How to Clean a Showerhead with Baking Soda (And Why You Really, Really Should)

You know baking soda as the powdery stuff you use in baking chocolate chip cookies, or as an odor neutralizer that you stick in the door of your fridge to make things smell a little more, um, appetizing. But did you know that this remarkably versatile ingredient can also be used to make your bathroom shine? Read on to learn how to clean a shower head with baking soda, and why this is a great idea.
The dirty truth about your shower head
If you've never cleaned your shower head before (raise your hand) what you're reading now will get you to do it right away. According to a 2018 study by researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, the biofilms found on dirty shower heads could play an important role in the transmission of lung infections - particularly NTM (non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections) infections. "The regions in the United States where pathogenic mycobacteria are most common in shower heads are the same regions where non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung infections are most common," researchers say. This is especially true for people who have chronic lung diseases or a weakened immune system.
But before you freak out, know that, according to the Water Quality and Health Council, "for most people, infection from bacteria in shower heads is likely a rare occurrence." Even so, the council recommends routine cleaning of your shower head. So yeah, that means yours will likely need washing.
Why use baking soda
In case you missed it, one of the best cleaning products in your arsenal is for all kinds of heavy duty jobs, from deodorizing your carpet to vacuuming up oil spills. And in the bathroom, you can use it to rub down sink faucets and scrub toilets, as well as remove bacteria and dirt from your shower head. But why is baking soda such a miracle worker when it comes to certain cleaning projects?
"Baking soda is alkaline (i.e., a base) and it increases the solubility of calcium build-up so that the calcium dissolves," says the American Cleaning Institute. “In this case, it works especially well with an acid like vinegar, which is great for removing stains with hard water. When you combine them, salty water and carbon dioxide are created, and stirring the reaction can help break up the debris and carry it away. "
So there's a refresher on chemistry class in high school. Let's start with the deep cleansing now.
How to clean your shower head with baking soda
As mentioned earlier, baking soda dissolves the calcium build-up left behind from hard water, but this pantry doesn't work alone. By introducing an acid (i.e. white vinegar), a chemical reaction occurs that can be short-lived but highly effective. This cleaning process is known as descaling ... but all you really need to know is that you are getting a squeaky clean shower head and possibly better water pressure too.
According to Melissa Maker, cleaning expert and author of Clean My Space: The secret to better, faster cleaning - and loving your home every day - can make your shower head sparkle with vinegar alone. The Arm und Hammer experts recommend an almost identical method - but their cleaning process is speeded up by adding a little baking soda to the mixture. Bonus: the combo even polishes the exterior of your shower head.
Step 1: start the reaction
Mix up a carbonated cleaning concoction by combining ⅓ cup of baking soda with 1 cup of white vinegar in a gallon sized plastic bag. The mixture starts to bubble, which is exactly the effect we are aiming for.
Step 2: dip the shower head in the mixture
Bring your bag full of bubbly baking soda goodness straight to the bathroom (if you're not there already). Then completely submerge the shower head in the cleaning solution bag. Secure the bag to the neck of the shower head with a rubber band.
Step 3: call it a day
Once the plastic bag of baking soda and vinegar is properly attached to the shower head and it's completely submerged in the solution, you can simply hit the hay. In other words, let the puppy soak overnight: when you wake up and ready to shower, simply remove the plastic bag and run some hot water to rinse the shower head before you get in.
And that's it, your shower head should look as good as new. The next time you feel uncomfortable, you can trust that your shower is the solution, not part of the problem. Phew
RELATED: PureWows 10 Best Debugging and Cleaning Tricks in the Last 10 Years
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