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Is Your RV Shower Head Clogged? Here’s How To Clean It

Is Your RV Shower Head Clogged? Here’s How To Clean It

A shower that produces weak pressure, or that sprays water out in random directions, is no one’s idea of a good showering experience. A number of issues can cause these problems, but a common one is a clogged shower head. If you suspect that your RV shower head is clogged, then this is the post for you. Not only will we explain how your rig’s shower head can become clogged, but we’ll also show you how to fix it.

So, without further ado, let’s snag this easy DIY project to get you back to a good strong shower stream.

Why Is My RV Shower Head Not Getting a Good Stream of Water?

When water is no longer streaming from the shower head with the force, or in the direction, it should provide, there are a few things that could be causing the issue.

One possibility, of course, is that the valves to the main water supply are turned off – so that’s always a good thing to check first. It’s also possible that there’s a problem with the shower head’s attachment to the shower arm. You could even have a more serious issue with your RV’s plumbing system.

More often, though, when water isn’t streaming from the shower head properly (while other faucets in the RV are working properly), what you’ve got is a clogged shower head.

What Causes an RV Shower Head to Be Clogged?

A clogged RV showerhead is generally due to accumulated mineral deposits from hard water.

Hard water frequently contains minerals such as calcium and manganese. As you may have read in our post on RV water softeners, this can be an issue for RVers who use multiple water sources in their travels. These minerals build up inside the showerhead, clogging the pores of the showerhead and blocking the flow of water. The end result is a weakened stream of water coming from the shower head.

Photo of mineral deposits built up on a shower head causing rv shower head to be clogged

Here you see mineral deposits built up on this shower head. Hard water causes minerals to accumulate on your shower head and faucets, and eventually, they clog the pores of the shower head, preventing a proper stream of water.

How Do You Know If Your RV Shower Head is Clogged?

If you’ve got a weak or nearly non-existent shower stream, or if water is shooting out from your shower head in all directions, the pores of your shower head are very likely clogged with mineral deposits.

How Do I Fix a Clogged RV Shower Head?

There are a few ways to address a clogged RV shower head, all of which involve an easy DIY project.

Vinegar & Baking Soda Method

What You’ll Need

  • White vinegar (3-4 cups)
  • Baking soda (½ cup)
  • Water (1 cup)
  • Container (large enough to hold the shower head)
  • Small brush/toothbrush or mild scouring pad (optional)

If You Can Remove the Shower Head

  1. Unscrew the shower head from the plumbing
  2. Mix the vinegar, baking soda, and water in container (the baking soda & vinegar will fizz, so be prepared)
  3. Submerge the shower head into the solution in the container
  4. Soak for at least 1-2 hours unless you have a brass, gold, or nickel-coated shower head (don’t soak these in vinegar for longer than 30 minutes, or don’t use vinegar/acid at all)
  5. Use brush or mild scouring pad to remove any remaining mineral buildup if necessary
  6. Rinse the head well, making sure to run water through the shower head thoroughly
  7. Reconnect the shower head
  8. Run water through the shower head
  9. Repeat if needed
Photo of a hand unscrewing an RV shower head that's clogged to demineralize it

If it’s possible to unscrew the shower head and remove it, do so, as it makes the cleaning process simpler. If you’re unable to remove your shower head, we’ve got you covered in the section below!

If You’re Unable to Remove the Shower Head

If you’re unable to remove your shower head, you’ll need a couple of additional items:

  • Rubber band or zip tie
  • Large plastic bag
  1. In preparation, place your rubber band or zip tie (started, but not fully tightened) at the base of the shower head
  2. Pour the vinegar, baking soda, and water into your plastic bag (the baking soda & vinegar will fizz, so be prepared)
  3. Place the bag of solution around the shower head, completely submerging the shower head
  4. Use your rubber band or zip tie to secure the bag to the base of the shower head
  5. Allow shower head to sit in the solution for 1-2 hours minimum unless you have a brass, gold, or nickel-coated shower head (don’t soak these in vinegar for longer than 30 minutes, or don’t use vinegar at all)
  6. Remove the bag, use a small brush or mild scouring pad to clear any remaining deposits, and rinse the shower head well, running water through it to rinse away the solution

How Do You Unclog a Shower Head Without Vinegar?

If white vinegar isn’t something you carry in your RV (or if you just hate the smell of it), there’s an alternative you can use that’s odor-free, lighter, and easier to pack and carry, no matter the size of your rig.

Use Citric Acid Instead of Vinegar

Citric acid works just as well as vinegar to break up mineral deposits, allowing you to rinse them away from the pores of your shower head.

In order to replace the typical strength of white vinegar, dissolve about 2 tablespoons (20g) of citric acid powder into about 16 oz (490ml) of water. (You can use twice as much citric acid if you’ve got a really tough job to tackle.) Then use this mixture in place of the white vinegar in the steps above.

Note: Just like white vinegar, citric acid may damage the finish of brass, gold, or nickel-coated shower heads.

Milliard Citric Acid - 100% Pure Food Grade Non-GMO Project Verified (2 Pound)
  • The fine granular NON-GMO citric acid is a kitchen essential used in preserving, flavoring, and cleaning completely; preserves the Vitamin C content...
  • Adds an acidic or sour taste to meat, candy, soft drinks, and ice cream. It keeps fruits and vegetables fresh and food flavorful. Perfect for craft...

Use Only Baking Soda

Note the words of caution above with regard to brass, gold, and nickel-coated shower heads. If you’ve got a shower head that could be damaged by the caustic nature of vinegar or citric acid, or if you just don’t have access to either product, you can try using only baking soda to dissolve your pesky mineral deposits. Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Mix baking soda with water to create a paste.
  2. Spread the paste across the face of the shower head and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. (Don’t leave the baking soda on for too long, otherwise, it can become difficult to wash off.)
  3. Rinse the showerhead well with clean water, using a small brush or mild scouring pad to rub off the (now) softened mineral deposits.

Use Coca-Cola (or any cola)

And finally, cola drinks contain several acids (typically citric, phosphoric, and tartaric), all of which have the capacity to dissolve mineral buildup. (In fact, you’ll find these acids are ingredients in many bathroom cleaning products. Yummy, right?)

A can of Coca-Cola (or any cola) can be very effective at unclogging mineral deposits in your RV shower head. If you’ve got a can in the fridge, give it a try! Use the cola to replace the white vinegar or citric acid solution and follow the steps above.

Additional Ways to Enhance Your RV Shower

We’ve been showering in an RV daily for 20 years. If you need RV shower tips, we’ve got RV shower tips! Feel free to have a look at our post on how to take an awesome RV shower, as well as our post showing you some of the best RV showerheads to give you an enjoyable shower in your RV (especially if you can’t clear away all of the mineral buildups on your current shower head and just want to start from scratch).

Now that you’ve cleaned the mineral deposits out of your shower head, let’s get your RV’s shower ready to roll!

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Tim Hughes

Sunday 29th of May 2022

Thankyou I really enjoy you're help with everything RV


Monday 30th of May 2022

Our pleasure, Tim. Glad you found this helpful!


Tuesday 15th of March 2022

I've used CLR with good results.


Wednesday 16th of March 2022

CLR is great stuff!

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PLEASE NOTE: We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

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