Showerheads often spray unevenly because of mineral deposits interference In order for water to flow freely, these deposits need to be removed.  To do that, you will want to soak the showerhead in vinegar.  And that may mean removing the showerhead from the shower arm.

Newer showerheads screw onto the shower arm, the pipe that comes out of the shower wall.  Older models are made up of an arm with a ball-shaped swiveling end.

Removing Your Showerhead

You can use a wrench or pair of pliers to remove the showerhead.  Most likely, you can rely on simple tools, such as wrenches or pliers, to loosen your shower head if it is “stuck”.  If one method does not work, try the next method.

First, try the method below.

  • Cover the fixture’s connector or plumbing nut with an old cloth to protect the metal.
  • Grip the connector or nut with a wrench or pair of locking pliers.
  • Turn the wrench or pliers gently in a clockwise motion (not too much) in an attempt to break up the rust or mineral deposits.
  • Then turn the tool counterclockwise to loosen and remove the showerhead.

If That Doesn’t Work

If the above does not work, apply a rust, calcium, and lime remover to the showerhead.  Treating the rust and mineral build-up with chemicals may loosen the connector or nut.

  • Read the instructions on the bottle of rust, calcium, and lime remover.  Apply the product as instructed.
  • Allow the product to sit for the allotted time.
  • Scrub the product off with a wire brush gently, removing the rust, calcium, and lime in the process.
  • Wipe the showerhead and shower arm clean, and then try the above instructions for removal of the showerhead once again.

If that does not work, apply penetrating lubricant to the showerhead.  Penetrating lubricants, like WD-40 and Liquid Wrench, can work like magic in this situation.

  • Apply a coat of lubricant to the area.  Allow it to sit for roughly two hours.
  • Apply a second coat.  Allow it to sit for two more hours.
  • Cover the connector or nut with a cloth.
  • Grip the fixture or nut with a wrench and attempt to loosen the showerhead once again.

Cleaning Your Showerhead

Overnight Vinegar Bath 

  • Once you have removed the showerhead, thoroughly clean the fixture to remove any rust or mineral buildup.
  • Place the showerhead in a small bowl or basin.
  • Pour white distilled vinegar into the basin until the showerhead is completely submerged.
  • Allow the showerhead to soak overnight.
  • Rinse the showerhead by running it under cold tap water.

Remove Any Remaining Rust or Mineral Build-Up

  • Following the vinegar bath, examine the showerhead for signs of rust or mineral build-up.  If rust or mineral build-up is visible, apply a build-up remover to the showerhead.  After allowing the product to sit for the allotted time, use a wire brush to gently scrub off the product.
  • Always follow the instructions listed on the product.

Remove Old Tape, Rust, and or Mineral Build-Up from the Shower Arm’s Treads

  • Never re-attach a showerhead to an unclean shower arm.
  • Peel off the old plumber’s tape from the shower arm’s treads.  Use a wire brush or an Exacto-knife if needed.
  • If rust or mineral build-up is still visible, apply a rust, calcium, and lime remover to the showerhead.
  • Allow the product to sit for the allotted time.
  • Use a wire brush to gently remove the product and scrub off the rust, calcium, and lime.
  • Use an old rag to wipe the shower arm clean.

Reattaching or Replacing

Cover the shower arm’s threads with plumber’s tape.

Applying plumber’s tape, or Teflon tape, to the threads of the shower arm prevents leaks.

  • Wrap the shower arm’s threads with 2 to 3 layers of plumber’s tape in a clockwise pattern.
  • Press the tape between the threads as much as possible.

Attach It to the Shower Arm

Once the shower arm is ready, go ahead and attach your shower head.  You may choose to reuse your old showerhead or purchase a new fixture.

  • Attaching a fixed-mounted (basic) showerhead.  Place the showerhead onto the shower arm.  Use your hands to turn in a clockwise direction to tighten the fixture.
  • Attach a hand-held shower head.  This showerhead is attached to a hose.
    • Place the shower mount onto the arm.  Tighten the shower mount with your hands.
    • Connect one end of the hose to the shower mount and the other end to the showerhead.  Tighten the connectors by hand.
    • Place the showerhead in the shower mount.

 Turn the Water on, Check for Leaks and Tighten as Needed

Once you have installed your shower head, turn on your shower’s water supply. Turn on the shower and check for leaks.  Tighten your shower head’s connectors until the leak subsides.  Add more plumber’s tape if needed.

As always, we hope this helps you with your do-it-yourself job.  If you find you would rather let us do it, find that these things do not solve your problem, or if you find that you’ve discovered additional things wrong (and that happens often), please call Proudfoot Plumbing. We will be glad to help out and/or make recommendations for you. Check this page out for more information about our plumbing services or reach out to us on the form below.

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