Google I/O 2021 Google, Samsung watch partnership Eurovision 2021 Google I/O swag Apple iMac M1 review Child tax credit calculator
CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Degunk your showerhead in 1 hour with this simple science hack for knocking the crust off

Mineral buildup is the usual culprit behind clogged spouts and uneven water flow. All it takes are a few regular household items to knock it out yourself.

Listen
- 03:05
img-0887

It just takes a few common materials and an hour.

Dale Smith/CNET

If you've got hard water in your home, it doesn't matter how much you spend on a fancy new showerhead -- it's going to get clogged up and lose pressure again eventually. Sure, you could head over to our list of the best showerheads for 2021 and replace your current spout with an even better one every time your shower loses pressure. However, unless you address the root problem -- mineral buildup from hard water -- you're going to waste more time shopping for showerheads than you'd spend cleaning the one you've got, especially after you learn this simple trick.

Water is considered "hard" when it contains high levels of dissolved solids, mostly calcium and magnesium. That's the stuff that ends up sticking to the metal and plastic in your showerhead, collecting over time and causing a buildup of crusty bits around the water spouts. Eventually your house's water pressure can't compete, and your shower stream slows to a trickle. Shower filters are one way of preventing the problem, but there's an even easier fix.

This science-based hack is so low-effort, in fact, that the waiting truly is the hardest part. With just a few common household supplies and some patience, you can have your shower's water output restored to its once-magnificent original flow in about an hour. Here's how to do it.

Now playing: Watch this: Adding smarts to your bathroom remodel
2:33

Gear up with some items you already have in your junk drawer

First, gather up your supplies. If you've got a small enough showerhead, a sandwich bag might very well do the trick. For larger hardware, though, you might need to grab a big ole 1-gallon bag. You'll also need a rubber band to tie it up with, but look for a thicc boi, like the ones used to hold asparagus or broccoli crowns together at the supermarket. Water gets heavy, and quick.

For the science-y part, you're going to create a 50/50 solution of either CLR household cleaner (available at most grocery stores, Walmart and Amazon) or white vinegar (the stuff in your cupboard will do) and plain shower water.

Soak, soak, soak your way to a rejuvenated showerhead

Fill the bag about halfway with either CLR or white vinegar, then insert the showerhead into the bag. Secure it with the rubber band or bands, then gently turn on the water to the shower just enough to fill the bag the rest of the way and mix up the solution. Whatever you do, don't crank the shower on full blast, or else the sudden pressure may inadvertently launch the plastic bag across your bathroom. 

Next, set a timer for 60 minutes. You could use your phone, a kitchen timer or a smart assistant -- here's how to set multiple timers with Google Home, as well as with Amazon's Alexa on Echo devices. Now, go get some holiday shopping done.

Wipe, rinse and (hopefully) there's no need to repeat

After your timer goes off, remove the bag from your showerhead and let the cleaning solution spill into the drain. Toss the bag in the trash and wipe down your shower hardware with a damp cloth. 

Then, the moment of truth: Turn on your shower (full-blast, this time) and see how much more powerfully and evenly it sprays. If for some reason there are still a few clogged spouts, try repeating this process. But for most clogged showerheads, one round of this treatment should do the trick.