Hard water refers to water that has a high concentration of minerals, like calcium and magnesium, dissolved within it. Over time, these minerals can build up into a hard, chalky deposit in your showerheads, which will in turn reduce overall water flow and can even cause damage to the plumbing in your home, due to higher water pressure.
Fortunately, if you've noticed the white chalky buildup on your showerhead, there is a fairly simple way to remove it and get your showerhead working effectively again.
Tools and Materials
You'll need a wrench, a clean rag, a bowl large enough to submerge your showerhead in, and white vinegar. You may also need a plastic bag and an elastic. All of these items can be found at most hardware and grocery stores, if you don't already have them at home.
Removing Hard Water Deposits
First, remove the showerhead from your shower with the wrench. Wrap the base in a rag to protect the finish, and then turn the wrench counter-clockwise to loosen it, until it's been removed.
Then, fill the bowl with vinegar, and then submerge the showerhead for at least 6 hours (overnight is best). The acidic nature of the vinegar will break down the hard water deposits and free up the holes in your showerhead. Once the showerhead has been soaked, you can simply reinstall it by twisting it clockwise in the same manner that you've removed it.
Alternatively, if your showerhead will not easily come off due to the severity of the hard water deposits, you can fill up a plastic bag with vinegar, and tie it into place around your showerhead with elastic bands to soak it, instead.
Preventing Hard Water Deposits
In the future, to prevent such deposits from forming not only on your showerheads but on all other water fixtures and in the plumbing of your home, you may want to consider contacting a plumber to install a water softener.
There are several different models available, but the most common variant will use an ion exchanger to switch out the calcium and magnesium in your water supply with sodium, though models do exist that use other minerals if you are concerned about your salt intake.
Water softeners are installed on your water main, and will work throughout your entire home, reducing the risk of water leaks developing and preventing the amount of maintenance that you have to do – which will save you both time and money in the long run.