water running out of large, clean shower head
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Why You Should Avoid Cleaning Your Shower Head With Bleach
It's crucial to clean your shower head thoroughly, but avoid using bleach, as it can actually increase bacterial growth, according to the University of Colorado Boulder.
A 2009 University of Colorado Boulder study found that a third of shower heads they tested were contaminated with Mycobacterium avium — a pathogen that can cause lung disease.
Some mycobacteria are resistant to bleach, and a 2018 study published in mBio found mycobacteria tend to be more abundant in shower heads treated with chlorine-based disinfectants.
The corrosive and oxidizing properties in bleach can also damage your shower head, causing discoloration, rust, and chipping over time, so it's better to use natural alternatives.
A 2014 study in mBio found that acetic acid in vinegar seems to be effective against some mycobacteria and can dissolve mineral buildup on shower heads and other fixtures.
Simply unscrew your shower head and soak it in a bowl of white vinegar for at least 10 minutes. For a fixed shower head, tape or tie a plastic bag filled with vinegar around it.
To remove limescale, use a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda or apply a paste of 3% hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, leave it for half an hour, then scrub and rinse.
The filter screen also harbors bacteria and dirt. Remove it, scrub it with a soft sponge or toothbrush and a 50:50 mixture of water and vinegar, rinse, dry, and replace it.