Keep Your Showerhead Clean to Keep You Clean – Descale Guide

There is little more annoying than limescale, and it really does occur everywhere there is water. From your kettle and kitchen taps to the shower head, you are sure to find at least a little bit of scale lurking there.

If you haven’t descaled your shower head recently, chances are that every time you wash you are also getting covered in it, and so you aren’t getting a clean as you could be.

Scale can be both annoying and damaging, which is why we have put this guide to descaling your shower head together, helping you to get things back to the way they should be. 

How to Descale Your Shower - Step by Step Guide (UK)

What is Limescale and What Causes Limescale? 

Limescale is that horrible flaky stuff you find in your kettle water, or the annoying substance that seems to be growing constantly on your shower head and taps. It can even end up staining your surfaces if left for prolonged periods of time.

Limescale only really appears in hard water areas (which is most of the UK), and it is actually a deposit of calcium carbonate. What’s hard water though? Well, this water contains a higher concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium; all of which has been fully dissolved.

When the water is left behind and evaporates, it leaves these little deposits behind, and they eventually grow into larger ones – creating limescale and scum. Usually, you can find limescale anywhere there is water, with the most common rooms being the kitchen and bathroom.

You may also find limescale in the boiler though, as well as any general surface where water has evaporated. What are the issues with limescale in your home though? We have compiled a handy list below to show you the problems it causes:

  • It gets everywhere and can accumulate quickly, as well as be tough to remove. 
  • Your kettle may need to be replaced regularly, thanks to the floating scale found inside. 
  • It can block your plumbing and heating systems, requiring a professional to come fix them. 
  • It makes appliances like dishwashers and washing machines less energy and cost efficient. 

Top Tips To Descale A Shower Head

Cleaning your shower heads and getting rid of limescale doesn’t have to be a difficult process, and we have three key pieces of advice to help you get your shower head back to looking brand new and fabulous. Follow these, and your shower head will thank you for it. 

Method 1: Vinegar 

This is usually the most popular technique to descale a shower head, partly because white vinegar has antibacterial properties and works as an amazing disinfectant.

However, remember to only use white (also known as distilled) vinegar because brown often stains, and malt is less effective. We have two main techniques; one for handheld shower heads, and one for mounted models. 


What you’ll need:

  • A bucket or basin
  • White vinegar
  • An old toothbrush
  • A soft cloth
  • A wrench and rag (if stuck)

Step One: Remove the shower head. Usually, you can unscrew it, but if it is a tough one you can place an old rag around the joint and use a wrench to loosen it.

Step Two: Place the shower head in the bucket or basin and fill it with white vinegar. Then, leave it to soak for a minimum of 30 minutes (although an hour tends to work best).

Step Three: Remove the shower head from the bucket and rinse it with water to get rid of loose limescale.

Step Four: Using an old toothbrush, remove the rest of the remaining limescale, with special attention focused on the nozzles to ensure they are clear. Then, rinse with water again and polish the shower head with a soft cloth.

Step Five: If the process does not need to be repeated, reattach the shower head and use it as normal.  

Further Reading: How to Choose and Fit Shower Wall Panels

Removing Limescale

Fixed/Mounted Shower Heads:

What you’ll need:

  • A plastic bag
  • String to secure it
  • White vinegar
  • A soft cloth
  • An old toothbrush

Step One: Take the plastic bag and fill it partway with vinegar, being careful not to fill it up past halfway so that it can be lifted easily.

Step Two: Hold the bag under the fixed shower head and raise it until it is immersed in the vinegar. Then, holding the bag tightly over the shower head, secure it in place using the string. Check it will not fall, and then step back.

Step Three: If the limescale is moderate, leave it to soak for 30 minutes. If it is severe, leave it to soak overnight.

Step Four: Once time has passed, remove the bag from the fixed shower head and empty the vinegar. Then, switch the water on so that it can rinse away any remaining limescale.

Step Five: Scrub the head using an old toothbrush to get any limescale out of the nozzles, before switching the water on again to flush it out. Polish with a soft cloth. If you need to, the process can be repeated.

