How To Fix A Leaky Shower Head

If you have a leaky shower head, it should be fixed right away to avoid wasting water. A shower head commonly leaks at the shower arm wall connection, or at the connection between the arm and shower head. Leaks may be caused by holes filled with sediment, a damaged gasket, or loose connections. Fixing a shower head leak is a project you can do yourself. Here are some tips to fix a leaky shower head.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • rubber gloves
  • cleaning cloth
  • vinegar
  • container
  • adjustable wrench
  • electrical tape
  • Teflon tape
  • paint thinner

Turn the water supply to the bathroom off at the valve, which is commonly near the shower, or in a basement. If you can't find the bathroom shutoff valve, turn off the main water supply at the supply line near the water meter by turning the valve clockwise. Raise the faucet handle to clear remaining water in the lines.

Try to tighten the shower head or shower arm by hand to see if that stops the leak. Otherwise, you will have to detach the shower head. Place electrical tape around the teeth of the pliers to protect the chrome from scratches. Twist the shower head left with the pliers until it is loose

Clean the Shower Head

Clean old putty or Teflon tape from the threads, and use a toothpick to remove debris from the holes. Soak the shower head in a container filled with vinegar for about eight hours. The vinegar helps dissolve mineral deposits. If the vinegar doesn't work to remove mineral deposits, try paint thinner.

Clean the shower arm threads with vinegar. Wrap Teflon tape clockwise four or five times over the shower head connections. Avoid using plumber's putty on shower heads, because it may cause plastic components to break from chemical reactions.

Wrapping Teflon tap in the opposite direction may tear or bunch the tape, which causes leaks. Reattach the shower head, turn the water back on, and test for leaks. Don't make the shower head connection too tight, or you could damage the connection threads.

Replace the Gasket

If cleaning doesn't stop the leak, check the gasket. Some shower heads use a gasket instead of Teflon tape. Look for a small rubber disc on the shower head inlet near the swivel ball.

Remove it, and buy one that matches it from a hardware store. Install the gasket, restore the water, and test for leaks.

Sometimes, a simple fix will solve your leaky shower head problem. If your repairs don't work, consider hiring a plumbing service to find the cause of leaks.


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