Ask Martha: How Can I Improve the Water Pressure in My Shower?

Don't go out and buy a new showerhead just yet.

shower head water

Whether it's kickstarting your morning routine or winding down after a long day, taking a shower should leave you feeling refreshed, not frustrated-especially because of low water pressure. If find yourself stepping into a light trickle rather than a full-force jet, the underlying problem might not actually be pressure-related. "Nine times out of ten, it's sediment buildup in the showerhead blocking the orifices that deliver the water," says Paul Patton, senior manager of innovation and regulatory at Delta Faucet Company. Over time, deposits from calcium, magnesium, and other minerals found in your water can accumulate in and around water fixtures causing a blockage.

The solution to this pesky problem? Giving your showerhead a thorough cleaning.

First, remove the shower head with an adjustable wrench, then submerge the fixture in a bath of white vinegar overnight. (If your shower head has a Tuscan brass or unlacquered finish, be sure to consult the manufacturer's cleaning instructions instead.) In the morning, use an old toothbrush to scrub off any remaining debris. Then, manually reinstall the shower head and secure with the wrench until it's fully tightened.

If this doesn't do enough to help the situation, or you'd like to increase the pressure even more, you may want to consider replacing the showerhead altogether. (To dispose of your old one, check your city's recycling guidelines for scrap metal or learn more here.) Look for a new head designated as "high pressure" which means it's engineered to funnel water more forcefully.

And if the issue persists, a water-pressure deficit may actually be to blame. "Have a plumber inspect your pipes," Patton says. "He can patch any leaks and install a booster to pressurize the water in your home or at the curbside water inlet."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles