How to Repair a Leaking Shower Head

Repair a leaky shower head

A leaking Shower Head can usually be traced to either a worn or deteriorated washer or a breach in the threaded connection between the Shower Head and shower arm. Both repairs are fairly simple, and the location of the leak will give you a pretty good idea of which area you should check first.


For this repair you will need Teflon plumber’s tape, scale remover or vinegar, a pipe wrench, masking tape or a cloth to protect the finish on your Shower Head, and possibly a replacement washer.


Grasp the Shower Head and unscrew it counterclockwise. This may dislodge rust, deteriorated tape, or lime scale buildup. If you are having trouble getting it to turn, try using a pipe wrench. For stubborn Shower Heads that just won’t budge, using two pipe wrenches, one on the shower arm and one on the Shower Head, sometimes helps.

When you have removed the Shower Head, inspect the threads on both the arm and the head carefully. If you have a plastic PVC assembly, check for cracks. If both pieces are sound, clean them thoroughly with white vinegar or scale remover (this will also remove rust). Soaking time can take up to a few hours, so plan ahead. In order to insure that the cleaner has a good opportunity to work on the shower arm, try saturating a cloth with cleaner solution and tying it around the end of the arm.

Once the area is clean and dry, wrap plumber’s tape clockwise around the threads on the shower arm and remount the Shower Head. Always use care when tightening the assembly into place. Over-tightening can break the Shower Head or strip the threads.

On some of the newer Shower Head assemblies, there is a washer at the shower arm junction. If this is the case, you may dispense with the tape and just replace the washer.


If the leak is coming from the Shower Head itself, remove it as outlined above. Once removed, it will unscrew easily into its component parts. If the unit has a washer, inspect it for deterioration. Use the old washer as a template when shopping for a replacement. Handheld Showerheads have two washers, one on each end of the hose fitting.

Repairing a Shower Head leak can be accomplished easily as part of an overall Shower Head maintenance and cleaning program. Drips can be irritating and waste a surprising amount of water over time, so keep some plumber’s tape, vinegar, and a set of washers on hand.

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