How To Replace A Shower Head

The shower head is one of the most used plumbing features. So, it makes sense that there’s a lot of wear and tear that takes place. Oftentimes, you can soak it in vinegar and water to dissolve mineral deposits and clear out the nozzles. Sometimes, though, you’d rather replace it. Look. We get it. Life is busy, and you may not have time to handle the big stuff. Today, though, we’re going to show you how to replace a shower head. Replacing a shower head is one of the quickest ways to improve your bathroom. 

Let’s dive in and see how to replace a shower head the right way and update your bathroom. 


Before you do anything, you need to get rid of that old head. There are all kinds of different shower heads, but usually, all you need to do is unscrew them. Grab the base of the head closest to the pipe and turn it counterclockwise. 

Unscrew the head from the line and remove it. If the shower head only turns in place, you may need to grab a pair of Channel Lock pliers. Once you have some pliers, wrap the base with a small rag so you don’t scuff the shower pipe. 

Clean The Pipe

Now that you’ve got the shower head off, you need to clean the supply pipe. Over the years, shower heads and the pipe build up mineral deposits. The best thing to use to clean this is white vinegar. Put some vinegar in a spray bottle, spray it on the outside and inside of the pipe, and let it sit on the threads for 20 minutes. Then, scrub everything with an old toothbrush. 

Once you’re sure the pipe is clean and free of old sealant, tape, and mineral deposits, you need to apply new tape. The tape you need to use is Teflon tape. That’s the industry standard for all plumbing codes. Wrap the tape in the same direction you screw on the new shower head—clockwise. Two to three wraps are best for an optimal seal. When the tape is on the threads, use the spool to press the tape down into the grooves between the threads. 

Install The Shower Head

Finally, everything is ready. You got rid of that old, nasty shower head, cleaned the shower arm, and wrapped it up with tape. Now, it’s time to attach the new shower head. If you have a traditional shower head, screw it onto the pipe by hand. 

Depending on the model shower head, you may need to attach a diverter. If it is a combination shower head, connect the diverter to the pipe first. Next, screw the head onto the diverter, and then, attach the handheld sprayer. Once the sprayer is installed, screw the hose onto the diverter. Don’t use tools to tighten. Often, internal plumbing hardware is plastic and likely to break when overtightened. 

Check For Leaks

As with any plumbing project, check for leaks. Turn the water on in both directions and all settings. If there are any leaks, you may need to do a couple more wraps of thread tape. 

Have A Bigger Project? 

Now that you know how to replace a shower head, you’re ready to start the next project. Do you need professional help? At Drain Express, we are drain cleaning and plumbing experts, so give us a call today!