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Maintaining and descaling your shower head – for a bathroom that’s always fresh

Do you live in a hard water region? Then you’re probably familiar with the problem of your shower head getting increasingly blocked up over time due to limescale. The main reason for this is the undissolved calcium and magnesium ions in the water that form limescale and insoluble limescale deposits over time. These deposits settle primarily in areas where water flows – like on the shower head. Not only are these limescale deposits visually unappealing, they also increasingly restrict the flow of water from the nozzles of the shower head, to the point that it no longer functions properly. What’s more, microorganisms and bacteria can then settle on the rough surfaces. You should therefore decalcify your shower head regularly, which with our handy hints is easy-peasy. All you need are the right household remedies and a little bit of patience!

Fighting limescale with baking powder

One of the oldest household remedies that can be used to decalcify a shower head can be found in almost every kitchen cupboard: baking powder – normally used to make sponge cakes and pastries light and airy. The sodium bicarbonate in baking powder dissolves the limescale and makes for a clean, hygienic and well-functioning shower head.

Decalcifying with baking powder – here’s how it works:

  1. Unscrew the shower head and place it into an appropriately sized plastic or ceramic bowl.
  2. Fill the bowl with enough warm water so that all the nozzles are completely covered.
  3. Next, dissolve a sachet of baking powder in a glass of warm water and add the solution to the bowl.
  4. Move the shower head around in the water so that the dissolved baking powder can work its way into even the smallest nozzles.
  5. Leave the shower head in the bowl for a few hours or ideally overnight to fully dissolve the limescale.
  6. Afterwards, clean the shower head thoroughly with plenty of clean water. If this doesn’t make all of the visible deposits disappear, then you can simply wipe them off with a damp cloth. After this, screw the shower head back on and let hot water run through it for a few seconds to clean out any residue left inside.

Decalcifying with vinegar: both clean and hygienic

Another tried and tested household remedy that can be used to fight limescale stains and deposits is vinegar. Be it classic table vinegar or vinegar essence, the acetic acid in it not only dissolves the limescale, it also has an antibacterial and sanitising effect.

How to clean your shower head with vinegar:

  1. Take a freezer bag that’s big enough to place the unscrewed shower head inside.
  2. Then, fill the freezer bag with undiluted vinegar or a mix of five parts water and one part vinegar essence.
  3. Close the bag tightly around the shower head’s handle with an elastic band or a piece of string.
  4. After about half an hour, most of the limescale will have dissolved. For more stubborn limescale, you can leave the vinegar to work for up to two hours.
  5. Afterwards, take the shower head out of the vinegar and rinse it under clear water.

Citric acid also dissolves stubborn limescale

Cleaning with baking powder or with vinegar is very gentle on the material, but is somewhat time consuming. A quicker way is to use citric acid, which can be found in powder form at all chemists. Please always follow the dosage and safety instructions on the packaging.

Decalcifying your shower head with citric acid: 6 steps to the perfect result

  1. Citric acid is corrosive. You should therefore make sure to either protect your hands with gloves or wash the rest of the cleaning agent off with water immediately afterwards to avoid skin irritation.
  2. Put the unscrewed shower head in a bowl of water. The shower head should be completely covered by the water.
  3. Dissolve a level teaspoonful of citric acid into some cold water and add the mixture to the bowl.
  4. Move the shower head around in the water so that the acid can get to every part of it.
  5. The citric acid is considerably more aggressive than baking powder, so 15 to 45 minutes should be plenty long enough to completely decalcify the shower head.
  6. After this, rinse the shower head under clear water and let enough water run through it to rinse out the acid left inside.

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Please note that citric acid is very aggressive. You should therefore make sure to spot test the acid on an unnoticeable part of the head to check it doesn’t damage the material. If it does, you may prefer to use baking powder or vinegar to decalcify your shower head.