How to Clean a Shower Head Without Vinegar?

You might think that your shower head is clean, but that’s not entirely correct. A 2018 study by the American Society for Microbiology tells us differently. They took a bacterial sample from 656 houses in the US and UK. The results showed a range of bacteria, including those known to cause lung diseases. Turns out that cleaning your shower head is extremely important. 

The best way to clean your shower head without vinegar is to use baking soda. A pure baking soda paste will remove surface gunk and build-up that can harbor harmful bacteria. It’s inexpensive and easy to apply. However, there are many other ways you can clean your shower head without using vinegar. These include hydrogen peroxide, bleach, oven cleaner, and even Coca-Cola! 

Below, we’ll go over how you can clean your shower head without vinegar, as well as why it’s important to do so.

  1. Make a Baking Soda Paste
  2. Use Bleach
  3. Clean with Hydrogen Peroxide
  4. Soak in Coca-Cola
  5. Use Other Bathroom Cleaners
  6. Use Your Favorite Oven Cleaner

Cleaning a Shower Head Without Vinegar

There are a few reasons you might not want to use vinegar to clean your shower head. It has a strong smell, for one. The smell fades quickly, but you’ll still be able to smell it for a while. This is especially true because most bathrooms are enclosed spaces with little ventilation. 

Alternatively, you might not have any vinegar on hand. If you don’t have any left in your pantry, you don’t have to run to the store. There are plenty of other methods you can use to keep your shower head clean.

1. Use a Baking Soda Paste 

Baking soda is just as powerful as vinegar when it comes to cleaning. There is no smell, and you might have some on hand even if you don’t have vinegar. However, you will have to make it into a paste to use it. 

To create the paste, mix about ½ cup of baking soda with warm (not hot!) water. The amount of water you use depends on how thick you want the paste. Keep adding water until the paste is thick. You can always adjust by adding more baking soda or more water. 

Then, cover your shower head with the paste. Cover the entire surface of the head. It’s easier to remove the showerhead for this step, but it isn’t essential. 

After about 25 minutes, wipe the baking soda off. Use a cloth with warm water to remove the paste, then rinse with warm water. 

Finally, reattach the showerhead if you removed it. Turn the shower on, allowing hot water to run through it and finish cleaning it out.

Can My Child Help Me While Using Baking Soda?

Baking soda is a natural, safe cleaner. Your kids and pets won’t be at all affected by this cleaner, even they bathe right after you rinse it out. If you are looking for a natural alternative to most harsh bathroom cleaners, baking soda is a great way to go (especially if vinegar is out of the question).

In fact, baking soda is so safe that some dentists even support brushing your teeth with the paste!

2. Use Bleach

On the other end of the spectrum is bleach. Some homemakers are divided about whether or not it’s okay to clean with bleach. It disinfects, but it can be harmful. 

Still, if you are determined to clean your shower head and you don’t have vinegar available, bleach can do the trick. 

Mix equal parts bleach and water in an old container. Don’t ever use something you’d like to use for food storage later. You can use a cup of bleach and a cup of water, or a gallon of bleach and a gallon of water. The exact measurements don’t matter, but the bleach should be diluted by at least as much water.

Then, put on gloves. Use a soft cloth to put the bleach mixture on the showerhead. If you want to eliminate bacteria inside your shower head, you can dip it quickly in the bleach solution.

After five minutes, rinse the showerhead thoroughly with water and allow it to dry. Make sure to run the shower for a while after cleaning to completely clean out the bleach. 

Is Bleach Safe for my Kids and Pets?

Bleach isn’t natural or particularly safe. As stated, it disinfects extremely well. However, you should never allow bleach to touch your skin. The fumes are also dangerous, so only use bleach in a well-ventilated area.

Many experts and government organizations warn against using bleach around your kids and pets. Keep this in mind before you start cleaning with it.

3. Clean with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a safer alternative to bleach. It doesn’t have harmful vapors and cleans off extremely easily. It’s good for the environment and safe to use around your children. 

You can use hydrogen peroxide in much the same way you’d use bleach. Dilute it with water at a rate of 50/50. If you are using a cup of hydrogen peroxide, use a cup of water. You can soak the showerhead in the solution for a few seconds or apply it with a cloth. 

Hydrogen peroxide has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. This means that it can effectively deal with any bacteria that forms in your showerhead. 

Rinse off the hydrogen peroxide about five minutes after the cleaning. Rinse thoroughly, and then run the shower for a few moments. 

