article we have summarized the most important questions on the topic for you. We have also listed tips and tricks for you on how and with what means you can descale your shower head and what you need to pay attention to. We hope to expand your knowledge on the topic and hope you enjoy reading.

The essentials in brief

  • Calcification occurs due to the hardness of the water and the calcium and magnesium ions present in the water. These lead to blockages in the nozzles and prevent the water from flowing through the shower head.
  • The calcification of the shower head depends on the hardness of the water in the region where you live and how you use the shower. Accordingly, in a region with a high degree of water hardness, you should descale the shower head after three months at the latest. Descaling a shower head in a region with soft water is only necessary after a year.
  • To descale a shower head, you can use cleaning products as well as household remedies such as baking soda, citric acid and vinegar. Because it can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions, you should always use gloves.

What you should know about calcification in shower heads

A calcified shower head not only looks unsightly, but also leads to increasing blockages. This is because you most likely live in an area where hard drinking water is available.

In the following section we have summarized the most important questions about  descaling a shower head so that we hope to have expanded your knowledge about it.

What is the best way to clean shower heads?

In order to clean a shower head most effectively, it is important to first dismantle it.

It doesn’t matter whether you use cleaning products or household remedies to clean the shower head – you should always wear gloves! The products can irritate your skin and even cause serious allergic reactions.

How often should I descale a shower head?

The question of how often a shower head should be descaled cannot be answered in general terms. This depends on the hardness of the water in the region you live in and your personal use of the shower.

In general, you can decide for yourself how often you want to descale your shower head. However, you shouldn’t wait too long to do this, otherwise it can become clogged.

If you use the shower every day and the drinking water is very hard, it is recommended to descale the shower head after three months at the latest. If you live in a city or village where soft drinking water is available and the shower is not used every day, you may not need to descale the shower head for 1 – 2 years.

Why does a shower head become calcified?

Calcification on the shower head is caused by the hardness of the water. We have summarized the hardness ranges in the following table:
Hardness range Degree of German hardness
Soft less than 8.4°dH
Medium 8.4 to 14°dH
Hard more than 14°dH

Limescale means that the water can no longer flow through the shower head as it originally did and thus leads to a blockage.

Calcium and magnesium ions form limescale over time.

The water runs below the shower hose due to the blockage that can occur due to limescale.

In the long run, this situation can be annoying, which is why we would recommend descaling the shower head once a month.

Can I prevent calcification from a shower head?

To prevent excessive calcification of the shower head, regular cleaning with the appropriate tools helps. These aids are divided into cleaning supplies and home remedies , which will be explained towards the end of the article.

Alternatively, you can also buy and install an anti-limescale shower head. These have a silicone nozzle so that limescale deposits can be easily rubbed off by hand. In the long run, with an anti-limescale shower head you not only save the materials required for cleaning, but also the time spent on it.

Why is it important to descale a shower head regularly?

Descaling the shower head is not only important for the smooth flow of water. This prevents the water from running through the sides of the shower hose.

However, your health also plays a much more important role in this case. The limescale can cause increased bacteria to form in the shower head. These then get onto your body when you use the shower, which is not healthy for your skin in the long term.

How can I descale a shower head?

To descale a shower head, you can use cleaning products from the drugstore as well as certain home remedies. In addition to drugstore cleaning products, you can also use baking soda, aspirin, denture cleaner, dishwasher tablets, vinegar and citric acid.

What can I do if I can’t get the shower head descaled?

If the shower head is not cleaned and descaled for years, these will accumulate too much and form incrustations. These can then usually no longer be eliminated. This raises the question of what you can do if you can’t get the shower head descaled.

In such a case, we would advise you to replace this shower head.

Unfortunately, there is no point in holding on to it and trying again and again to get it decalcified.

After you have replaced the descaled shower head with a new one, you should take the tip of regular cleaning to heart to avoid such situations in the future.

Can all individual parts of the shower head be cleaned?

The answer is yes! Some shower heads can be dismantled into individual parts, which make cleaning and descaling easier. In the packaging provided you will find instructions on how to open the shower head. Depending on the model, you will need a screwdriver.

So if you have a shower head that can be opened, we would recommend doing this at least once a year. You should take the appropriate time to disassemble the shower head into individual parts. This ensures significantly better cleaning.

How do I open a shower head?

For better cleaning and descaling power, it is recommended to open the shower head if possible and clean the corresponding individual parts separately. However, as just mentioned, not all shower heads can be opened.

