Hard water, particularly well water, can cause deposits rich in calcium, magnesium, lime, silica, and other minerals that clog up your showerhead. This mineral buildup can plug the waterway and prevent your showerhead from flowing at full blast.
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, glass shower walls, and doors are all common places for mineral deposits that create soap scum to collect. Although it's not as problematic as a clogged showerhead, it's still unattractive.
Read on to learn how to prevent and remove the mineral residue gumming up your waterworks and leaving stains on your bathroom or kitchen fixtures.
How Often to Clean Calcium Deposits on Fixtures
Daily cleaning with a commercial bathroom cleaner or a spritz of distilled white vinegar will keep calcium deposits on the exterior of plumbing fixtures free of deposits and reduce soap scum. However, the interior showerhead should be cleaned as soon as you notice reduced water flow. The frequency is highly dependent on your water supply. If you live in an area with hard water, a bi-monthly cleaning is recommended.
Equipment / Tools
- Adjustable wrench
- Bowl or bucket large enough to hold showerhead
- Microwaveable bowl or cup
- Microfiber cloth
- Old toothbrush
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Toothpick or paper clip
- PTFE or plumber's thread sealant tape
- Plastic food storage bag
- Rubber band or masking tape
How to Remove Calcium From a Fixed Showerhead
Create a Soaking Bag
Pour one cup of distilled white vinegar into a heavy-duty food storage bag. You may need to add more to completely submerge the showerhead. Make sure the bag is large enough to fit over the showerhead.
Secure the Soaking Bag
Use a rubber band or masking tape to secure the soaking bag to the showerhead pipe. It will be a bit heavy so make sure you secure it tightly so it won't slip off.
Soak the Showerhead
Allow the showerhead to soak for at least four hours. Overnight or longer is better.
Scrub the Showerhead
Remove the showerhead and use an old toothbrush to scrub the fixture. To remove loose deposits from the showerhead nozzles, use a toothpick or a straightened paperclip to clear each nozzle.
Rinse the outside of the showerhead with fresh water and allow the shower to run for several minutes at full force to flush out any loose deposits left inside.
How to Remove Calcium Deposits From a Removable Showerhead
Remove the Showerhead
Use an adjustable wrench to remove the showerhead from the pipe. Place a cloth between the wrench and the metal to prevent scratches.
Create a Soaking Solution
Place the showerhead in a bucket or bowl that is deep enough so it can be completely submerged. Heat enough distilled white vinegar in the microwave until it is very warm to the touch. Pour the hot vinegar over the showerhead.
Soak the Showerhead
Allow the showerhead to soak for at least 30 minutes, longer is better.
Scrub the Fixture
After removing the showerhead from the vinegar, use an old toothbrush to scrub away any visible calcium deposits on the face or housing. Use a toothpick, paper clip, or the tip of a safety pin to clear any deposits from the jet holes.
Remove and clean any filter screen that may be located in the head. Take it out carefully and scrub with the old toothbrush. If the deposits do not come off easily, repeat the soaking process with fresh vinegar.
Rinse and Reattach the Showerhead
Rinse each component well and reassemble the showerhead. Reattach the showerhead using fresh plumber's tape to prevent leaks.
Tips to Prevent Calcium Deposits on Showerheads and Shower Stalls
- Fill a spray bottle with a solution of equal amounts of distilled water and distilled white vinegar and spray it on the showerhead and shower stall after each use.
- Dry off the showerhead after every use.
- Use a towel or squeegee to remove water from shower stalls and doors after each use.
- Consider adding a water softening system to your home if you live in a hard water area and are frequently affected by clogged fixtures and mineral deposit stains.