Friday, 1 July 2011

Bathrooms, Showers, Toilets and Ewww Part 2: How to Descale Your Shower Head

One of the first places I lived in Bath was a shared house. We all had separate agreements with the landlord, but we shared a kitchen, a bathroom, a toilet, and a washing machine. The kettle was covered in limescale. In fact, it was virtually impossible to boil. Moreover the silver of the shower head had turned completely white. There is very little water pressure on most of this island. That shower literally dripped while spraying water out its sides. I asked one of my flatmates about both the kettle and the shower, he shrugged and told me it was a function of rentals in Britain. And we had a man who needed an attitude adjustment. In fact, it was a function of poor housekeeping. I can hear you laughing. I know you've seen all the dust in my photos.

So in today's installment of  Bathrooms, Showers, Toilets and Ewwww, I bring you: How to Descale Your Shower Head.

Step 1: Boil your kettle and make yourself a cup of tea. Then refill your kettle to the top most fill line. Reboil. And follow the directions on your descaler of choice. (Descalers can be bought at the local hardware store, scalers, and most grocery stores). I know that you'd never assume that all chemicals work the same way, aren't dangerous, or that I know everything.

Make cup of tea, boil kettle, go to step two

Step 2: Put boiled water into giant bucket. Make sure giant bucket is clear of other cleaners. Bleach and everything don't mix, and I like you and your lungs. Detol and most everything don't mix, and I like your soft skin. (The boil portion of this step may be completely unnecessary depending on the product you're using. The not mixing chemicals portion of this step is absolutely necessary.)

Step 2: Put water into bucket that has no other chemical residue in it.

Step 3: Open bathroom window. Place bucket into your bathtub. Make sure you are wearing any protective equipment called for by your descaler box. Add descaler. It is very important that you do not put your bucket on your bathroom floor. There is always some chance of overspill from the chemical reaction you may be creating. Add descaler. Did I mention that you should follow the directions on your descaler? I mean that.

The white bumps are limescale. It also builds up inside the grey bits.

Step 4: Remove shower head from shower head pipe (or hose for you Americans). Put it gently into your mixture. Get out of the bathroom until enough time has elapsed. Most descaler makes one heck of a smell and makes the lungs a wee bit ouchy. I'm really not kidding about the whole follow directions on the bottle thing.

Note: My model is not wearing gloves. Do not follow her example.

Step 5: Poor bucket down the drain and rinse everything with cold water before reattaching to the shower. I always run the shower for a few minutes after descaling. If scale is still present it helps to brush with an old toothbrush (clearly marked as descaling toothbrush) after you've rinsed away the descaler.

Shiny. Note: I did not put hose into the descaler

Step Six: Consider something friendlier. Vinegar and water will descale your shower head just as well as more caustic store bought mixtures. Your shower head will have to soak much longer (I do ours overnight). You will probably have to use some elbow grease. But if you keep up with your descaling (once a month at least), it isn't so bad.

Iota mentioned that toilets rarely back up in the UK. This is true. I do not own a toilet plunger. I'll let you know why that is on Monday. If you click the Facebook Like button on the right-hand sidebar, you'll be able to see more of Bath's flower boxes.

You can read Part 1 of this series here: Fabulous Things About England #33: Baths

The first batch of sourdough failed miserably. The second is gooood.


  1. Cleaning those corner tubs will definitely be rewarding as soon as you finish.

  2. Love it! What colour is on the bath tub?

    Designer Shower Sets

  3. Our work is not over just by building a lush bathroom and dumping some accessories, the way it looks and feel depends on how we maintain it. Remember a fact that bathroom might be a starting point of a lot of health conditions if you fail to clean it properly.


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