How To Remove Hard Water Deposits From Your Shower Head And Bathroom Faucet

A shiny shower head and bathroom faucet add important finishing touches to a clean bathroom. If your shower head, faucet or its strainer/aerator are covered in hard water stains, you can't really call your bathroom clean until they are gone. Hard water stains can be tough to remove with scrubbing and ordinary bathroom cleaners; fortunately, a simple, safe household product can clean away all those annoying white deposits and leave your shower head and faucet looking spiffy. Below is how to do it:

What you will need

  • White vinegar, 5 percent concentration – this is ordinary household vinegar that you can find in any grocery store.
  • Clean hand towel
  • 12 inch cable ties
  • Toothbrush
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Adjustable slip-pliers
  • Masking tape
  • Thread seal tape

How to remove hard water stains from faucet strainer/aerators and shower heads

1. Prepare a cleaning solution – mix one cup of tap water with one cup of vinegar inside of a plastic or glass container.

2. Remove the shower head or faucet strainer/aerator – most shower heads are attached to the water supply by a screw-on connector. You can try to remove the shower head by using your hand, but if it won't budge, use an adjustable wrench. To prevent scratching the metal shower head, wrap three or four turns of masking tape around the nut before turning it with the wrench. Just be sure to remove the tape immediately afterward to prevent it from leaving residue on the head.

To remove the faucet strainer/aerator, wrap the strainer/aerator eight to ten times with tape to provide scratch protection. Use a pair of adjustable slip-pliers to grasp the strainer/aerator, and carefully turn it to remove it. Don't forget to remove the masking tape immediately afterward.

3. Soak the shower head or faucet strainer/aerator – immerse the shower head or strainer/aerator inside the vinegar and water solution. Allow it to soak for at least six hours.

4. Clean the shower head or faucet strainer/aerator – after soaking for six hours, remove the shower head or strainer/aerator from the solution. Use a toothbrush to scrub away any stubborn hard water deposits or other debris. Thoroughly rinse the shower head or strainer/aerator with clean, warm tap water; if any deposits remain, return to step 3 and repeat the process of soaking and cleaning until all deposits are gone.

5. Reinstall the shower head or faucet strainer/aerator – wrap the threads of the shower head or strainer/aerator three times in a clockwise direction with thread seal tape; this will help prevent the tape from being pushed away during installation. Reapply masking tape to the shower connector nut or strainer/aerator as indicated in step 2.

Hand-tighten the shower head or strainer/aerator, then use the wrench or pliers, as appropriate, to finish tightening. Be careful not to apply too much force with the tool in order to avoid stripping threads. Turn on the water flow to the shower or faucet to check for leaks, and remove the masking tape as soon as you are satisfied there are no leaks.

Cleaning the water deposits from your shower head should make water flow more efficiently out of it, but if it's still not working properly, then contact a company like Fixture Shop for repairs.

How to remove hard water stains from faucets

Since removing a faucet itself can be awkward and time consuming, you can easily clean hard water stains by placing a "wrap" around it. Here is what you need to do:

1. Wrap the faucet stem – wrap a hand towel as tightly as possible around the stem of the faucet. The more contact it makes with the faucet stem, the better your results will be.

2. Fasten the wrap using cable ties – place three to four cable ties along the length of the wrapped towel. Put one at each end of the wrap and at least one in the middle; pull the tie ends tight so they firmly hold the towel in place.

3. Soak the wrap with vinegar – pour undiluted white vinegar directly on the wrap so it is completely soaked. If any areas of the wrap are sagging, apply more cable ties as necessary to hold the wrap next to the faucet stem.

4. Allow the wrap to soak for eight hours – periodically monitor the wrap, and add more vinegar as necessary to keep it moist. Don't allow the wrap to dry out.

5. Remove the wrap – after allowing the wrap to sit for eight hours, use a pair of scissors or nail clippers to cut the cable ties binding the wrap to the stem.

6. Clean and rinse the faucet stem – using a toothbrush, scrub any remaining deposits or residue from the stem. Rinse it clean with warm water, and repeat the process as necessary until all hard water deposits are gone.