Things to Remember

  • If your shower head is made from brass, do not leave it to soak in vinegar for more than 30 minutes as it could lead to discolouration.
  • The soaking method for fixed shower heads works best on chrome, stainless steel, and other forms of metal.
  • You can use vinegar on bath and sink taps as well to get rid of limescale and grime. It’s very effective.
  • If you mix a little lemon in with the vinegar, it will reduce the odour without altering the effects of the solution.

Method 2: Specialist Limescale Cleaner 

Sometimes we need something with additional power to get rid of limescale, and sometimes we just don’t have the desire to whip up a batch of natural cleaner.

Your supermarket will tend to stock a wide range of specialist limescale cleaners that will be able to get your fixed shower head looking fantastic and releasing a steady stream of water. Just make sure that when you descale your shower head using these cleaners, you don’t get any on your clothes or in your eyes. 

Method 3: Prevention 

Ideally, you will want to prevent limescale from building up on your shower head in the first place, and while regularly descaling your shower head is a great option, there is an even better one.

You can actually purchase a shower head that has anti-scale nozzles, preventing the limescale from collecting and keeping them clear. All you need to do to clean them is rub the nozzles gently with your finger – it’s that simple. 

Also Read: How to Fit a Shower Tray Riser Kit

A Few Top Products 

In this section, we have collected a few of our top picks for specialist products that will help to remove limescale from your shower head. Hopefully, at least one of them is able to meet your requirements. 

Ecover Limescale Remover

This particular bundle contains three bottles of limescale remover, making the price pretty irresistible from the moment you take a look.

It is also completely natural, so there are no harmful chemicals that might end up washed down the sink after use.

Suitable for use even with septic tanks, this spray can be applied to any affected area to rid it of even the worst limescale deposits. 

The foamy solution acts quickly and can be rinsed away afterwards, leaving the surface in question squeaky clean. It’s the natural solution you won’t regret picking up. 

HG Professional Limescale Remover

This limescale remover is a professional mixture, used by those who are top in their industry to remove stubborn limescale deposits from every corner of your bathroom and kitchen.

It even has the power to remove the stains left behind by limescale, rust, and copper oxide, so even the most rundown bathrooms can look amazing again.

Safe for use with bathroom drains, you can apply it neat or diluted without worry, and it gets to work quickly so that you don’t have to wait around.

While the price might feel a little steep, for a litre bottle, it is worth every penny. 

Viakal Limescale Remover Spray

The price for this bundle might shock you at first, but the thing is you are getting 10 bottles in the pack – which is amazing value for money.

Not only will it be tough on limescale, but it also has a hit of Febreze to give it a fresh aroma after you have scrubbed the area and rinsed it away.

It can even work as a preventative for limescale, ensuring that it either doesn’t come back or at least takes its time to do so. This means less maintenance and more relaxation.

It cleans soap scum as well as general bathroom grime, and the enduring shine left behind afterwards means that your shower head will be left looking brand new. It’s a great choice for any household, and the perfect excuse to stock up. 

Oust Powerful All Purpose Descaler

This Oust descaler is designed to restore your shower head to good-as-new shine and performance. Great results in only 10 minutes! So no waiting around for the product to work.

The powerful limescale formulation removes up to 100 Percent limescale. Hard water also has a negative effect on shower heads, meaning you need to descale more often.

OUST’s range of products are designed to restore good-as-new shine and performance to your household appliances – no hassle, just great results.

To Conclude

Hopefully, this guide has helped you learn more about the ways in which descaling your shower head can benefit you, but also some of the methods you can use to really get things clean. After all, you deserve to be washing somewhere that is pristine as opposed to dirty.

Plus, the product selection we have gathered is a great way to get rid of massive limescale build-ups that natural methods simply can’t fix.

What did you think of our descaling shower heads guide? Are you currently having the shower of your life, or did our tips fall short? We love hearing from you, so feel free to leave us a message in the comments below. 


How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.