How To Fix A Dripping Shower Head

A constantly dripping shower head can be very frustrating, not to mention the wasted water going down the drain. Luckily it can be easily and cheaply fixed.

If your shower head is dripping, remove the shower head from the wall attachment/hose. Inspect the washer between the shower head and hose for signs of damage/wear and clean/replace if necessary. Clean the shower head of mineral buildup with a hot water/vinegar solution.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can fix your dripping shower head quickly and cheaply.

How To Fix A Dripping Shower Head

There are two common places where leaks happen in your shower. Of these, a leaking shower head is more common than a leaking valve. In this article, we will be looking at the step-by-step process to fix a leaking shower head. Luckily it is a fairly easy repair to make.

Step 1:Turn Off The Water Including The Main Supply

Locate your main water supply and make sure it is turned off before you start working on the shower head. I learned this the hard way by bumping on the shower tap while I was removing the shower head.

Even though you have disconnected the main water supply there will still be some water trapped in the system that will likely seep out while you are working. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep a towel close at hand.

Step 2:Thoroughly Clean The Showerhead

Woman cleaning an calcified shower head in domestic bathroom with small brush.

Once you have the water turned off you can disconnect the shower head so that you can remove any buildup of dirt and grime that could affect the performance of your shower unit. Especially in the case of lime buildup, these can result in poor water flow and blockages that can cause leaks.

There are special cleaning products available for cleaning your shower head. I have tried the chemical cleaner for lime buildup but was unimpressed with the results I got.

The solution that was far more effective when I cleaned my shower head was also way friendlier on my wallet. I added a liberal amount of white vinegar to a pot of water and heated it up to just short of boiling. I removed the pot from the heat and immediately immersed my shower head in the water. As soon as the shower head was in the hot water I could see the chemical reaction between the lime and the vinegar bubbling.

After letting the shower head properly soak for about 10 minutes, I used an old toothbrush to scrub away the more stubborn grime buildup.

Step 3:Secure Using Tape

While my shower head was soaking in the vinegar/hot water mix, I used the time to take a look at the O-ring washer between the shower head and the shower head attachment point. The O-ring is the water-tight seal between the shower head and the shower head attachment that prevents water from leaking out. If it is worn or damaged, it can be cheaply replaced with a new item.

In my case, I could see some lime buildup around the washer. So I took some of my white vinegar and thoroughly cleaned the washer before replacing it.

Once your shower head is clean, apply some thread tape to the threads of the attachment between the shower head and pipe system. Some shower systems have the thread on the end of the pipe system but mine had the thread on the end of my shower head.

Either way, thread seal tape will help form a protective seal and prevent any threads from seizing.

Step 4:Re-attach The Showerhead And Turn On The Water

Hand tighten the shower head until it is secure before further tightening it with pliers or a plumbing tool. Be very careful if your shower head is plastic as in the case or most detachable shower heads. The extra tightening beyond what you can do by hand can easily crack the plastic.

When your shower head is securely back in place, turn on the water and check that your shower is running smoothly. Then turn the shower off and check for signs of leakage and drips. These steps fixed my dripping shower issue. Hopefully, they will fix your shower dripping issue too.

Should A Shower Head Drip?

Generally speaking, your shower head should not drip persistently. It is completely normal for there to be some residual water in your shower head immediately after closing the taps but the excess water should clear within a few seconds of dripping. Anything beyond that indicates a potential problem that will need further investigation and repair.

Most often a dripping shower head is the result of worn out or damaged O-ring washers between the shower head and shower hose. These washers are prone to wearing down over time or getting a buildup of lime or other minerals in the water. This makes the washers less effective at sealing the gap between the shower hose and the shower head and water will start to leak out resulting in a dripping shower head.

Why Does My Shower Head Drip After I Turn It Off?

If your shower head drips water through some of the holes for a couple of minutes before stopping, the most likely cause will be that the holes are clogged by lime and other mineral deposits.

Over time the holes in your shower head are prone to get clogged by lime and other mineral deposits. Hot water is able to hold more dissolved minerals than cold water. As the small droplets in the holes of the shower head cool after your shower small mineral particles crystalize in the holes of the shower head. This leads to clogging over time.

Once the holes of the shower head become clogged, the shower head will hold more water after turning off the shower which seeps slowly through the clogged holes, making them more clogged.

Why Does My Rain Shower Head Drip Hours After I Turn It Off?

rain shower head dripping water

A rain shower head drips after turning it off for the same reason as all shower heads eventually start dripping after turning them off. Slowly, over time, the holes in your rain shower head will start getting clogged by lime and other mineral deposits.

A shower head with clogged holes will hold more water after you have turned off the shower. That excess water will slowly seep through the clogged holes, causing the prolonged dripping that you see.

Why Does My Shower Head Drip When The Tub Faucet Is On?

The reason why your shower head drips when the tub faucet is on is almost always an issue with your diverter valve which is supposed to either divert water from your shower to the bathtub or vice versa. 

Most of the time I find this is because I haven’t pulled the lever/turned the knob enough to fully divert the stream of water from my shower to the tub faucet. If I turn off the water and switch the valve back and forth it almost always resolves the issue.

On more rare occasions it could be that the valve itself is worn out and needs replacing. When this happened to me I found it cheaper to replace the faucets and the valve as a single unit than trying to replace the valve on its own. 

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