So how do you know if your shower head can be opened? These shower heads have a screw in the middle that can be turned with a screwdriver. This will disassemble this shower head into individual parts.

Descaling the shower head: The best tips & tricks for a clean and limescale-free shower head

You just wanted to take a shower and notice that the shower head no longer lets water through like it did at the beginning? This is most likely the cause of increased limescale formation in the shower head.

In this part of the article you will find out what and how you can clean and descale your shower head. We hope you continue to enjoy reading.

Clean and descale the shower head with cleaning products

In order to descale a shower head, appropriate products are increasingly being offered in drugstores. However, whether they deliver what they promise is another matter. Due to the mostly aggressive ingredients, which could irritate your skin and cause allergic reactions, you should always use gloves.

In principle, you should decide for yourself whether you prefer to use cleaning products or home remedies. You save time when using cleaning products, as they require a shorter exposure time compared to home remedies. However, in the long run these are more expensive than home remedies.

Clean and descale the shower head with home remedies

Home remedies are often used to descale the shower head, which often lead to the expected results. This method of cleaning and descaling is traditional and is mostly used by the older generation. However, this does not mean that the younger generation is foregoing home remedies for descaling shower heads.

Below we have listed six products and described how you can use them to descale your shower head.

Baking powder

A baking soda bath is most often used to descale a shower head. We have put together a list of how exactly you can descale the shower head using baking soda.

  1. First you have to unscrew the shower head.
  2. Then fill a bowl with warm water so that the shower head in it is completely covered.
  3. You also mix the baking soda (1 pack) with warm water in a glass and add this solution to the bowl.
  4. Now you should move the shower head back and forth in the water so that the baking soda can also get into the nozzles.
  5. Now it’s best to wait overnight and rinse the shower head with plenty of water the next day. Immediately afterwards, we recommend that you reattach the shower head and let sufficient hot water flow through it. This way you can be sure that the residues such as baking powder and lime disappear.

Since a baking soda bath works best overnight, you should make sure to use the shower beforehand if necessary and then unscrew the shower head.

Aspirin / denture cleaner / dishwasher tab

The same procedure is recommended for the products aspirin, denture cleaner and dishwasher tablets, so we have created a clear table for you:

  1. After you have unscrewed the shower head, place it in a bucket full of water.
  2. Now you can choose a product and dissolve the selected product in the bucket.
  3. Depending on the hardness of the calcification, you should wait up to five hours and then rinse the shower head with plenty of water and reattach it.

You can also place the shower head in a dishwasher next to the dirty dishes and start it as normal.

With these powder-like products it is suitable to dissolve them in warm water.


It doesn’t matter whether table vinegar or vinegar essence is used. Vinegar not only dissolves the limescale, but also disinfects and has an antibacterial effect in one step. We recommend the following application instructions:

  1. To start, unscrew the shower head and put it in a sufficiently large freezer bag so that you can close it afterwards.
  2. Now you should fill the bag with either undiluted vinegar or a mixture of approx. 250 ml vinegar and 50 ml water and insert the shower head.
  3. Next, close the bag with a string.
  4. You should see results after just half an hour. However, even heavy calcification should be removed after two hours at the latest.
  5. After waiting, you should rinse the shower head with enough water. Immediately afterwards you can reassemble it and let a lot of water flow through it.

Citric acid

Due to its aggressive properties, citric acid should first be tested in an inconspicuous area. If you notice that citric acid attacks the material of the shower head, you should use water powder instead. Please also note the manufacturer’s recommended dosage and safety instructions on the packaging.

  1. Place the unscrewed shower head in a bowl of water so that it is completely covered.
  2. Then dissolve a level teaspoon of citric acid in a glass of water and add the mixture to the bowl.
  3. Now move the shower head back and forth in the bowl, similar to the method with the baking soda bath.
  4. To completely descale the shower head, an exposure time of 15 to 50 minutes is sufficient. Remember not to exceed this time as citric acid is significantly more aggressive compared to baking soda.
  5. Finally, you should rinse the shower head with a sufficient amount of water and let the appropriate amount of water flow through after installing the shower head.

Citric acid is a caustic product. Therefore, especially with this method, you should work with gloves to avoid skin irritation.


With regular descaling you save time and effort in the end. With the right tools and the right procedure, you can remove almost all calcification from the shower head. Descaling the shower head is important for people’s skin, as lime dries out the skin and can lead to various skin diseases.

We thank you for reading and hope that we were able to answer your questions and that you are now better informed about the topic of “descaling the shower head” .