Is Hydrogen Peroxide Toxic to My Children and Dogs?

Hydrogen peroxide is safe around your kids. Veterinarians warn against using hydrogen peroxide around pets since it can be toxic if consumed. However, unless your dog is tall enough to reach your shower head, it should be fine. Simply keep your cleaning supplies out of your pets’ reach.

4. Soak in Coca-Cola

Coca-cola can bust through build-up easily due to its acidic nature. If you’re vigilant about cleaning all of the Coke (and residual sugar) out of your showerhead, it can be a great alternative to vinegar. 

You’ll want to pour a can of Coke into a container if you can remove your shower head. If not, pour the can into a 1-quart bag. If you bought a bottle instead, be aware that 1 can is equivalent to 12 ounces. 

Soak the showerhead in the coke. You can place the detached showerhead in the container, or tie the bag to the showerhead using a rubber band to keep it in place. 

Make sure that the showerhead soaks for about 30 minutes. Afterward, wipe the showerhead down and rinse it off with water. Allow your shower to run on hot for a few minutes after reattaching it. This can help clear out any remaining Coke or sugar inside the showerhead.

Is Coca-Cola Safe to Use as a Cleaner?

Coca-Cola is safe for children and pets. It might not be healthy, but it’s not toxic either. Just be sure to rinse the showerhead thoroughly, as sugars from the Coke can lead to mold if left too long.

Use Other Bathroom Cleaners

There are some great natural bathroom cleaners that can take your cleaning to the next level. If you don’t want to use vinegar because of the fumes, try picking up one of the following cleaners instead:

Each of these cleaners is non-toxic, natural, and biodegradable. The method for all of them is about the same. Either spray the cleaner on the showerhead or soak the showerhead in the solution. 

If soaking, keep the showerhead in the solution for about 30 minutes. Like with Coke, you can either soak in a separate container or tie a bag to the showerhead.

After 30 minutes, wipe the showerhead off, rinse the surface, and then run hot water through the showerhead. 

Can I Use Other Bathroom Cleaners While My Kids Are Around?

The cleaners listed above are safe for your kids and pets. Other bathroom cleaners may or may not be safe. It depends on the ingredients they use. Always check the label to make sure that a cleaner is safe before applying. 

Want a natural alternative to these cleaners? Try lemon juice. Same concept and method, but with freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Plus, it makes your bathroom smell delicious.

Use Your Favorite Oven Cleaner

Liquid oven cleaner may be harsh, but it’s made fo clean off grease and stuck-on food. When all else fails, it’ll be great at getting bacteria and build-up off of your shower head. 

Before using oven cleaner, make sure to wear gloves. Avoid getting the cleaner on your skin or inhaling the fumes. 

Spray the cleaner all over the showerhead. Leave it for no more than 20 minutes. Any longer than 20 minutes might damage your showerhead. 

Afterward, rinse the showerhead off thoroughly. As always, run hot water in the shower for up to 10 minutes afterward. This ensures that all of the cleaners is gone from inside the showerhead. 

Is Oven Cleaner Safe to Use Around Pets?

Oven cleaner should not be used around children or pets due to the fumes. Oven cleaners are usually extremely harsh, so be careful with them. 

Your children and pets should be okay to use the showerhead after the fumes have cleared. The solution must be thoroughly rinsed as well.

How Often Shower Heads Need to be Cleaned?

We’ve discussed a few reasons why showerheads need to be cleaned. Between bacteria, mold, and even hard water build-up, showerheads can make us sick. There’s a lot more going on in your showerhead than you think. 

Routine cleanings are enough to keep your showerhead sanitary. You should clean your showerhead at least once a month. Cleaning it more frequently won’t damage your showerhead and drastically decrease bacteria and build-up. 

How to Get Rid of Mold In Your Shower Head?

Bathrooms are moist environments, so mold might very well grow in your showerhead. To remove it, use the methods mentioned above. Most of these cleaning methods will remove mold as well as bacteria. 

If you are determined to remove mold, the following methods are best:

  • Bleach
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Baking Soda

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Final Verdict

Your showerhead hosts a whole microcosm of bacteria, mold, and hard water build-up. If you aren’t cleaning it regularly, you should be. But what if you don’t have vinegar on hand? The methods listed above, including baking soda, natural cleaners, and hydrogen peroxide can help keep your showerhead in tip-top shape.

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